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I had a terrible upbringing for a writer.
No, seriously! It was much too happy for me to ever win a Booker Prize. I had a great childhood. Brought up in a perfectly normal (read *perfectly dysfunctional*) family of six with two brothers and a sister and parents who have been together as long as I can remember - and that's saying something.
So maybe that's why I write romance. Because I believe in happily ever afters. Or maybe it's because I think love is the greatest, most underrated power tool on earth, able to jigsaw through the harshest of terrains and situations and then cement people together stronger than supaglue. Or maybe it's just because I got sick of being a chartered accountant and fooling around with spreadsheets:-)
Seriously, I wrote my first book aged eleven, the story of an island orphan finding herself and her place in the world. It had a print run of one, my own pitiful self-stitched attempt. (I still bear the scars...)
I devoured romance novels as a teenager and remember back then thinking with the arrogance of youth, *anyone can write this stuff*. Well, you know what? Anyone can't write romance. It's harder than it looks. When my first submission was rejected in 1993, I said, hey, I'll show you! The second submission was promptly rejected as well. And the third. And the... oh well, I'm sure you get the picture.
The call for me came eleven years after I'd first sat down and typed "Headlong into Love - Chapter One". (The heroine was parachuting - what more can I say?)
From my dream publisher, Harlequin Mills & Boon and for my dream line, Harlequin Presents, just one call made up for all those years of rejections - it was a dream come true. If you want to read more about the call and how persistence pays in this business, check out the writers page.
Seventeen years ago I was also lucky enough to marry the man of my dreams and he's held my hand along the way, supporting me in my quest to become a published author, passing me the tissues and the chocolates (not necessarily in that order) whenever one of *those* letters came in and pouring the champagne when the phone finally rang with the good news.
He's also at least half responsible for the lodgers we seem to have generated. Our four daughters, aged nine, eleven, thirteen and fifteen (I've always been good with series:-) keep us busy and try to eat us out of house and home. Together with two cats, one fish and one incontinent spoodle we live in a beautiful apple and cherry growing region in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia, surrounded by bushland, orchards and visited by the occasional koala and echidna (and snake, but we won't go there...)
I've just resigned as Treasurer of Romance Writers of Australia, an organisation I've been a member of since 1993 and that's helped me immensely along the path to publication. In the past I've served as contest manager and Vice President and somehow also ended up as coordinator of RWA's Passion in Paradise Conference held at the Gold Coast in August 2003. In addition I'm a member of both Romance Writers of New Zealand and Romance Writers of America. Anyone serious about writing romance cannot afford to ignore the advice, competitions and conferences offered by such organisations. They've certainly helped turn my dreams into reality.
One of the best things about being a romance author is not only having my dreams coming true, but making my characters' dreams come true and getting to share their happily ever afters with you.
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