Apparently the blog hop is intended to let you in on seven of the things in my life that have helped make me the person and writer I am. Let’s see what a positive spin I can put on the events in my life so far…
1. I learned to read very early, mostly because I grew up in my mother’s nursery school and absorbed the lessons going on around me. Taking advantage of this new skill, my mother used to keep me sitting quietly whenever necessary by placing a book in my eager little hands.
The earliest book I can remember is Orlando the Marmalade Cat, who was a firm favourite on my many trips to Staines Library.
2. My mother inadvertently taught me to speed read by sharing Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series. We’d read together lying on the sofa and I always galloped ahead as fast as possible to make sure she didn’t turn the page before I’d found out what happened next. That has influenced all my reading since as I prefer fast-moving adventure stories to slow, thoughtful, emotional books. It also set my preference for likeable, intelligent characters who have integrity and solve their problems with clever solutions rather than strength and violence. (Even Jack Reacher tries to use violence only as a last resort.)
3. Being an only child meant that I had plenty of time to read and it has always been my favourite activity. It used to worry me when grown-ups asked ‘what are your hobbies, Beverlie?’ It seemed so lame to say ‘reading’. Didn’t everybody read? And I never dared answer with my other real enthusiasm – climbing trees. Why didn’t I have a ‘proper’ hobby like stamp collecting or playing the piano?
4. I grew up beside the River Thames and knew every inch of my stretch of it intimately. It was a delight to discover Wind in the Willows – the first book I’d read that was in a setting I could relate to. I did plenty of travelling as my mum was an adventurous woman always keen to explore far-off places with strange-sounding names. My dad played along with good grace, erecting tents on sand dunes in the south of France or staying home to earn the money to allow us to cruise round the world. My reading ranged far and wide too with Willard Price adventures, King Solomon’s Mines, Biggles, Ngaio Marsh mysteries and Agatha Christie. I still read crime fiction for preference.
5. When I was twelve my father died, Mum sold everything and we emigrated to New Zealand. Inspired by comedic writers like Alan Coren in Punch, I wrote a few funny stories about our exploits but never tried to get them published. High school was tough for a new immigrant but life improved immeasurably when I left home to go to University.(Languages and literature) Assignments and later teacher training knocked all pleasure in reading and writing out of me for a while, then marriage and a busy lifestyle left little time for such pursuits.
6. It wasn’t until I was visiting my mother-in-law and found myself snowed in during a Canadian winter that I had time to read again – and the only books she had were Mills & Boon romance novels. I’d never read one before and it was a revelation. If something this simplistic could be published, surely I could write a book too. It lit the spark. I did a bit of research and found that romance publishers would accept unagented manuscripts so I bashed one out and sent it off. No other eyes saw it, so it was untested, unedited, un-proofed and totally amateur. I had no writerly community for help and support, and it was before the days of the internet, so I had no way of knowing what to do. Unsurprisingly it was rejected, but with an encouraging note. (Sound familiar?)
7. Now I have seven titles out there and a wonderful set of colleagues nearby that I meet regularly for critique and discussion. Others interact online from around the country and around the world, sharing information, insights, and pats on the back when deserved. I’m about to start my eighth book, and have helped to publish over a hundred titles for other writers as my new full-time job. There's a small selection of the print titles '''below. I’m immersed in the writing world up to my neck and loving it!
The rules for this Lovely Blog Hop are that I’ve shared 7 'Lovely Facts' about myself, and provided links to other blogs that I enjoy reading. If I’ve nominated your blog (see names below at the end of post and my apologies if I've missed somebody I should have included) please don’t feel any obligation to join in but, if you do, please link back to the blog of the person who nominated you (me), share facts about yourself and nominate other blogs (as many as you can).
Vicky Adin - http://vickyadin.co.nz/blog/
Yvonne Walus - http://yewalus.blogspot.co.nz/
Z R Southcombe - http://www.zrsouthcombe.com/blog/
Melissa Bowersock - http://mjb-wordlovers.blogspot.co.nz/
Yvonne Hertzberger - http://newfantasyauthor.com/blog/
And just to balance the female bias with some testosterone…
Matthew J Wright - https://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com/
Mike Crowl - http://mikecrowlsscribblepad.blogspot.co.nz/
(It’s OK guys, you can rename the blog heading to suit!)