I never expected to even place in the Mills & Boon/Prima competition, let alone win. I, like many other writers, was used to the rejection letters, the narrow misses, and the notebook of ideas just vying for attention.
Since finishing writing ‘The Chic Boutique on Baker Street’, I decided to take the plunge and I left my teaching job to write full time, work from home and be there more for my family. It’s not easy, don’t get me wrong. Once you have that first success, you can’t rest easy and the rejections will still come, but I now know I can do it, and it spurs me on. I am currently working on my fifth book, and have had short stories published overseas too. One yes led to other acceptances and now I fill my days with writing, promoting, reading and planning. I treat it like a job, because that is what it is – the best job in the world!
I have rubbed shoulders with authors at sparkling events, spoken to writers I have fangirled over for years, and met the most amazing readers too. Readers who love the stories I create in my head and take the time to read, recommend and review.
Being part of Mills & Boon and HQ Digital is like being part of a family, and the support and guidance I have received has been amazing. Seeing my first paperback on the shelf was something I will never forget, and knowing that my words are zipping around the world on e-readers at the touch of a button is terrifying, but equally enchanting.
Each book is a labour of love and I get to sit in the garden and write, cuddle up on the sofa in my PJs and work away, and be there to get my children from school. I have achieved my writing dream and I still feel that I have a lot to learn, I relish the challenge that each new idea brings.
Without the competition, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to show what I can do, and I am so glad that the tired overworked me from two years ago didn’t just flick over the page and decide not to bother trying. It changed my life, and I will be cheering on the winner of this year’s competition because I know just how amazing it is. I think the precocious 8-year-old me, who read her mother’s Mills & Boon whilst on holiday in Crete, would be very happy to see that her dreams have come true. Now, when Prima magazine lands on my mat every month, I have even more reason to love it.