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Marriage at the Cowboy's Demand
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Margaret Mayo
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Author Photo by Peter Rogers, Stafford

I was born in the heart of the industrial Midlands in England more years ago than I care to remember. I now live in a delightful country village and yet it's no more than twenty miles away from where I was brought up. I am the youngest by an hour in a family of three. My twin brother used to constantly remind me that he was the eldest, and my older brother was a distant figure during my schooldays.

Mine was an idyllic, uneventful childhood, filled with sunshine and happy memories. My favourite pastime in those days was reading. I gobbled up books at a terrific rate. I never dreamt that I would one day become a writer. In fact, as I got older and began reading longer length books I wondered how anyone had the patience to write all those thousands of words. I was, though, always top of my class in English, and I loved writing essays, so perhaps it was no wonder that I did begin to write. It wasn't a conscious decision. I suppose I could say it happened by accident.

I was taking evening classes in both English and German, with the intention of getting a better paid job as a bilingual secretary - because by now I was married with two children - when an idea sprang into my mind for a romantic short story. I think it was being reintroduced to the essay that did it. Anyway, this short story turned into a full-scale novel, and the rest, as they say, is history.

That was in 1976; now, at the beginning of 2004 I'm about to start on my 70th book for Harlequin Mills & Boon. I've had an idea buzzing around in my head for days and can't wait to get on with it. Writing is almost a hobby for me, as well as a way of earning my living. I find it so enjoyable. I love creating my characters and moving into another world.

My other hobbies are gardening, reading (of course) and watercolour painting. There are two disappointments in my life. One is that I wish my mother had lived long enough to see my success as a writer (she used to love reading romances), and the other is that my father could see my paintings - because he too used to paint, even though by trade he was an engineer. Perhaps, though, they're looking down on me. Perhaps they do know. I'd like to hold that happy thought.

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Photo: Margaret Mayo
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