After school she went straight into a job in financial services, and she worked in that sector until 2011, when she took voluntary redundancy.
“Then I started writing straight away,” she says. “I wrote a simple story, and it developed when I added magic like a layering process. Even then, it didn’t occur to me that I was writing a book. But my husband read it, and encouraged me to get it published.”
Burke was offered a deal by an Irish publisher, but in the end, she decided to self-publish.
“I did that through Kazoo, with Vanessa O’Loughlin. They were really helpful.”
Date/place of birth: Jan 11, 1963, Dublin.
Education: Roslyn Park, Sandymount. Turning down an offer at Trinity College Dublin, Burke went straight into a job. Later, she studied at the National College of Ireland at night, and gained a degree in personnel management.
Home: Bray, Co Wicklow.
Family: Husband Angelo McNeive, cat Millie, and her mother, who encouraged her love of books.
The Day Job: Fulltime writer.
Interests: “I love animals, hill walking and baking. And I love sport too; especially tennis and cycling.”
Favourite Writers: CS Lewis; JK Rowling; John Boyne.
Second Novel: “It’s the second in the Secrets of Grindlewood series, subtitled ‘The Secret’s Scroll’.”
Top Writing Tip: “Put the finished book away for two weeks, then have another look before you send it off.”
The Secrets of Grindlewood. Lindon Books: €9.99. Kindle: €3.17
When children Jamie and Jemima Grindle move to the country, they encounter dark magic at work in their beautiful garden. The wicked warlock Worfeus wants to destroy the garden, and the children must find a scroll with powerful spells in order to save it. Their dog, Timber, enlists all the animals to help.
“My aim is to make children’s reading enjoyable.”
The Verdict: A classic tale to delight readers aged eight to 12.