Y S Lee was born in Singapore and raised in Vancouver and Toronto. She has said that she was a 'bookish and bespectacled' child whose favourite author included were L M Montgomery and Madeleine L’Engle. In 2004, she completed her PhD in Victorian literature and culture. This research, combined with her time living in London, triggered an idea for a story about a women’s detective agency. The result was The Agency series, featuring the intrepid Mary Quinn.
Y S Lee is also the author of Masculinity and the English Working Class (Routledge). She now lives in Kingston, Ontario with her husband and children.
Author's Comment: A Spy in the House is my first novel and it went through a few incarnations. I began it as a historical novel about the Great Stink, but hadn’t much sense of where things were going. Then, searching for structure, I wrapped the core ideas around a mystery plot and wrote a 95,000-word novel for adults. It was my agent who observed that I’d written a coming-of-age story, and why not shape it for YA readers? I’m so glad she did. I shed 30,000 words, a couple of characters, and a secondary subplot, and it’s a much tighter, zippier novel as a result.