Mary S. Lovell has written acclaimed biographies of Beryl Markham, Amelia Earhart, Jane Digby, Sir Richard Burton, Betty "Cynthia" Pack, the Mitford Girls, Bess of Hardwick and the Churchill family.
Mary was an accountant and company director for 20 years before becoming a writer. She wrote her first book in 1981 at the age of 40, while recovering from a broken back which was the result of a riding accident. She returned to accountancy but during the following 5 years she also published two further non-fiction books that were written in her spare time.
Her interest in aviation began in the late 'fifties and over the next decade she and her first husband, Cliff Lovell, established and flew a collection of rare vintage aircraft. It was through one of these airplanes, a De Havilland Gypsy Moth used in the film Out of Africa, that she first heard of the famous aviatrix, Beryl Markham.
After a subsequent meeting Mary decided to write Markham‘s biography and this book, Straight on Till Morning, researched and written in under a year, became an immediate international bestseller. Mary decided to retire from accountancy at this point to write full time, beginning with her best-selling biography of Amelia Earhart, entitled Amelia Earhart - The Sound of Wings, which is now the subject of a major motion picture.
Most of the books she has written since then have made the non-fiction best-seller lists, and The Mitford Girls (titled The Sisters in the USA) a biography of the celebrated Mitford sisters, first published in September 2001 (paperback August 2002) has been another international best-seller. She followed that with Bess of Hardwick, in 2005, yet another hugely successful book, set in the turbulent years of Tudor England and like The Mitford Girls, this is still selling well in paperback. In her latest book, The Churchills (hardback, April 2011), Mary returns to the 19th and 20th centuries to chart a saga of one of Englands most prominent families. Four of her books are optioned for films.
Mary is particularly noted for her intensive research methods and all her non-fiction books are extensively annotated. She feels strongly that "biography is history" and deplores biographies in which contentious statements are made about a subject without any verifiable attribution. She also dislikes the increasing trend for biographies which set out to destroy reputations. She regards herself a storyteller, rather than a literary writer: "Everybody enjoys a good fast-paced story and that is what I try to write, only my stories are fact, not fiction. For me there is always an added frisson of enjoyment when I know that what I'm reading about actually occurred, and is not simply a figment of someone's imagination."
She has lectured on her writing in many countries as well as appearing at literary festivals such as Cheltenham and Adelaide among others. She enjoys aviation, sailing, all equestrian sports, travel - especially in the deserts of the Middle East - and books. She lives in the New Forest in Hampshire, England.
Mary photographed near her home at Brockenhurst in the
New Forest, May 2011. (Copyright: Phil Yeomans)
Readers can e-mail comments and questions to Mary S. Lovell at the Email address shown at the top of this page.
Letters regarding the content of books, or enquiries concerning photos permissions and personal queries may be directed to the author c/o the publishers address given in each book.
Mary S. Lovell will eventually answer all letters, but regrets that sometimes there will be unavoidable long delays when she is away from home researching, on vacation, or just too busy working to a deadline to deal with correspondence.