Gillian Bradshaw's father, an Associated Press reporter from the United States, met her mother, a British embassy private secretary, in Rio de Janeiro. She was the second of four children born in Washington, DC, in 1956. With such a strong start, they didn't travel around quite as much as one might expect: Washington was followed by Santiago, Chile, and two places in Michigan. Gillian received her BA in English and another in Classical Greek from the University of Michigan, and her first novel, Hawk of May, won the Hopwood Award for fiction. She went on to Newnham College, Cambridge University, England, to pursue a degree in Greek and Latin literature, and while studying for exams, she sold her first novel. She decided to continue in Cambridge for another year to write another novel and consider what she wanted to do for a Real Career.
But, she learned she could live on her novelist's salary and met her husband, who was working on his doctorate in physics, while she was there. She never got a Real Job because of her books and children, and she's been writing novels ever since. Her spouse and she now reside in Coventry. They have a dog and four children.