She attended Streatham and Clapham High School
When she left school, her father got her a job as reporter on a local paper, the Croydon Advertiser; but the direct reporting of events was not her forte. She met an industrial chemist, Paul Malcolm Carter (b. 1931/2), and on 10 September 1960 married him
Her first novel, Shadow Dance (sometimes reprinted as Honeybuzzard), was written during her second summer vacation at university and published in 1966. Two more novels followed at precocious speed: The Magic Toyshop (1967), one of her best and most widely read fictional works, and Several Perceptions (1968).