M.C. Beaton was born in Glasgow and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department of John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, Marion got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly progressed to become their theatre critic. Without any shorthand or typing experience, she left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime, and later to Fleet Street and the offices of the Daily Express, where she became their chief female reporter.
After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having their son, Charles, Marion accompanied her husband to the United States where he was editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies Highway in Alexandria while husband washed the dishes. But both found jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York. Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion started to write Regency romances. Encouraged by her husband, she wrote over 100 of these books under her maiden name of Marion Chesney. But Marion eventually found herself fed up with setting every story within the years of 1811 to 1820, so she began to write detective stories. On a holiday trip from the USA to Sutherland in the UK, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Hamish Macbeth. Marion returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where her husband, Harry, reared a flock of black sheep. When Charles finished school in London, he also moved to the Costwolds, where Marion created the Agatha Raisin series.
M.C. Beaton hopes to keep writing as long as possible! (she is published by Constable Robinson)