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The Mills & Boon family were extremely sad this weekend ...
For most of us, a look back over the last 12 months might se...
This weekend, something very exciting is happening for lover...
I was born in Staffordshire to two semi-hippy types with questionable taste in fashion, but awesome taste in music (two traits that I think they’ve passed on, come to think of it) and I have two super-cool kid sisters.
By the time I was five, I’d fallen in a canal, bit my tongue off after falling down stairs, and had been scalded by a pot of hot coffee from the head down. Clumsy? Moi? Probably. It was all good training though for when the sisters began to arrive…
At twelve, I was tied to a set of goalposts by some skinny troublemaker called Jamie Knight (he hates being called Jamie). I got him back though by marrying him. Ha! It happened one night in Kos. We’d decided over a course of pina coladas that life was too short – we sobered up, came home and tied the knot ten weeks later! It was a chaotic affair, now dubbed ‘Carry On Up The Aisle.’ The service was perfect, but we did everything on a shoestring and the Chauffeur/DJ/Best Man’s dodgy smoke machine set the venue’s fire alarms off, deploying the local emergency services. Not everyone appreciated being evacuated, but we weren’t really too bothered… we were married! We’ve spent the last ten years transforming ourselves from hip happening young love, to broke bedraggled parents, swiping coins from the kids’ piggy banks so we can go for the very occasional half a lager shandy, ideally somewhere they can’t find us.
I’d love to tell you that ours is some sort of rags-to-riches story, but I’m actually still working on one half of that tale and unfortunately it just so happens to be the half where all the magic happens.
After closing my little cake shop, sulking quite a bit about it, driving the hubster mad and spending the last half of 2012 racking my brains for The Answer – y’know, to the question ‘What the hell am I supposed to be doing with my life?’ – there is now light on the horizon!
You see, an odd thing happened to me on Valentine’s Day this year. Nope, Big Jim did not produce the engagement ring he’d promised me over those pina coladas, but something almost as unbelievably far-fetched… I went and won a blinking competition on the telly!I know, that doesn’t happen right? Well, turns out, it does!And it even happens to people like me, buried away in the obscurity of housewifedom – someone unlikely, who is notoriously late all the time and disorganised, with badly-kempt hair and an emotionally volatile relationship with cake.
You might have caught it, on ITV’s LORRAINE show? (Always good to name-drop in capitals) Well if not, don’t worry. My Aunty Ros has been churning out complete sets of DVDs chronicling my time on the sofa with LORRAINE at an alarming rate, so she can sort you out.
Yep, somehow, I won. And it wasn’t just any competition, oh no gang, this was not simply a case of winning a suitcase full of cash (because who needs one of those right?) I won a publishing contract… with the mighty Mills & Boon no less! So, a few weeks after the unbelievable happened, I met with my lovely editor, The Don, ate something swanky (I think it was duck), spilled a little jus (it’s not called gravy in posh places) on the table linen and had a thoroughly marvellous time pretending to be an author!
And it felt good. Actually, it felt flipping wonderful.Then came the other bit. The actual author bit. Which wasn’t quite as straight forward as slurping G&Ts with The Don. Four weeks of claw-hands and newly arthritic fingers, and somehow I’d sent off my first attempt at a romance novel. And The Don said, ‘Yeah, not bad!’ And I thought to myself, 'Blimey, how many G&Ts does The Don get through? The Don is confident, this is amazing news!'More amazing, in fact, than JACKIE COLLINS emailing me after our lunch together in LA. (Oops, my finger slipped onto caps lock again.) More amazing than hanging out in the green room at the ITV studios. More amazing even than my name emerging from the Racy Reads envelope in the first place!
This is all amazing stuff alright, but the fact that I’ve actually written a book, which will have my name on it and is in the shops and everything, is by far the most amazing thing of all. What a feeling!I still can’t quite believe what’s happened to us, and am still prone to having regular fits of giggles to myself on the school run. Then behind that, there lives a little thread of panic, the understanding that I could’ve so easily missed the opportunity had Jim not have left the telly on that morning when the comp was advertised. Life’s funny like that.
The truth is, I’m a very lucky girl. We’ve got something to shoot for now, something exciting and daunting and wonderful. I’ve loved writing my book, even on the nights where the boys were waking up for the day before I’d shut my laptop off for the night. Now, it’s all done! And so comes the terrifying bit – letting it out into the world and seeing what happens.
And that’s pretty much where we’re at folks. What happens next is as much your guess as it is mine. Eeek!