Connect with Barbara
I have always loved writing. Even before I could read or write, I made ‘movies’ to entertain my younger sisters, where I would draw pictures on large sheets of paper and pass them through the slats of orange boxes.
Later, I used to sprawl on the floor of our lounge room writing and illustrating my own magazine stories on the backs of my father’s discarded blueprints. These were often ‘rags to riches’ or ‘ugly duckling’ stories.
Towards the end of secondary school, I started expressing interest in becoming a journalist, but I was told quite definitely it ‘wasn’t a very nice career for a woman,’ so I became an English teacher and fell in love with a journalist instead. I gained a BA degree at Queensland University and later taught English at various high schools in regional Queensland.
For a long time after I married, my newspaper editor husband and four children kept me fully occupied. I didn’t find much time for writing but managed to squeeze in a creative writing course and had short stories published in the Australian Women’s Weekly and Woman’s Day.
Then, while teaching units on popular fiction, I suddenly discovered romance novels. It was rather like falling in love at first sight. Where had they been all my life? I knew almost instantly that these were the kinds of stories I was meant to write. Brimming with confidence, I quickly submitted a full manuscript and waited to be accepted with my first attempt.
When the rejection letter arrived I realised I had much hard work ahead of me, but instead of being put off, I set to work. I attacked the task of writing romance novels with growing respect for exisitng authors genre and a long-term commitment. My children were growing up and starting to follow their own dreams, so I had a little space in my life. Soon I was spending most of my holidays and weekends glued to my computer and I became totally committed to my goal – to be published by Harlequin Mills & Boon.
Four and a half years later, the long awaited telephone call came from London. Finally my Outback hero Fletcher and city heroine Ally would have a life of their own in print! I remember how the fact that I was also setting off in a new an exciting career as a contracted author seemed secondary at the time!
I’ve always believed it is up to us to make our dreams come true and I’ve always encouraged my children to believe this too. It is because romance stories are all about dreams coming true that I love them so much. I love gutsy, impetuous heroines and strong, sexy heroes who also have a sense of fun. And I love the threat in each romance that this time the hero and heroine might miss out on a happily ever after ending. (Thank heavens that threat is always resolved!)
I have always enjoyed the support of my family and I’ve been lucky to have a partner who can give encouragement and advice as a fellow writer. I sincerely hope that my experience might help other aspiring writers to stick to the task.
Follow your dream, because perseverance can finally pay off!