A typical Piscean, I’ve always preferred the stories in my head, or within the pages of a book, to what amounts to the real world. Yes, I was that kid who frequently had “could do better” on her report card because I was so often away daydreaming in my mind. Always an avid reader, I was introduced to the joy of reading romance at the age of thirteen by an elderly neighbour. Each week I’d visit her and we’d sort through bags and boxes of books – the neighbour didn’t know it then but she’d unleashed a monster! A wannabe romance writer monster.
Many scribblings, many years, marriage to my own blind date hero and two kids later I heard Harlequin Mills & Boon author, Susan Napier, speak at a local writer’s group. Susan mentioned Romance Writers of New Zealand and its contact details. At first I couldn’t believe there was a group for people like me but after about a year I plucked up the courage to join RWNZ and spent several years working on their committee, organising conferences and learning—always learning—more about writing. The joy of meeting with other people with the same dreams and aspirations, was indescribable. I’d found my tribe.
Eventually I discovered that to really be a writer I had to actually finish a book, so I did and won a few awards along the way including Romance Writers of Australia’s 1999 Emma Darcy Award and Romance Writers of New Zealand’s 2004 Clendon Award. In 2005 I sold to Harlequin’s Desire line and it’s been wonderful to have an outlet for all the stories in my head. I’m now incredibly proud to add that I am a five time Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year finalist and a three time Romance Writers of New Zealand Koru Award of Excellence finalist, winning the Koru for Short Sexy Romance in 2015. I now have more than 4.2 million books in print worldwide!
It took me a good many years to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up, but it was worth the wait and the support from my peers has been fantastic. If I can impart any wisdom about my journey so far it’s this – never give up on your dreams. Ever!