Margaret recalls the beginning of her writing career.
How does anyone decide they want
to become a writer? The thought never occurred to me until one day an idea for
a short story popped into my head. I had previously gone to college to learn
German, believing I would find a better job if I could speak another language.
My plan was German first then French.
But when the whole class failed the exam, and they sacked the teacher, I
gave up on the idea. At the same time I
enrolled in an English class so perhaps it was this that set me off. I’d always
been good at English at school and looking back I don’t think I really needed
those classes – but if they are what started me on my writing career who am I
to question it?
I’d always read romance so it
came naturally to me to want to write this type of book. Can you believe I did all
of my writing at work? At the time I was a secretary in a very small company
and often was alone in the office. What I didn’t know was whether my writing
was of publishable quality. So I joined my local writer’s circle and as luck
would have it the lady who ran it was a Mills & Boon writer. She took me
under her wing and I did many re-writes before she said she couldn’t help me
anymore and suggested I send it to them.
Sadly they rejected it, but they
did say they liked my writing style and would be prepared to read anything else
I wrote. Encouragement indeed! (Forgive me if you’ve heard this story before, I
know I’ve recounted it many times.) So, suitably encouraged, I wrote another
story, really studying the market this time. Once I’d sent it off I started
another one. The bug had really bitten! And I sent that to them even though I
hadn’t heard anything about my other manuscript.
Within days I had a letter
accepting both. No phone calls in those days. Can you imagine my excitement? I
grabbed hold of my husband and we danced around the room. The kids thought we
were mad because they didn’t know what was going on. It was the most exciting
day of my life.
That was in 1976 and I never
dreamed I would still be writing all these years later. I have slowed down, two books a year now
instead of four, and with a different publisher. Perhaps it’s in my blood,
perhaps enjoying writing essays at school was the pre-cursor to my writing
career. After my initial success I did manage to get in touch with my English
teacher (who had retired by this time) and she was delighted with the news. I
can imagine it making her day when she discovered that one of her pupils was
now a published writer.
One thing I do truly know, is
that I will never stop writing. It is the most rewarding (and I mean in a
personal sense not financially) and enjoyable occupation anyone can have. Each
morning after breakfast I say to my husband, “I’m going to work now.” It’s only
in the next room but it is my work space – and I love it.