Connect with Juliet
Having already written books on embroidery design, I expect that my progression in 1994 from fact to fiction made it less daunting for me to start writing stories than it would have been for a complete beginner. In many ways, the requirements are similar: a strong imagination and sense of design; an eye for detail; a love of colour, scenery, and research; and a willingness to share inner thoughts and feelings with readers. Dedication is also useful, as living in the country means that the temptation to spend time picnicking and sightseeing instead of writing is sometimes very strong!
In everyday life, I am a professional embroiderer and author Jan Messent, and the two disciplines go perfectly hand in hand. When I’m not doing one, I’m doing the other, often both on the same day. There's no such thing as spare time, as stories develop in my mind while stitches form on the fabric, and the one that wins depends on urgency and inclination. (Otherwise known as deadlines.) I often find that the research needed for both subjects also merges, as my novels range from the Roman and Anglo-Saxon period, medieval, Tudor, and Restoration to the Regency era, and my embroidery books under my own name of Jan Messent also reflect my interest in history.
Like every story, my own on the path to writing began with the research. Delving into early local history, I discovered all kinds of events that I had not learned about at school that certainly would have made my history lessons more interesting if I had! The characters and situations were all there: their lives just as complicated (and far more dangerous) as ours and just as colourful, their loves and hates just as great. And because most of the laws and codes of social behaviour were different from ours, the possibilities for good, involved story lines were plentiful.
As a Yorkshire woman, I used my knowledge of early medieval embroidery and the city of York as the basis of my first historical romance, The Golden Lure, and I thought that this mixture worked well. My second novel, A Knight in Waiting, was nominated by Harlequin Mills & Boon for the Romantic Fiction Writer's Award, which was a great honour. I have had two of my stories made into audio CDs, and have now written over twenty novels.