Daphne Gilfillan was born in Portsmouth. A lover of music, she played the piano and the 'cello, the latter very badly. On her marriage, she and her husband rented a converted landing craft on Wootton Creek in the Isle of Wight, before being moved to Chichester. Here they raised their daughter and son. An admirer of Georgette Heyer and Mary Stewart, Daphne worked for a time in the Portsmouth Public Libraries.