|Sophie Kinsella is the author of the popular Shopaholic series of novels, which have sold millions of copies. Sophie Kinsella is the pen name of Madeleine (Townley) Wickham, who was born in London and grew up in the Wimbledon area. A talented pianist as a teen, she briefly studied music at Oxford before switching her major to economics and embarking on a career as a financial journalist. Bored at work, she found herself longing, instead, to write fiction. At the age of 24 she published her first novel, THE TENNIS PARTY, about a group of well-to-do friends who gather for a country-house weekend, under her own name. She went on to write several more before deciding to try her hand at lighter fare, using a pen name in case the experiment failed. THE SECRET DREAMWORLD OF A SHOPAHOLIC was published in the U.K. in 2000 and the following year in the U.S. as CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC. Readers fell in love with the book's main character, Becky Bloomwood, a financial journalist whose own budget is a shambles. Becky has since been featured in several sequels, allowing readers to follow her through marriage and motherhood. Kinsella has continued to use the pen name--which is derived from her middle name and mother's maiden name--on both the series and on her subsequent stand-alone novels. Kinsella's own life shares romantic elements with her fiction. During her first day at Oxford she met her future husband, Henry Wickham, an aspiring vocalist. The two married when Kinsella was 21 and toured briefly together giving recitals. Later, he became the headmaster of a boys' school. On being called a writer of "chick-lit," Kinsella, who has been listed as one of the 100 wealthiest women in England, has said, "I mean, it's not the ideal term; when I'm asked to describe what I do, I say I write romantic comedies, [because] that's what I feel they are."