The world of books today is very different from the glitz and glamour of the late 1980s, when publishers on both sides of the Atlantic were famed for throwing big bucks at big books. Sex, shopping and success were the prevailing themes, so it was a huge surprise – to me at least – when my first historical novel, Louisa Elliott, set in 1890s York, was taken up with such enthusiasm and became a bestseller around the world.
News headlines along the lines of, ‘Housewife Writes Bestseller’, were embarrassing at the time but certainly attracted attention. I was indeed a wife and mother – an independent one, since Peter, my Master Mariner husband, spent most of his time at sea.
Then, home was in West Yorkshire, but my First Trip to Sea made a great impression. While our two children were young, Peter and I took every opportunity to be together, spending many school holidays aboard ship. Visiting foreign ports, living as family with officers and crew, proved invaluable for me as a writer. Not least for giving an insight into the way men work and think.
If long sea voyages are a thing of the past, Peter and I still love to travel. Nowadays, living close to the Channel ports, we’ve taken to exploring Western Europe by motorhome. Spain: El Rocio to Seville, gives a taste of some out of the way places.
When not writing, I love to spend time with my family and friends, but reading for pleasure is my daily relaxation. You’ll find some reviews posted under Ann’s Choice.
My novels are all different – I’ve never been one to write to a template – but love in its many forms, and the effects of the past upon the present are prevailing themes.
The beauty of my back-list is that the stories are timeless. You may not have worked at sea, but you will identify with the pressures experienced by Captain Smith in The Master’s Tale and his modern-day equivalent in Liam’s Story. You may not have indulged in an illicit affair, but you will recognise the temptations facing Louisa Elliott and the Whitby fisherlass, Damaris Sterne, in Moon Rising.
I still find myself approaching a new novel as though it’s going to be my last. And after all the glitz and glamour of the early days, I’m now part of the multi-tasking, indie-publishing scene of today.
My latest novel – One Night, Two Lives– features a woman who gave up her child for adoption, and a man who wants to find the son he fathered. A different kind of love-story, it’s set mainly in Yorkshire in modern times, with flashbacks to the 1960s, a period now officially classed as ‘history.’