Hello and welcome to my website.
I once dreamed of being a published author. Some years ago it happened. I had short stories published in magazines such as Fiction Feast, Woman’s Way, Ireland , People’s Friend, Australian Women’s Weekly, etc., and eventually several novels.
I always wanted to write something longer and meatier than a short story but, bringing up five children on my own since the youngest was two, the oldest ten, it was difficult to find the time. I’m lost in admiration for people like Charlotte Lamb who is said to have written her wonderful M&B romances with her children playing round her feet.
There used to be lots of trade competitions in those days with fantastic prizes. These required skill in writing a sentence endorsing the product or a slogan using very few words. It was marvellous practice for cutting out the dross when writing. It sometimes brought in welcome prizes, too, household goods, cash, and two wonderful trips abroad, one a week-end in Rome , the other a New Year in New York , all grist to the mill of writing.
After uni, as a very mature student, studying French and law, and updating Spanish at evening class, I wrote two romantic suspense novels and received lovely comments but no sale. I turned to writing romance.
I also started working as a freelance legal translator – something to pay the bills. The children were all teenagers or at university when I wrote my first novella. I sent it off and I’ll always be grateful to Robert Hale for that first break in book publishing.
It wasn’t plain sailing. Far from it. The editor phoned one day to say they were rather taken with Twentieth-Century Pirate but it was far too long by their unique method of counting. I shortened it. Still too long. I shortened it again and they offered me a contract. I was over the moon. The proofs arrived for me to check, which I did immediately. Three weeks later they asked when I was going to send back the edited manuscript. It had been lost in the post!
As I’d written it on a typewriter I had to do the whole thing again from the carbon copy. Remember those? Was it a sign I should give up? Not to me, and in due course I held a copy of Twentieth-Century Pirate in my hands. What a thrill!
I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association and went to meetings with like-minded people. The speakers were inspiring and varied, and included Simon Brett, Claire Rayner, Joanna Trollope, Margaret Pemberton, Stella Whitelaw and Darley Anderson. They always ensured I went home fired with good intentions.
I also bought an Amstrad. Although I’ve had several more sophisticated computers since then, the Amstrad changed my life.
I went on to write four more books for the Rainbow Romance series, and then the line fizzled out. They were: To Sara – with love, Jilted, Pictures in Provence and Storm Damage. They all went into large print and some were sold to Germany , Holland and India .
I sold a novella to My Weekly, called Vienna Masquerade. The title was too long for the cover so they changed it to Secret Love.
I kept working on Blackthorn Child and wrote a Second World War romance Love Thine Enemy which was bought by Thorpe large print.
From time to time I gave Blackthorn Child an airing, sending it off to agents or publishers and once to a critique expert. Great critique. No sale.
The last agent I tried suggested I start at a different point in the story. This worked very well but, rather than bat it back and forth with subsequent rejection and disappointment I put it on Kindle with the help of my son Basil (basfountain.co.uk – Authors’ services). I, that is we, have added three more on Kindle with more to come. I’m amazed to find Blackthorn Child at 16, 7 and 4 in three of Kindle’s bestseller lists.
I have several books which need a good edit and several ideas for books. Will I try a traditional publisher? Well, possibly. Watch this space.