Olga Wojtas was born and raised in Edinburgh, but canny readers will have spotted her lack of a traditional Scottish name. Her father was in fact one of the Polish soldiers who settled in the UK after the Second World War, and her mother was a teacher assigned to teach the soldiers English. Olga attended James Gillespie’s High School (the same school that Muriel Spark immortalized in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie), where she fell in love with Russian literature; the first Miss Blaine novel was inspired in roughly equal parts by Muriel Spark and Leo Tolstoy. After graduating from the University of Aberdeen, Olga became a journalist, eventually working in England, France, and Washington, DC, as well as in Scotland. She has had more than 30 short stories published in literary magazines and anthologies, and the Miss Blaine series represents her first novel-length works. She lives in Edinburgh with her husband, Alistair. If you are lucky enough to meet her, ask her to tell you about Wojtek the bear.