I was five or six years old when Enid Blyton came into my life. My Nan gave me my very first 'reading' book Come to the Circus, and from that moment I was hooked on both reading and Enid Blyton.
Nobody becomes a writer without first being a reader. By the time I was seven years old I knew I was going to be a writer "when I grew up." My first attempt was entitled The Secret Two, bearing more than a passing resemblence to Blyton's Secret Seven and The Famous Five!
At the age of 11, two major things happened to shape my life. The first was that my dear Nan died. For the first time I started keeping a diary, mostly influenced by The Diary of Anne Frank. Alas, I didn't keep it up for long. Some time afterwards I was also introduced to my first romance book, a Mills & Boon written by Anne Mather. For the first time, I began reading for escapism.
Within two years I'd hand-written my first 'real' story entitled The Hawaiian Dream. I still have a copy of my notes and the Holiday brochure I'd picked up from a local travel agents, to use as research and inspiration. No surprises either that my Heroine (interestingly named Charlotte - many years before I knew I would choose this name for my daughter) was recovering from the death of her beloved Nan.
By the time I was around sixteen I'd also become an avid reader of Catherine Cookson. I was awed by the fact that one of my school teachers had attended the same writers' group as Catherine Cookson (down in Hastings).
My other aspiration was to get married and have a family. I married at 17 years (yes, far too young - I know this now), and had my daughter when I was 20. My writing was put on hold.
In 1991 I went to see my first West End musical Joseph & the Technicolour Dreamcoat. Little did I know how much Joseph would become my motivation to try to achieve my dream of becoming a writer. Even now, when I listen to the soundtrack (Any Dream Will Do) it makes me feel quite emotional because it was the first time in many years since I'd regained my belief that I was 'meant' to be a writer.
Following a short holiday to Wales, my first Mills & Boon partial manuscript was born, entitled A Bid From The Heart. This was closely followed by my second, Word of Honour. Both submissions were rejected with what I now realise were encouraging rejections. The editors on both occasions asked to see more of my work, even though what I'd written so far hadn't been up to publishable standard, due to lack of emotional conflict etc.
I felt disheartened by my life in general by then and put my writing aside to focus on my two young children, and a necessary full-time job. Through a colleague I made contact with a former Mills & Boon Medical author Sarah Franklin, who very kindly invited me round her house one afternoon. She no longer wrote for M&B, preferring instead to write sagas under her own name of Jeanne Whitmee, but she provided me some much needed encouragement to NEVER GIVE UP.
It was Jeanne who sowed the first seeds in my head about writing for the Medical series, as opposed to Modern/Presents, who I'd targeted thus far.
Another few years passed and I sporadically returned to my writing - usually to submit short stories with a 'twist in the tale' to women's magazines. Rejection after rejection followed these submissions too.
Wow, this post has become rather long! For those who are still reading (!) I'll jump a few years and bring you to 2006. January 2006 I read a book by Rick Warren, entitled The Purpose Driven Life.
It was then all the missing jigsaw pieces fell into place. I am (and always have been) meant to be a writer. Writing is my purpose in life (as is being a Mother).
So here I am. Real-life still tries to stop me, but I know that I'm meant to write. I may not be published with my next book, or even the one after that, but I know one day I will be. Until that day arrives, I'll NEVER GIVE UP!
In case you're wondering why I've randomly written this long post, Sharon tagged me to blog about what inspired me to write. I therefore tag anybody and everybody who's read this far to write on their blog (or in my comments), what inspired them to write...