A biography is a story of a person’s life—which needs to be interesting and informative. Up until I began writing my life was very happy, but very ordinary and not at all interesting—so I’ll be brief about my early years.
I live in the UK in the part that Tolkien called Middle England. I left school at fifteen, learned shorthand and typing, got married when I was twenty two, had two children. And that was as interesting as it got—until June 14th 1974 when I began to write.
How do I remember the date? What motivated me? What made me decide to try my hand at writing?
Most writers say they’ve always written, always made up stories, right from a very young age. But not me. I was a voracious reader but I never invented stories, I never thought about actually writing. So it continues to amaze me that I’m now the author of over 80 romance novels.
It was on the morning of June 14th 1974 that I woke up with an idea in my head for a short story. Why, I don’t know. Perhaps I’d dreamt about writing. Whatever, it’s a date I’ll always remember and I began to write my story that very day. By this time my son and daughter were both at school and I’d gone back to work. The job I had, as secretary to the UK Manager of a Danish company, allowed me plenty of spare time, so I did all of my writing at the office!! (Happily with the knowledge and consent of my boss.)
My short story grew and grew until it began turning into a full length novel. The next part of the puzzle was what to do with it? How did I know if it was any good? Who could I turn to for help and advice? I eventually discovered there were such things as writers’ circles and there was one virtually on my doorstep. I was fortunate that the president was a Mills & Boon writer. She took me under her wing and the rest, as they say, is history.
This first book was actually turned down—not because of the writing, but because it had never been truly aimed at Mills & Boon. So I studied the market intensely (you’d never have guessed that I’d read them for years) wrote two more and had them both accepted at the same time. The Mayo household erupted on the day I found out. The ‘call’ didn’t happen in those days, I received a letter. And a very brief letter at that, simply saying they were going to publish my two books. Nevertheless I had never been so excited in my life.
Two years and eight books later I gave up work for good.
And so the love of writing goes on.