I was born in Germany and grew up in Brooklyn and London—as a consequence, most of my writing explores our search for a sense of belonging, and the struggle to define ourselves in the context of our circumstances. I now live in Boston and Key West, and am the Program Coordinator of the Key West Literary Seminar and Workshops.

My latest novel This Terrible Beauty has been called "luminous and unflinching," "unputdownable," and "hard to forget." It's a love story about a young woman in 1950s East Germany who is forced to choose between her family and her freedom. Set on an island in the Baltic, it explores the collision of art, love and power in a totalitarian state. It was chosen by SheReads as among the "Most Anticipated Women's Fiction in 2020." 

My debut novel, The Forgotten Hours—"gut-wrenching," a "brilliant debut" with a "heart-pounding finish"—was a Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller. I’m also the author of several nonfiction books.

My work has been featured multiple times on TODAY and in Woman’s DayThe London Times and on NPR, as well as other national and international media. For the past ten years I've been teaching writing, most recently at GrubStreet and at local prisons through PEN New England. I frequently run sessions on writing and marketing at conferences, including The Muse and the Marketplace, AWP and Writer's Digest Annual Conference. Many moons ago, I was granted the Kogan Media Award for my work at National Public Radio and received academic scholarships to Oxford and Stanford Universities. More recently, I’ve been awarded writing residencies at the VCCA, the Norman Mailer Writers Colony and Vermont Studio Center.