I’ve been asked a lot lately about what made me a writer – so I decided to try to define it.
Learning to read before I started school gave me a voracious appetite for reading books. My mother made sure I had plenty in the house. We went to the library once a week and were members of a book club. Mom used to read to me all the time, snuggled up on the sofa and my love for a good story was born. Favourites as a small child were Famous Five books, Secret Seven and Biggles.
At school, I loved putting my imagination to work on stories and poems. My junior school had a quarterly magazine and I vied to have my material included. I still have some editions in the attic. Maybe I’ll dig them out to show you what I was writing then. I also have the little book of poems that I wrote around the age of twelve.
Teenage years were all about study. I was determined to do well, so my writing was mainly coursework. My love of reading continued, my favourites now being Walter Scott and Alistair MacLean. I penned my first novel at fourteen – it was a swashbuckler, full of pirates, tall ships and swords.
By university, I’d moved on to reading Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen, but I was still writing coursework rather than fiction. My degree was in Business Studies and German.
Work then took over and I can’t remember writing fiction for a while, it was board minutes , letters, reports and training manuals in the main.
When I started my own business, I had to write a lot of marketing materials and was good at getting press releases into local newspapers.
After having my second child, I wasn’t very well and drifted around aimlessly for a while. An acquaintance started a publishing company and she held a short story competition. I only entered to show willing, but I won. The spark was ignited.
I began to study with the Open College of the Arts and obtained a Certificate of Higher Education in Creative Writing. I could have studied further, but the course was taking me into areas I was less interested in and I’d decided by then that I wanted to write romance novels.