Ali lives in Oxfordshire with her husband and their two children. She decided she wanted to be a writer pretty much as soon as she learned the word, and attempted her first novel when she was at primary school. Ali studied English at University College, Oxford in the early 90s, then worked in educational publishing before doing a diploma in journalism at Cardiff University. She moved to London to work as a journalist and landed a job as a reporter at The Stage.
Ali began writing fiction in earnest after starting a family and moving to Abingdon. She also work part-time in publishing locally. Her son is autistic, and was diagnosed in 2011. The following year her novel Stop the Clock was published by Transworld, followed by After I Left You in 2014.