My first book was published in 1987. Today I am the bestselling Mills and Boon Presents author with sales thirty five million books worldwide.
I’m Irish. I’m a Leo born July 30. I learnt to read at the age of 3, haven’t stopped since then. I hated school, enjoyed university. I first met my husband when I was 14 but we had a rocky path to the altar. I wrote my first romance at 15 but couldn’t find a buyer! I have five children, one natural, four adopted from Sri Lanka and Guatemala. I live in the country and have five acres of wild woodland garden.
My favourite colour is green. I’m addicted to kids, books, chocolate, baths in candlelight, log fires and four poster beds. I love exploring historic houses, castles and beautiful gardens. I collect everything from rare trees to rock specimens and old toys. I’m interested in international adoption and post-adoption/ multi-cultural issues.
I am crazy about Christmas. I love being a writer when the book is going well, hate it like poison when it’s not. I read a newspaper every day. I listen to dance music in the car. I don’t like romantic movies with unhappy endings.
Where do I get my ideas? An active imagination and my own life experience. I have to confess that I’m still waiting on a billionaire to whisk me away on his private jet but that doesn’t stop me dreaming! I had an imaginary friend as a child and adored fairy tales. I also have a keen interest in what makes people tick and believe that the good and bad times of even the most ordinary life give a writer the fuel to portray realistic emotions.
A Typical Day in My Life
I get up at 6.30 because I love to take my time waking up and read for a few hours before I start work. I’m a real news junkie and these days read the daily newspaper on my kindle which saves me driving out in bad weather. .
I work in a room lined with shelves of books and have all my favourite things parked on the edges of the shelves so that it is very much my space. As I spend so much of my time here, why not? At least it keeps the clutter down in other places. The dogs keep me company. When I start a new book it’s exciting and I will have day dreamed about my hero for a few days beforehand while I work out the basic plot. I don’t do very detailed plots in advance as I enjoy the freedom of developing ideas that come up as I write. Every morning I make a cup of coffee and review the previous day’s writing. Sometimes this can spark radical changes. If I think I’ve taken a wrong turn I will read the story right from the beginning to try and get back into my characters and the flow of the story and come up with an alternative development. If the story is at an emotional high point, I don’t want to leave it and may do some more work in the evening. Sometimes I’m so buried in my current book, you can see my lips moving as I’m working out dialogue. My characters are so real to me they walk around inside my head which means that my family have also learned to repeat things several times over. It’s like living between two worlds and often, the world of my book has the more powerful hold on me.
Spring and Summer days I take every chance I can to take a break and walk round the garden with the dogs. I cut roses and sweet peas to bring indoors. We have a summer house in woodland which is a suntrap and the most peaceful place in the world. I’ve worked out many a thorny plot problem sitting there. In winter it’s usually too wet for a garden tour so I make do with a walk down to check the post box.
If I let myself read while I have my lunch, it is often a challenge to get myself back to work. I will stay at my desk until my husband gets home around 4.30. I start cooking dinner which is also my way of winding down. I love cooking and the family never know what meal will be put in front of them as I’m always trying out new recipes – some winners, some losers. I own a vast collection of cookery books.
At night I try not to work and I spend time with the family. On light evenings I may go for a walk round the forest only a couple of miles away. When I’m feeling less active I watch The X Factor, Game of Thrones etc but mostly I read books and relax and chat to my eldest daughter and son on the phone as they no longer live at home.
The most satisfaction I get out of writing is hearing that a reader enjoyed my book. Happy readers also inspire me. The biggest thrill I get is seeing one of my books for sale in a shop or online.