Conferences rock. There I am in the purple Regency duchess outfit, complete with ostrich feathers, holding the certificate for one of the 4th places I won in the Koru Awards at the Romance Writers of New Zealand Conference. The Awards dinner, and all the other socialising, was great. I had a fabulous time. But the real gold of the weekend was in the workshops, and I’ll be mining it for months, if not years.
One workshop set me retelling my author origin story in a way that tells more of a universal tale, harnessing the tropes my life has followed. Mine is a reinvention story. What’s yours?
Have you ever wanted something so much you were afraid to even try? That was me ten years ago.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a novelist. I even started dozens of stories, over the years.
But life kept getting in the way. A seriously ill child who required years of therapy; a rising mortgage that led to a full-time job; six children, my own chronic illness… the writing took a back seat.
As the years passed, the fear grew. If I didn’t put my stories out there in the market, I wouldn’t risk making a fool of myself. I could keep the dream alive if I never put it to the test.
Then my mother died. That great lady had waited her whole life to read a novel of mine, and now it would never happen.
So I faced my fear and changed it–told everyone I knew I was writing a novel. Now I’d make a fool of myself for certain if I didn’t finish.
My first book came out to excellent reviews in December 2014, and the rest is history. Many books, lots of positive reviews, and a few awards later, I feel foolish for not starting earlier.
I write historical fiction with a large helping of romance, a splash of Regency, and a twist of suspense. I then try to figure out how to slot the story into a genre category. I’m mad keen on history, enjoy what happens to people in the crucible of a passionate relationship, and love to use a good mystery and some real danger as mechanisms to torture my characters.
Dip your toe into my world with one of my lunch-time reads collections or a novella, or dive into a novel. And let me know what you think.
I have an origin story for my imprint, too.
I wanted to call my imprint Olive Press, since my mum’s name was Olive. But a bit of research convinced me it was a bad idea: already used, and all for Christian self-help books and Bible study guides. I don’t want to go misleading readers!
So I named it after my mother’s childhood home, which in turn was named after her family’s ancestral village, and I chose an olive tree for the symbol.