Bios of contributing authors
Nicola Cornick studied history at London University and Ruskin College, Oxford, earning a distinction in her Masters degree with a dissertation on heroes and hero myths. She has a “dual life” as a writer of historical romance for Harlequin HQN Books and a historian working for the National Trust. A double nominee for both the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romance Prize and the Romance Writers of America RITA award, Nicola has been described by Publisher’s Weekly as “a rising star of the Regency genre.” Her most recent book, Unmasked, is available now from Harlequin Mills & Boon. Her website is http://www.nicolacornick.com/
Judy Astley started writing in 1990 following several years of working as a dressmaker, illustrator, painter and parent. Her sixteen novels, the most recent of which are Laying The Ghost and Other People¹s Husbands, are all published by Transworld/Black Swan. Judy¹s specialist areas, based on many years of hectic personal experience, are domestic disharmony and family chaos with a good mix of love-and-passion and plenty of humour thrown in. Judy has been a regular columnist on magazines and enjoys writing journalism pieces on just about any subject, usually from a fun viewpoint. She lives in London and Cornwall, loves plants, books, hot sunshine and rock music (all at once, preferably) and would happily claim that listening in to other people¹s conversations is both a top hobby and an absolute career-necessity.http://www.judyastley.com/
Benita Brown trained as an actress but after marriage and four children sheswitched to a writing career. At first she wrote for radio, then girls' and teenage story papers such as Mandy, Judy, Jackie and Blue Jeans. She wroteher first contemporary romantic novel as Clare Benedict when the youngest ofher children was poised to go to university. There were six more ClareBenedict novels before she changed genre and began to write under her ownname. The Benita Brown novels are regional sagas and the first nine are setin Tyneside in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. One of these,Fortune's Daughter, was long listed for the RNA Major Award. Her latestnovel, The Starlet, moves forward in time to 1946. It is the story of,Carol Marshall, a small town girl who wins a talent competition and begins acareer in films. http://www.benitabrown.com/
Jane Gordon-Cumming began writing when she was about seven and used to make up stories about the teachers at school to entertain her friends. Making people laugh has been her main object in life ever since. She has had many short stories in magazines and on the radio, as well as in the OxPens anthologies of stories set in Oxford. Her first novel, A Proper Family Christmas, was published in 2005, and she is working on A Proper Family Holiday, set in a Gothic Dower House in Gloucestershire. Jane is Deputy Treasurer of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Secretary of the Oxford Writers’ Group. She lives in Oxford and is married to Edwin Osborn. When not writing, she enjoys trips on Worcester, their diesel-electric narrow-boat, works as a volunteer in archaeology and sings in two choirs. You can read more about her on her web-site: http://www.janegordoncumming.co.uk/
Sue Moorcroft has managed to wriggle out of all ‘proper jobs’ and works full-time as a writer and a creative writing tutor. As well as her novels, Uphill All the Way and Family Matters, she has sold over 130 short stories to magazines in the UK, Norway, Australia, South Africa, Ireland and Sweden, three serials, the occasional article and has written courses for the London School of Journalism. She won the Katie Fforde Bursary Award in 2002. She likes reading, yoga and Pilates and scuba dives in a bimbly kind of way. She’s an armchair Formula 1 addict and hates anyone trying to talk to her when she’s watching a race. http://www.suemoorcroft.com/
Victoria Connelly grew up in Norfolk and now lives in London with her artist husband. She has written all her life and has had great success with her magical romances in Germany. The first - about a group of tiny guardian angels - has been made into a film. Her first novel published in the UK - Molly's Millions - is a romantic comedy about a lottery winner who gives it all away in true Robin Hood-style. She also writes for children. http://www.victoriaconnelly.com/
Amanda Grange was born in Yorkshire and spent her teenage years reading Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer whilst also finding time to study music at Nottingham University. She has had sixteen novels published including five Jane Austen retellings, which look at events from the heroes' points of view. Woman said of Mr Darcy's Diary: "Lots of fun, this is the tale behind the alpha male," whilst The Washington Post called Mr Knightley's Diary "affectionate". The Historical Novels Review made Captain Wentworth's Diary an Editors' Choice, remarking, "Amanda Grange has hit upon a winning formula." Austenblog declared that Colonel Brandon's Diary was "the best book yet in her series of heroes' diaries." Amanda Grange now lives in Cheshire. Visit her website at http://www.amandagrange.com/
Jean Buchanan, a Scot brought up in Wales, read English at Oxford then went into publishing. Marriage, motherhood and writing took over in the 1980s, though she still freelances for Oxford Dictionaries of Quotations -- her favourite project so far is Love Quotations (1999). Her husband is a theoretical physicist, their son is grown up and she is currently writing a romcom. Her writing career started with short stories for Woman’s Weekly and Bella, then a tv script for Jackanory Playhouse (BBC-1). She moved into sitcom with her tv series The Wild House (short-listed for a British Comedy Award) and Welcome to orty-fou, and she has also written for puppets. Her employment CV includes a brush with the civil service, selling gents’ ties in the poshest department store in Wales and organising international conferences. She can make fingermice and gets truculent about the quality of ice-cream. Her interests include early music, France, Scottish country dancing and ornithology. Her hobbies are croquet, Scrabble, and planning holidays in the South of France but ending up in Barnstaple.
Author of 45 published novels, Anna Jacobs freely confesses to an addiction to storytelling. Fortunately, she is not very domesticated, so has plenty of time to produce two to three novels a year, writing sagas for one publisher, modern women’s fiction for another. She is fascinated by women’s history and by the challenges women face in today’s changing world. Her books have been nominated several times for Australian Romantic Book of the Year, which she won in 2006, and she is among the top few most borrowed authors of adult fiction in English libraries. She's still in love with her own personal hero, and she and he live half the year in Australia, half in England. http://www.annajacobs.com/
Nell Dixon lives in the Black Country with her husband, three daughters, a tank of tropical fish, a cactus called Spike and the remains of her sanity. She writes warm-hearted contemporary romance for Little Black Dress and Samhain Publishing. Her recent titles include Things to Do, Blue Remembered Heels and Animal Instincts. She was the 2007 winner of the RNA Romance Prize with Marrying Max. You can find out more by visiting her website at http://www.nelldixon.com/
Award winning author, Liz Fielding, was born with itchy feet. She took herself off to Africa at the age of 20, met her husband in Zambia, gave birth to her children on different continents and finally came to earth in a tiny village in West Wales. With more than 50 books in print she has been nominated for numerous awards including the Rita®, which she has won twice, and the Romantic Novelists' Association Romance Prize, which she won in 2005 with A Family of Her Own. In 2008 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Love & Laughter from Romantic Times. Recent titles include Secret Baby, Surprise Parents and Christmas Angel for the Billionaire. For more details visit her webpage at http://www.lizfielding.com/ (122)
Anita Burgh was born in Kent. She began to write in her late forties and was first published at the age of 50. She has subsequently had 23 novels published, numerous articles and short stories. Her themes are those of class, rejection and wealth. She writes books set in the modern world but also historical novels set in Victorian and Edwardian times – her latest being The Cresswell Inheritance trilogy. She has been a member of the RNA for many years, was a committee member and has been short-listed for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year award. Now in her 70s, she enjoys teaching and mentoring others who are, as yet, unpublished. She continues to write novels, proving that authors never retire. http://www.anitaburgh.com/
Joanna Maitland is a Scot living in England, just a few miles from the Welsh border. She loves having access to the history of three countries as background for the Regency historical romances she writes for Harlequin Mills & Boon®. There are eleven so far, taking the reader to Regency England and Scotland, and to glittering European cities like Paris and St Petersburg.
The Aikenhead Honours, Joanna’s recent trilogy, features the intrigues of the Russian Emperor’s visit to London in 1814 (His Cavalry Lady), spies at the Congress of Vienna (His Reluctant Mistress), and the hazards of the Hundred Days in France, prior to the battle of Waterloo in 1815 (His Forbidden Liaison). There’s also a follow-up Harlequin® e-book, His Silken Seduction. Details of Joanna’s books are available on her website at http://www.joannamaitland.com/
Adele Parks was born in Teesside, NE England. She studied English Language and Literature, at Leicester University. She published her first novel, Playing Away, in 2000; that year the Evening Standard identified Adele as one of London’s ‘Twenty Faces to Watch.’ Indeed Playing Away was the debut bestseller of 2000.
Prolific, Adele has published nine novels in nine years, including Game Over, Tell Me Something and Love Lies, all nine of her novels have been bestsellers. She’s sold over a million copies of her work in the UK but also sells throughout the world. Two of her novels (Husbands and Still Thinking of You) are currently being developed as movie scripts. Young Wives’ Tales was short listed for the Romantic Novelist Association Award 2008. She has written numerous articles and short stories for many magazines and newspapers and often appears on radio and TV talking about her work.
Since 2006 Adele has been an official spokeswoman for World Book Day and wrote a Quick Read, Happy Families as part of the celebrations of World Book Day, 2008.
Adele has spent her adult life in Italy, Botswana and London, up until two years ago when she moved to Guildford, where she now lives with her husband and son.
To find out more about Adele visit http://www.adeleparks.com/
Rita Bradshaw was born in Northamptonshire, where she still lives today. At the age of sixteen she met her husband and they have two daughters, a son and three grandchildren, plus the most recent addition to the family – a gorgeous little puppy who’s the latest in a long line of beloved dogs. Twenty years ago, Rita’s first attempt at a novel was accepted for publication by Mills & Boon under her pseudonym, Helen Brooks, and her 57th novel, The Boss’s inexperienced Secretary, was published in July 09, with a seasonal-themed story arriving on the shelves in November, in time for Christmas. Rita also writes gritty north-east sagas for Headline Publishing under her own name. Her 13th paperback, Gilding the Lily, was published in the summer and Born to Trouble will be available in January 2010.
An avid reader from an early age, Elizabeth Bailey grew up in colonial Africa under unconventional parentage and with theatre in her blood. Back in England, she trod the boards until discovering her true métier as a writer in her thirties, when she fulfilled an early addiction to Heyer by launching into historical romance. Eight years and eight books later, Elizabeth joined the Harlequin Mills & Boon stable, fuelling her writing with a secondary career teaching and directing drama. With 18 historicals published, she is also now widening her scope with modern mainstream novels which, like the story in this anthology, explore the world of the unexplained. Further information at http://www.elizabethbaileybooks.com/
Annie Murray was a ‘childhood writer.’ Her career was helped a great deal by belonging to Tindal Street Fiction Group in Birmingham and by winning the SHE/Granada TV Short Story Competition in 1991. She has published short stories in a number of anthologies as well as SHE magazine. Her first regional saga, Birmingham Rose appeared in 1995 and reached the Times bestseller list. She has since published more than a dozen others, including the ‘Cadbury books,’ Chocolate Girls and The Bells of Bournville Green, Family of Women and her latest, A Hopscotch Summer. Annie has four children and lives near Reading. You can find more at http://www.anniemurray.co.uk/
Jane Wenham-Jones is the author of three novels and a non-fiction book – Wannabe a Writer? – a humorous look at the trials and tribulations of becoming a scribe. She has also contributed to several short story anthologies and two cookery books, the latter being a particular achievement since she barely knows where the kitchen is. As a freelance journalist, she has had numerous short stories and articles published in women’s magazines and the national press and is the agony aunt for Writing Magazine. Jane has appeared on a variety of TV shows – from Ready, Steady, Cook to The Politics Show - and many radio programmes and is regularly booked as an after-dinner speaker. http://www.janewenham-jones.com/
Rosie Harris was born in Cardiff and for several years worked in the City Hall. Her husband, Ken, was from Wallasey and after they married they lived on Merseyside for many years.
She has been writing since the 1950’s. In the 1960’s she ran her own agency, Regional Feature Service, writing articles for most of the provincial newspapers.
During the 70’s she became Editorial Controller for a non-fiction house.
In the 1980’s, after publishing a number of non-fiction titles she turned to fiction and during the 1980/90’s had a number of short stories published as well as five books by Sphere under the name Marion Harris.
Since 2002 she has had some 20 books published by Heinemann/Arrow. She sets her books in the 20’s because she has a great admiration for the women who were wives and mothers in those days. They had none of the current time-saving equipment – no washing machines or vacuum cleaners, no instant electric fires or cookers, and certainly no Internet. Their days were long and arduous and often they had to manage on very little money.
In 2005 she was one of the judges when Arrow and Asda collaborated in a major national competition to find the next big saga writer.
Her most recent titles are Love Changes Everything and The Quality of Love. The next, Whispers of Love, will be published in March 2010. http://www.rosiebooks.co.uk/
Trisha Ashley was born in St Helens, Lancashire, and now lives in the beautiful surroundings of North Wales. She is the author of three historical novels and nine contemporary ones, the latest of which is Wedding Tiers, published by Avon, Harper Collins, though she is happy to say that her own wedding day was a bit less wacky than some of the ceremonies in this book… She has a website at http://www.trishaashley.com/ where she would love you to sign up for her newsletter, Skint Old Northern Woman, so you can get all the news from Trishaworld on a regular basis.
Carole Matthews is an international bestselling author of hugely successful romantic comedy novels. Published in twenty-four countries, her unique sense of humour has won her legions of fans and critical acclaim all over the world.
In the UK, her books include Let’s Meet on Platform 8, A Whiff of Scandal, More To Life Than This, For Better, For Worse, The Sweetest Taboo, With or Without You. Latest bestsellers include the hilariously funny novels The Chocolate Lovers’ Club, The Chocolate Lovers’ Diet, It’s A Kind of Magic and All You Need is Love. A Minor Indiscretion and A Compromising Position both reached the Top 5 in the Sunday Times bestseller chart in the UK. You Drive Me Crazy reached number 8 in the original fiction charts. Welcome To The Real World was short-listed for Romantic Novel of the Year. The Difference A Day Makes and That Loving Feeling are out now.
In the USA, For Better, For Worse was selected by one of America’s top TV books clubs – Reading with Ripa on LIVE with Regis and Kelly – as their book of the month. As a result it went straight into the USA Today and New York Times lists. The rights for A Minor Indiscretion and For Better, For Worse have been sold to Hollywood.
Carole recently co-edited two new editions of the hugely popular charity series called Girls' Night Out - one for the USA and one for Canada. All proceeds will go to War Child.
Carole has presented on television and is a regular radio guest. When she’s not writing novels, television or film scripts she manages to find time to trek in the Himalayas, rollerblade in Central Park, take tea in China and snooze in her garden shed in Milton Keynes.
For regular news, competitions and short stories go to http://www.carolematthews.com/
or if you want to chat to Carole you’ll find her on Facebook and Myspace.
Louise Allen has written thirty historical romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon, all but one set in the Regency period. She began while working as a property manager but has now been writing full time for two years.
Her latest book, The Piratical Miss Ravenhurst (September 2009), completes her six-part series, Those Scandalous Ravenhursts, and in 2010 she is contributing two stories to an eight-part Regency continuity published by Harlequin Mills & Boon.
She has a large collection of Regency fashion prints and loves researching, whether it is on the battlefield at Waterloo or walking through London guided by an 1814 map.
Her aim is to create heroes and heroines who will reach out to a 21st century reader while staying true to their Regency world. Passion… from the past into the present. http://www.louiseallenregency.co.uk/
Sue Gedge taught Drama in London schools for twenty years before taking retirement in order to concentrate on writing. Her short stories have been published in All Hallows, Supernatural Tales and The Silent Companion, and her play, A Present from Cookham, about the painter Stanley Spencer, was performed at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadler’s Wells.
Sue studied Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, London and has appeared twice at the live reading event, Writloud, at RADA. Her first novel, a romance with a dark supernatural twist, The Practical Woman’s Guide to Living With the Undead, can be read on the Harper Collins website http://www.authonomy.com/.
USA Today Best-selling author Rosemary Laurey is an ex-pat Brit, retired special education teacher and grandmother who now lives in Ohio and has a wonderful time writing and letting her imagination run riot. A split personality author, Rosemary also writes erotica as Madeleine Oh and fantasy as Georgia Evans. Her most recent book is Bloody Right, August 2009 (Georgia Evans). Please visit her websites: http://www.brytewood.co.uk/, http://www.rosemarylaurey.com/ and http://www.madeleineoh.com/
Charlotte Betts discovered a passion for writing after her five children had grown up and left her in peace. Demanding careers in hotel design and property force her to be inventive in finding time to write but she has achieved seven novels in eight years. One of her short stories was published in Scribble and others short-listed by Writers’ News and Real Writers’. She has won first prize in five short story competitions and wrote a regular column on interior design for The Maidenhead Advertiser for two years. She is a member of WordWatchers http://www.wordwatchers.net/ and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
Elizabeth Chadwick's first venture into fiction was telling herself a story about fairies when she was three years old. Inspired by a programme about knights in armour, she wrote her first novel in her teens. Her work was spotted by leading literary agent Carole Blake and Elizabeth's first published novel The Wild Hunt won a Betty Trask Award. Four of her novels have been short listed for the RNA major award. She is translated into sixteen languages. Elizabeth his renown for her ability to bring the past to life and her biographical novels set in the Middle Ages have won extensive acclaim. The Scarlet Lion was nominated by the Historical Novel Society as one of the landmark historical novels of the decade. Website http://www.elizabethchadwick.com/
Katie Fforde is the chairman of the Romantic Novelists’ Association in this, its 50th Anniversary year.
She lives in the West Country with her husband and some of her three children. She writes novels that are about real women living contemporary, although not always conventional, lives. The love story is a major part of each book and she also likes to explore a new theme or profession every time. Her books have been translated into several different languages. Her most recent novels, Going Dutch and Wedding Season, reached the Sunday Times Bestseller list and her new novel, Love Letters came out in June. She is currently writing her sixteenth novel, part of which is set in America. http://www.katiefforde.com/
Sophie King has written five novels, all of which are published by Hodder & Stoughton. They include the best-selling The School Run, The Supper Club and her latest novel The Wedding party. All her novels are aimed at women (and some men) from teens to grannies. She specialises in dysfunctional families – both in practice and on paper - but her page-turning novels will make you laugh as well as cry. Sophie also teaches creative writing at Oxford University and is the author of How to Write Short Stories for Magazines and Get Published (How To Books). Her real name is Jane Bidder. http://www.sophieking.info/.
A maths graduate, former computer programmer and playgroup leader, Jan Jones writes contemporary romantic comedy, Regency romances, short stories and poems. She won the RNA’s Joan Hessayon Award in 2005 with her debut novel Stage by Stage which came about through her experience of chaperoning her daughter during a touring production of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. When in Georgette Heyer territory, she uses her fascination with history to write a series of Newmarket Regencies (Fair Deception, Fortunate Wager etc) set 200 years ago in her nearest town. As with all writers, elements of her life also inspire her many short stories for women’s magazines (one of which won the RNA Elizabeth Goudge award in 2002). This could be why she gets funny looks whenever she takes out her notebook during conversations in the bar.Jan organises RNA parties and the annual conference and is firmly of the opinion that the RNA is the friendliest, most supportive organisation around.Jan’s website is at http://www.jan-jones.co.uk/
Australian by birth, Janet Gover has travelled around the world as a journalist and broadcast consultant. Her work has appeared on major national and international television networks in Australia, Asia and the UK. Her first fiction was published in 2002. Since then, her short stories have regularly appeared in women's magazines in the UK and Australia. "Waiting for A Wish" won the RNA's Elizabeth Goudge Trophy in 2007. Janet is a graduate of the RNA's New Writers' Scheme. Her first novel, The Farmer Needs A Wife, was published in January 2009 by Little Black Dress, her second in December 2009. Read more about Janet and her work at http://www.janetgover.com/ .
Maureen Lee was born in Bootle near Liverpool where her novels are set. She has been married to a lovely chap called Richard for an incredibly long time and they have three very grown up sons. She has written twenty novels, seventeen of them sagas. In 2000, Dancing in the Dark won the romantic novel of the year award; she has been short listed and long listed for two other books. For the record, Maureen hates housework, is obsessed with anything to do with politics, loves shopping for clothes and lunching with friends. You can read about Maureen and her books on http://www.maureenlee.co.uk/
It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good and for Linda Mitchelmore it was losing her hearing to a viral infection that prompted her to write. She signed up to a postal short story writing course with Writing Magazine and has now had some 150 short stories and serials published in national magazines in the UK, Sweden, South Africa and Australia.
For Linda, it has come full circle since she signed up for that short story writing course as she is now a preliminary judge for Writing Magazine competitions.
Linda has been a member of the RNA's New Writers' Scheme for far too long, but alas she has not made it as a novelist - yet!
Christina Jones has been writing all her life. Since having her first story published at 14 she has had more than 2,000 short stories published in magazines around the world. She also writes romantic comedy novels and has recently won the Pure Passion Award for Love Potions and the Melissa Nathan Comedy Romance Award for Heaven Sent.
She lives in rural Oxfordshire with her husband, daughter and a houseful of much-loved rescued cats, works as a part-time barmaid – for the company (writing’s a lonely business!) and the people-watching inspiration – and never has her head out of a book – preferably a crime novel. Her favourite authors are Peter Robinson and MC Beaton (alive) and Dickens and Agatha Christie (dead).
Christina loves animals, fairgrounds, football, steam trains, flying, talking and listening, music, the sea, eating and Coronation Street.
Before becoming a Proper Writer, she had 27 jobs (ranging from nightclub dancer to auxiliary nurse via band booker and doughnut maker) and was sacked from 19 of them for writing when she should have been working…
Christina’s lifelong ambition is to own a model railway.
Find out more about Christina and her books at her website: http://www.christinajones.co.uk/
A first prophetic feature on the coming IT revolution was published by Geoffrey Harfield in the early 1960s. During a career in photography and advertising in the 70s he wrote PR and sales copy and began writing historical fiction 18 years ago. His preferred period is 1860 to 1945.
Geoffrey has reviewed plays and shows for local theatre and completed four or five historical saga romances with characters in the conflict of the Russian revolution, WW2 and the IRA troubles. Ten years ago he wrote an Irish novel with a peace prize-winning heroine, who moved to the USA, and a lusty black president. He now writes fiction each day and reviews books for the Historical Novel Society.
As a visual thinker, his books, often set against a background of travel, photography, arts, landscape, cities, opera and music, feature his fascination with human relationships. His characters love but, like all humans, are complex and so, in his stories, Geoffrey covers all aspects of human life from noble to
evil. However, thinking deeply on philosophy, war and religion, he believes in the essential goodness of humanity.
Born and educated in the Potteries in Staffordshire, Margaret Kaine now lives in Leicester. Her short stories have been published widely in women’s magazines in the UK, Australia, Norway, South Africa and Ireland. Ring of Clay, her debut novel, won both the RNA’s New Writer’s Award in 2002 and the Society of Authors’ Sagittarius Prize in 2003. She has now published six romantic sagas about life in the Potteries between the 50’s and 70’s; her latest novel, Ribbon of Moonlight is also set partly in Paris. Translations include German and French and all details of her books can be found on her website - http://www.margaretkaine.com/
Theresa Howes started life as an actress, working in all aspects of theatre from washing showgirls’ tights and selling ice creams to playing a variety of roles, including overgrown schoolgirls and nineteenth century tragic heroines. Those periods euphemistically known as ‘resting’ gave her the time to start on that first opening chapter and since then, she has never looked back. Although yet to have a novel published, she has been joint runner up of The Harry Bowling Prize, short listed in a Write a Bestseller competition run by Channel 5 and Poolbeg, and was long listed for Lit Idol.
She has won many short story competitions and had a number of stories published in a popular weekly magazine. Her ambition is to write novels and short stories that women will want to read, and to write them well.
To see more of Theresa’s work, please visit her web site at: http://www.theresahowes.co.uk/
Gill Sanderson is really Roger Sanderson, an ex-college lecturer who used to teach English Literature on weekdays and mountaineering at weekends. He was a Committee member of the RNA for many years and still helps with the organisation of the annual Conference. He wrote the scripts for over eighty Commando Comics before starting to write Medical Romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon. Background material comes from three of his children; Mark is a Consultant Oncologist, Helen a Midwife, Adam a Prescribing Nurse. He has just finished his latest Romance – Christmas at Rivercut Valley - and has written over 40 other books for them. On occasion he still teaches the odd seminar on how to write Romantic fiction. www.millsandboon.co.uk/authors/GillSanderson
Debby Holt lives with her husband in Bath. She started writing short stories when her five children were small. She wrote her first novel, The Ex-Wife’s Survival Guide in 2006. Since then, she has written three more: Annie May’s Black Book, The Trouble with Marriage and Love Affairs for Grown-Ups. Having been a spectacularly useless teacher in the past, she is fully aware of how lucky she is to be doing something she loves. She can be reached at her website, http://www.debbyholt.co.uk/
When Sophie Weston was born, her father took one look and said, 'Good grief, she's cross-eyed and ginger.' He got away with it because he'd braved ice and snow to get there.
This family legend taught her three things: life is dramatic (Sophie has been a bank regulator and consultant to the IMF); nature is dangerous (birdwatchers, crocodiles); the world is unfair (cleverclogs who deserve a poke in the eye won't get it if they're funny). Her novels for Harlequin Mills & Boon, like The Englishman’s Bride and In the Arms of the Sheikh, reflect these enduring truths, as well as her travels from Brisbane to Brazil, by way of the Arabian Gulf, and her long term love affair with London. Her love of language broke out in Getting the Point, a panic-free guide to punctuation for adults, co-authored by her alter ego, Jenny Haddon. http://www.sophieweston.net/
Katie Flynn was born in Norwich and attended Norwich High School, where she was extremely happy and extremely undistinguished. Published at the tender age of eight, in Enid Blyton's Sunny Stories, she joined a Writers’ Circle as an adult, publishing short stories, articles, etc; only turning to novels in 1971 because the postal strike cut off her main source of income!
At first she wrote under several different names – Saxton, Turner, Balmain – but her Katie Flynn books were a delight to write and proved far more popular than she had dreamed. She has now published nearly ninety novels, twenty-seven of which are Flynns. Her most recent titles are: A Mother’s Hope and In Time for Christmas. http://www.katieflynn.com/
Margaret James has been a member of the RNA for 22 years. She has written thirteen published novels, many short stories, and she also teaches creative writing for the London School of Journalism. Margaret's first novel was A Touch of Earth, a family saga set in Herefordshire where she was born and grew up, and her most recent is The Penny Bangle, set in Dorset and published by Robert Hale. But her personal favourite among her novels is Elegy for a Queen, published by Solidus, a small independent which has a varied and fascinating list. Margaret now lives in Devon, which she loves, and has a website at http://www.margaretjames.com/.
Eileen Ramsay shares a birthday with Jane Austen and with Beethoven but had heard of neither when she wrote her first stories. She was seven. Educated in Scotland and the United States, she taught in both countries - often about Austen or Beethoven. Her writing for children and adults has won several awards, including the Constable and Pitlochry trophies from the Scottish Association of Writers and the RNA's Elizabeth Goudge Award. In 2004 she was short listed for the Romantic Novel of the Year award.
She is currently writing her - she thinks - twentieth novel.
Diane Pearson has been both editor and author for most of her working life. Her first novel was published in 1967 while she was working as a full-time book editor at Transworld Publishers – a post she held for 38 years. Two of her major novels, Csardas and The Summer of the Barshinskeys, became bestsellers both in the UK and in America. She has had many short stories published, both science fiction and romantic, and her latest novel was Voices of Summer, set in the world of opera and operetta, of which she is an ardent fan.
In the 1993 British Book Awards she was voted Editor of the Year.
Diane has been the president of the RNA for many years and has given time and commitment above and beyond the call of duty. The Association thanks her.