Danuta Reah, who also writes under the name Carla Banks, was born in South Yorkshire. She comes from an academic family but opted out of formal education at the age of 16. She worked in a variety of jobs from barmaid to laboratory assistant, in a variety of locations, including a brief spell in Kingston, Jamaica. "I didn't plan my working life that way, but it was probably the best apprenticeship a writer could have."
She always wanted to write. Telling stories was an important part of her childhood. "Every child needs a skill in the playground - it's a survival thing. Mine was telling ghost stories. I got thrown out of the needlework class when I was nine because the needlework teacher couldn't cope with the ghoulish tales I used to entertain the class with."
She went to university as a mature student and then went on to teach adults in Further and Higher Education. She taught linguistics and creative writing, and in the course of this, refined her own writing style. "I didn't find my voice until I started writing crime. My first novel was based on a rather creepy encounter I had on an empty station platform one evening - it's a story I often tell when I do author events, but beware: it needs bright lights and a crowd."
She published her first novel in 1999, Only Darkness, the rights to which have been purchased by Escazal Films. Her novels have been published internationally: USA, Germany, Holland, France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Finland, Czech Republic.
Crime - or at least dissent - runs in the family. Her father was a refugee from Stalin's Belarus; one of her ancestors, John Woodcock, was hung, drawn and quartered in 1646 for his religious beliefs.
She is married and lives in South Yorkshire with her artist husband - and occasionally she draws cartoons about the writer's life!
Danuta Reah is past Chair of the Crime Writers' Association. She is a regular speaker at national and international conferences and literary festivals, and has appeared on radio and television. For several years she was a member of the writers group LadyKillers, with Leslie Horton, Priscilla Masters and Zoe Sharp. LadyKillers did talks and readings around the country. The group disbanded when pressure of work made it difficult for them to get together, but they remain good friends and would consider appearing again.