Nancy Atherton is not a white-haired Englishwoman with a softly wrinkled face, a wry smile, and wise gray eyes, nor does she live in a thatched cottage behind a babbling brook in a tranquil, rural corner of the Cotswolds.
She has never taken tea with a vicar (although she drank an Orange Squash with one once) and she doesn't plan to continue writing after her allotted time on earth (though such plans are, as well all know, subject to change without notice).
If you prefer to envision her as an Englishwoman, she urges you to cling to your illusions at all costs -- she treasures carefully nurtured illusions. She also urges you to read no further.
Because the truth is that Nancy Atherton is a dark-haired American with a generally unwrinkled face, a beaming smile, and hazel eyes, who lives in a plain house in Colorado Springs. She comes from a large, gregarious family (five brothers and two sisters!) and enjoys socializing as much as she enjoys solitude.
So if you are looking for her at a convention, don't look for a stately grande dame in a flowery dress. Look for a woman in jeans and sneakers who's bounding around like a hyperactive gerbil.