What if? Two tiny words. But ones that have always sat in the back of my mind. What if there was a hero… who met a heroine… I’ve been pondering that question since I first fell in love with romance at a very young age. It took me through my degree, my masters, my job with the BBC on Holby City, and most particularly as an Editor for Mills & Boon.
But then the what if became something else. What if I could write a romance? It was such a simple question, but there was only one way to find out. Though in order to do that, to really do it, I would have to sell my flat in London and leave a job, colleagues, and authors that I dearly loved. But… what if?!
Handing in my notice at Mills & Boon was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Selling the flat and moving to the country? A mere step on the road to reaching my dreams. Writing my first book? Well, safe to say that in the first instance there was a fair amount of blunt force ignorance as I bashed my way through the first draft. Waiting for a response to my first offering? The second hardest thing I’ve ever done! But when I was given revisions by my editor (yes, my editor, not me the editor!) – after the moment of blind panic (which actually lasted about two days), I got stuck in. And loved every minute of it. As an editor, I know that revisions make a book stronger. As an author? I loved finding ways to do it, I loved knowing that I was making my book stronger.
Waiting for the feedback on my revisions? The third hardest thing I’ve ever done. But when I received the call – well… if you’ve read my call story then you may know that my mind short circuited and I got ‘all practical’ rather than sitting back and thinking…. Oh wow. But eventually the ‘what if’ got it’s own happy ever after.
People often wonder if as an editor, I can edit myself. There are many millions of authors out there and we are all different, but I can absolutely, one hundred percent say, no. I cannot edit myself. My experience has not given me a magic pathway to the perfect romance, and I happily (or sometimes unhappily) continue to make the most basic of story writing errors. But I wouldn’t have it any other day. Each time I write, I learn something new, whether from my fabulous editor, or from my own characters. And now when I ask myself what if… it takes me on a fabulous far flung, exciting, adventurous, passionate journey each and every time.