Rachel McAlpine was born in Fairlie, South Canterbury in 1940, and is one of six sisters. After attending Christchurch Girls' High School and graduating with a BA from Canterbury University, she married at 19, spent one year teaching and four years in Geneva, Switzerland. Then followed fifteen domestic years in Masterton, where she raised four children, did further study and research, was involved in various community projects and eventually returned to part time teaching. Rachel now specialises in writing the text of Web pages for government and business clients, and trains people to 'Write the Right Web Page'. Rachel writes plays for the stage and radio, novels, poetry and non-fiction.