I was happily running my book shop but began to suffer from debilitating headaches which were laying me low for two or three days each week. Diagnosed as ‘stress’ I was forced to sell the business and we decided that it would be a good idea to buy a cottage in the country. My husband was by this time well established in his small town solicitor’s practice, so I could take some time off and just be a mum. The ‘Good Life’ was on TV at the time, a comedy about a young couple trying out self-sufficiency, which seemed like a good idea. We bought a half derelict house high on the fells in the Lake District, together with one hectare of land, and doing it up would be a great stress-buster, then I'd write The novel.
Best of all I’d regained my confidence. I’d realised that you don’t have to be a genius to be published. I tried again for Mills & Boon, this time with a historical. Two more rejections came, both with sufficient editorial help to encourage me to keep trying. They accepted the third, Madeiran Legacy. (Now available on Amazon as an ebook) I was jubilant. With my first advance I bought a computer and went on to sell them four more of these.
I'd served a long apprenticeship but during it I’d learned how to build strongly motivated characters, how to structure a story, put emotion on the page and make every word count. But then my romances began to get longer, and more complex, and I knew it was time to move on. I tried my hand at a saga, but that didn't prove to be as easy as I'd expected either.