Thank you for inviting me to your blog and asking me to tell you about my life. They say that life begins at forty but for me it began at sixty. My dream was to become a published author before I was sixty and as time slipped by I was beginning to think I’d never achieve my dream.
However, when I was given the opportunity to take early retirement from teaching I was overjoyed – this gave me two years to write something that was of publishable standard.
I had been writing on and off since I was twenty-five but never got to the point when the book was ready to be sent out to a publisher or agent
I joined the RNA and made many wonderful friends, most of which were in the same position as I was, and discovered how to submit to a publisher.
Two weeks before my sixtieth birthday – ten years ago – I sold a book to Robert Hale and another to DC Thompson – both were Regency romantic adventures. I went on to write a further eight books for Robert Hale and another fifteen for DC Thomson. I also got a six-book deal with an American publisher, Musa, and for a couple of years had an agent.
A great friend, Amanda Grange, suggested that I become an indie publisher as I’d got all the rights back for my books and had a very long back list. I was lucky that I jumped on the bandwagon just as the e-book boom began in 2012 – within a year I was a bestselling writer and earning double what I did when I was a teacher
Although my royalties are no longer rising, I’m still making an excellent living from my work. I’ve also got an agent again who is trying to place the first book in a Victorian family saga series. I can’t believe how far I’ve come in a decade and am thankful every day.
My Wedding Day
I was married at 18 to a charismatic, handsome man fourteen years older than me and we had forty-one four years together before a series of mini strokes left him unable to communicate and made me his full-time carer. People keep telling me what a wonderful job I’m doing, how amazing I am, but I don’t see it like that. I’m fortunate in that I’m in a good financial position, can pay for a carer to come in when I want to go out for a day, and that my husband although dependent, is physically reasonably well. I don’t know how women who have to rely on state benefits manage to stay sane.
We used to live in an old, large, house with 5 acres of beautiful grounds – but I persuaded my husband to move five years ago to a modern house in Wivenhoe. It took me three years to adjust to the change, and I think he’s only forgiven me for moving him from his beloved garden because he’s now forgotten about the house
I’m now very happy where we are. I have public transport and shops in the village, and if the time comes when I can’t drive, I can still do everything on foot.
To some people my life might appear to be very restricted – I no longer have holidays or can stay anywhere overnight – but I think I’m lucky. I’m reasonably fit, my son, daughter-in-law and toddler grandson live a few miles away and I have a wide circle of friends.
However, I don’t think I’d be so content if I didn’t have my writing. I write every day and this year I have written six new books and edited and published two books I wrote a few years ago. I’m also involved in a collaborative venture with four other Regency writers.
Our third box set, Regency Quintet Christmas Edition, has been released on October 5th. I’ve also just released my Christmas book, Christmas at Castle Elrick, and hopefully this will do as well as last year’s offering
I hope the next ten years of my life are as fulfilling and exciting. Two of my dearest friends are in their 80s and both producing new books every year – I hope I will still be able to do the same.
Christmas at Castle Elrick can be found here.
Editor: Fenella is very kindly donating a signed copy of Hannah's War written in 2013 as a prize for a future draw. Details will appear on the website soon. Many thanks Fenella.