A comparative rarity among authors for her success with readers and critics alike, novelist Sarah Waters first considered writing fiction while completing her PhD thesis. The topic was gay and lesbian historical fiction, and Waters would soon prove that she could contribute significantly to this area of study herself, penning her debut novel, <i>Tipping the Velvet</i> (1998), soon after her thesis was complete. The native of Wales already had a bachelors and a masters degree under her belt, and after working in bookstores and libraries, she had become focused on academic writing for journals like <i>Feminist Review</i> and <i>Journal of the History of Sexuality</i> with the intent of spending her life as a professor. Waters' career would take fortuitous turn, however, with <i>Tipping the Velvet</i>. The book followed the story of a lesbian pursuing a romantic relationship during the conservative climate of Victorian England. The novel's picaresque plot earned her comparisons to Charles Dickens, and became a fantastic success, winning Waters awards such as the Betty Trask Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Fiction. The novel was also adapted into a popular mini-series for British TV in 2002. Waters continued to explore themes of lesbian relationships and historical society, frequently together, throughout her subsequent novels, including <i>Affinity</i> (1999), <i>Fingersmith</i> (2002), <i>The Night Watch</i> (2006), <i>The Little Stranger</i> (2009), and <i>The Paying Guests</i> (2011). These works garnered Waters still more awards and nominations, including The Stonewall Book Award, The Somerset Maugham Award, and three shortlistings for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. <i>Affinity</i>, <i>Fingersmith</i>, and <i>The Night Watch</i> were also adapted for the screen.