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Lisa Jackson

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Joanna Neil
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It was a television commercial that started it all. Joanna had her future planned. She enjoyed her work as an infant teacher, her son and daughter were at junior school, and she didn't envisage any changes to her way of life. But then she discovered Harlequin Mills & Boon. The commercial showed a fire blazing in the hearth, and a young woman sitting down to enjoy an hour or so of delicious escapism with a romance novel. Never having read a Harlequin Mills & Boon novel, Joanna made up her mind to see what they were all about. She was surprised to find how absorbing and interesting they were, and went on to read them on a regular basis. The more she read, the more she had the overwhelming desire to try to write one. Encouraged by her husband and family, she persevered until her first book was accepted, and after several books were published, she decided to write full time. She misses the infants who were in her care, but this is counterbalanced by the pleasure of creating stories for the enjoyment of others. As each story unfolds, the characters become very real to her, and she shares with them each emotional hurdle along the way until they reach the ultimate happy ending. Working from her Midlands home gives Joanna the freedom to branch out into other areas. She is a part-time tutor of creative writing at her local college of adult education. She is a member of her local writers' club and was its president for a year, a role that involved bringing in lively, published writers to pass on some of their tips for success. Being president was not always plain sailing. There was the annual dinner, where the speaker arrived late…and the time when two people were booked to address the club members and only one turned up… Writing for Harlequin Mills & Boon is an exciting and fulfilling experience, one that she would not have missed for the world.

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Photo: Joanna Neil
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