The very first piece of writing I had published was in the school magazine. It was a poem about the Royal Wedding – the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip that is, which tells you how long ago it was. During my childhood I was determined to become a journalist, as English was the only subject that really engaged me at school. At 17 I learnt shorthand and typing, which I felt would be necessary for my chosen profession.
However, I let me heart rule my head (which was to become a feature of most of my life) and when I was 18 I got engaged and decided I needed a better paid job than being a very junior reporter on the Croydon Advertiser. So, I became a secretary and began buying saucepans and bed linen. Foolish me! Married and babies soon followed, but sadly so did divorce. Remarriage and more babies kept me occupied all through my 20s and 30s.
You can see why my writing career became non-existent. What is it they say? The pram in the hall puts an end to imagination – something like that anyway…
It wasn’t until I was in my 50s that I summoned up my ability to write again. It was unfortunately through a disaster, when my husband had a catastrophic business failure that caused us to lose all our money, including the roof over our heads, and him to have a massive heart attack, which left him unable to work. I went back to work (those secretarial skills came in useful again) but I also began writing short stories which I sold to various women’s magazines and entered for competitions, several of which I won. Also, I finally wrote for a local newspaper, articles on a variety of subjects.
I read about the huge sums of money being paid to Mills & Boon writers, so I had a go at that but was rejected with the comment that ‘you have to believe in it to write it’. I tried again, keeping my tongue firmly in my cheek, but to no avail. I then found that Robert Hale were in the market for ‘romance’ novels, so I submitted both of the books I had written for their consideration, and they published them in hard back and put them in libraries. I wrote another one for them, which was also published and put in public libraries, and I still receive annual Public Library Rights to this day.
Again, I was caught up in family problems and difficulties and for several years wasn’t able to write, although I did self-publish an e-book. But, being ignorant about the ways of self-publicity, it didn’t do well. It’s still there, on Amazon, and perhaps I should give it some attention.
Then, one day, I found an unfinished MS, decided to finish it and submit it, and eventually it was published by Endeavour Media under the title Leon’s Island under my pseudonym of Marigold West, as were the other romances.
I wanted to write something more ambitious, however, and I recalled one of my favourite books as a child – The Family from One End Street. I felt I would love to know how these (fictitious) children grew up and that I would love to write their story, but realized I would have to obtain permission from the copyright holders.
The author, Eve Garnett, had died in 1991 and the company that had inherited the rights told me they needed to read the book before giving consent, which meant I had to write the whole book before knowing whether or not I would be allowed to publish. Fortunately, when I was finally able to submit the finished book, they thought I had written it imaginatively and in the spirit of the initial books, so I had the go ahead.
Thus it was that The Happy Ever After, a story about the Ruggles family growing up, told mainly from the viewpoint of the eldest child, Lily Rose, came about. And this time, I published it under my own name, for the very first time.
Get your copy of The Happy Ever After HERE!