Catherine was born in Brisbane, Queensland. She grew up in Papua New Guinea, where her father worked as a patrol officer. She went to high school in Sydney. In 2006, her alma mater, Ku-ring-gai High School, named its library after her. From 1982 to 1986, Catherine studied at the University of Sydney, graduating with an honours degree in medieval history. She then worked on Westpac Banking Corporation’s staff magazine for approximately seven years. In 1992 she married Peter Dockrill, a Canadian journalist; in 1993 she and her husband left Australia for a brief spell in Nova Scotia, where she began to write full-time. They returned to Australia in 1994, and Catherine gave birth to her daughter Hannah in 1997. Since 1998, she and her family have been living in Leura, New South Wales. To date, she has written forty one different books.