In 2002, I received a letter that would change my life. It was a letter from a small independent publisher called Piatkus offering me a two-book publishing deal. I remember opening the envelope and then staring down at the words on the page and not really taking it in. It seemed so surreal that the thing I’d been working towards and hoping for had finally happened. What was even more spine tingling was that minutes before the postman rang, I’d been asking God/The Universe/Whoever was out there in the Great Beyond to give me a sign as to whether I should stop trying to be published or if I should keep going.
And there I was, in possession of my first book deal. I’ve had three separate deals since then, now with two additional publishers. I’ve had the type of success with my books I could never have dreamed of – I wanted to be published, I never thought my books would sell more than a million copies, would be translated into more than 29 languages, would get to number 2 in the bestseller charts, would be nominated for an award and would generate so many emails from readers telling me that I had touched their hearts.
I’m often asked what I love most about being a writer and it’s all of the above that I didn’t expect to happen and also walking into a bookshop or library and seeing a book that I’ve written, that bears my name on the shelves. I don’t know about other writers but I still get the same thrill from that as I did in 2003 when The Cupid Effect finally hit the shelves.
It’s been ten years, but I still love the process of writing, I adore getting inside my characters’ heads, and there is no other feeling to compare to writing the final words to a novel and knowing that story has been told. Being a writer is the best job in the world, it really is.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE LAST 10 YEARS
I sign my first publishing deal
The Cupid Effect is published
The Chocolate Run is published
I meet my current agent, Antony Harwood for the first time
I leave Piatkus
I meet Jo Dickinson at Time Warner for the first time and sign a new two-book deal with them.
I move to Australia
My Best Friend’s Girl (my third book) is published and reaches number 18 in the charts
My Best Friend’s Girl is selected for the Richard & Judy Summer Reads of 2006
My Best Friend’s Girl goes to number 2 in the charts
I finish Marshmallows For Breakfast while living in Australia.
I move back to the UK and decide to settle in Brighton.
Marshmallows For Breakfast is published and reaches number 2 in the charts.
I receive hundreds of emails from readers saying how much Marshmallows For Breakfast helped them.
The Cupid Effect is republished with a new cover.
The Chocolate Run is republished with a brand new cover and hits the top ten in the charts.
Goodnight, Beautiful is published and reaches number 3 in the charts.
The Cupid Effect is republished with another new cover.
The Ice Cream is published and reaches number 2 in the charts.
The Ice Cream Girls is nominated for the Popular Fiction category of the Galaxy National Book Awards. (I don’t win, but I get to walk the red carpet and have lots of photographers shouting my name. BRILLIANT!)
The Woman He Loved Before is published.
I sadly leave my publisher, Sphere.
I sign up with new publisher, Quercus.
I finish The Rose Petal Beach and patiently (ha-ha) await its publication.
THE LAST TEN YEARS IN COVERS