Gill Arbuthnott was raised in Edinburgh and attended James Gillespies’ school, the setting for Muriel Spark’s classic novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, from there Gill studied zoology at St. Andrews University before undertaking teacher training in Dundee. She worked for two years as a biomedical researcher in Southampton before returning to Edinburgh to take up a teaching post at Edinburgh Academy where she has taught biology for the past twenty years.
She claims to have written ‘in secret’ for ten years, with her husband assuming she was marking papers, during which time she wrote three unpublished science-fiction novels for adults. With a growing number of rejection letters it came as much of a surprise to Gill that she would write a children’s fantasy book that was then published.
The Chaos Clock was inspired by the Millennium Clock exhibit that stands in the lobby of the Museum of Scotland. Although the Millennium Clock deals with the darker side of history; the Holocaust, Stalin, Hitler and the darker side of humanity, it was the Clock’s way of telling stories from all sides in a beguiling way that attracted the attention of school children, who sit around it mesmerised by its movement.
The Chaos Clock was published in 2003 and the follow up, The Chaos Quest, was published in 2004. Her third book, Winterbringers, was published in 2005, and her most recent novel The Keepers’ Daughter came out in 2009.
Arbuthnott has also written factual books for children’s publisher Barrington Stoke.