K.M. Peyton, born in Birmingham, England, says she began writing at the age of 9. She was first published at 15 under her maiden name of Kathleen Herald. She says she "'never decided to become a writer...[she]...just was one." She grew up in London obsessed with horses: her early books are about girls who have ponies. In 1950, she married a fellow art student, Mike Peyton -- the M. in her pen name is in his honor -- and travelled with him around Europe.
She completed a teaching diploma on their return to the UK, but turned to writing full-time after a few years. One of her first books was Flambards (1967), which became the opener of a much-loved quartet. In 1979, the Flambards series was adapted into a 13-part TV series by Yorkshire Television. She has written more than 70 books in her career and received numerous top literary awards. She was appointed an MBE in 2014.