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Someone once told me that with a name like Bliss I’d have to be a romance writer.
Most of my working life I’ve been a journalist – not the war correspondent, fashion magazine or even tabloid newspaper variety, (rated in my country just under politicians for trustworthiness), but a common variety trade journalist who wrote about travel for the New Zealand travel industry for close to a decade.
I did get to travel a lot (at least until I had a baby and was needed at home) but I didn’t usually sit under a tropical sunset with a cocktail in my hand. Not unless I had a pen and paper in the other and was making notes about whether the mozzies were biting, whether the storm water drain exited on the beach, what the service was like and... well, you get the picture. I got to work in fabulous places, but it was still work.
But was it better than a proper job? Oh yeah.
Now I have another job that on the surface looks glamourous and exciting. I’m a romance writer. Unfortunately not one of the ‘words pour out of me’ romance writers, but the ‘stare at the screen until your forehead bleeds’ variety. Like motherhood, I thought it would be easy and it’s not. Like motherhood I wouldn’t go back, even if I could.
Is it better than a proper job? Oh yeah.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was twelve but then I forgot and did a lot of other things instead. These included getting an arts degree in English and Political Studies at Auckland University, a postgraduate degree in periodical journalism at the University of London, travelling, having my heart broken a couple of times, meeting the right guy, building a house, having a baby – the usual milestones. A significant birthday was the fright I needed to stop TALKING about writing romance at parties and actually DOING it. I pass this tip on to every aspiring novelist – sit down at the computer and put your hands on the keyboard.
As a writer, I like to push the envelope. Heroes in romance are not usually big criers – Mr Imperfect opens with the hero crying at a funeral. I can’t help myself. It’s the strength (and probably weakness) of my fiction and fortunately in this case SuperRomance liked it and bought it.
In life I try and follow the rules... as the eldest of five girls I was once (and my sisters will say very briefly) in the heady position of setting the rules.
But in fiction, it's a different story.
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