Julie Bertagna was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1962. She moved to Glasgow aged 7 and grew up just outside the city. After attending Bearsden Academy she went to Glasgow University. Having moved into Glasgow's West End, she has refused to leave.
Of her path into writing, Julie explains: "I mucked about doing bits and bobs of journalism after university but lacked experience (and confidence) and couldn't make a living at it so went into teaching. Gradually I manoeuvred back into writing, doing all sorts of freelance features for the Scottish press, scaled down the teaching and began writing fiction too. My first published work was a freelance article, for which I was paid £50! The Spark Gap, my first novel, was shortlisted for the 1998 Angus Award (chosen by teenagers), and I was awarded a Scottish Arts Council grant for the writing of Soundtrack, my second novel for teenagers."
In a talk given to the Dundee and Area Children's Book Group in 1998, Julie said: "When I first began to write... I didn't know if I had a story to tell and a voice to tell it with because I had been mute for so long, but I had a really strong impulse to try. Yet I put off even trying till I was 25. Which is a long silence for someone who knew when she was 7 that she wanted to be a writer because she was addicted to making up stories in her head."