I was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, of Polish, Irish and English parentage. I spent many years living and working in Scotland, with time spent working in Finland, Poland and the Canary Isles. I answer to any and all pronunciations of my surname although the closest an English speaker can generally get to it is ‘cher-caff-ska’.
I have an honours degree in English Literature and Mediaeval Studies from Edinburgh University and a postgraduate Masters in Folk Life Studies from the University of Leeds.
Although these days I concentrate almost exclusively on fiction, I have more than one hundred hours of produced radio drama to my name, some of it award winning, as well as extensive experience of writing for the stage.
I have taught all kinds of writing, including a stint as Community Writer for the Arts in Fife and four years as Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at the University of the West of Scotland.
I live and work in a beautiful but high-maintenance 200 year old stone built cottage in a picturesque conservation village. The cottage isn’t haunted, but there are parts of the village that may be. When I’m not writing or wrestling with a too-large garden populated with birds, beasts and plenty of slugs, I collect and deal in antique textiles, and various related items, many of which seem to find their way into my fiction and often inspire it.
I once participated in a past life regression session. Contrary to popular belief, I wasn’t anybody famous. I seemed to have led a very quiet life. Whenever anyone asks me if I believed in what I was seeing, I tell them it seemed very real at the time. But of course – I make things up for a living.