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In 1985, I was beset by a double tragedy when my sister and father died within months of each other. These terrible, painful events were a catalyst and I came to the conclusion that life was too fleeting not to pursue my dreams wholeheartedly. Success was not simply going to come to me – it had to come from within me.
It was then that I finally realised that the daydreams I'd been having all my life were a gift, a talent I could no longer ignore. It hit me that I was destined to be a storyteller.
I made a decision to write tales of substance, often using material drawn from my own troubled life. I'd been raised by an alcoholic father and pulled myself out of two unhealthy marriages. But I was lucky – I learned to triumph over adversity. I'll always regret that my sister, who was institutionalised at the time of her death, never stopped suffering the effects of our turbulent childhood.
Through my stories, I explore a variety of controversial topics and have written about spousal abuse, alcoholism, child abuse, incest, kidnapping, illegitimacy, amnesia, homelessness and abandonment.
I began writing for myself, but I was humbled when I realised that readers found my novels cathartic as well, as I started to receive letters from women who said that my stories helped them heal.
Like my heroines – and my fans – I have overcome disabling obstacles to become a strong dynamic woman, confident in myself and my abilities. I whole-heartedly champion other strong women, who are able to rise above their troubled pasts, just as I did.