After the very sad news of my beloved aunt's death, a car that won't start and a boiler that decided it couldn't cope with -9 degrees and broke down yesterday, there is the reminder that life is never one thing. The Bookseller today has an announcement about the book I have been talking about for years and have finally got around to writing under my real name, Pamela Hartshorne:
Hitting 50 years and 50 books for Mills & Boon seemed like a turning point. Time, I told myself, for a challenge. Surely I could combine the story-telling skills I've acquired over 20 years of writing romance, with the research I did for my PhD on 16th-century York? I would have a go at a single title.
Challenge it certainly was, and there were times when I wished I'd never thought of stepping out of my comfort zone, but I submitted the first third of Candles in the Dark (working title) in September to my wonderful agent, Caroline Sheldon, and she rang me about three weeks ago to tell me of Macmillan's offer. Much boasting and celebration ensued, although I couldn't tell anyone officially until the Bookseller announcement. Now all the self-congratulation is done, I'm going to have to get down to some hard graft and actually finish the book. I am thrilled and terrified in equal measure!
My plan is to continue writing romance as Jessica Hart, although I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to fit it in with editing, teaching and a major history writing project. I suspect I'm going to have to take a leaf out of other hard-working authors' books and work on my time management skills in 2011.