It’s always fun when translations drop through the door, especially when they’re in exciting languages you can’t understand. This is a Japanese version of A Sensible Wife, as I had to discover by looking on the inside page where it always gives the copyright information in English.
I might have been able to guess from the cover, which is not often the case, even in the original English versions! My working title for this story was The Frangipani Tree, and the eventual cover, as you can see, did indeed show a frangipani bush.
In fact, The Frangipani Tree was my title for my very first attempt at writing a romance. Somewhere in the depths of my cupboard, the manuscript still moulders. It received, quite rightly, a very prompt rejection but at least writing it proved that I could fill the requisite number of pages. I was house-sitting in Scotland one November and I banged out the story without it ever occurring to me that I had no idea how to write a book or structure a romance. I just sat down and wrote, which in retrospect wasn't a bad thing. If I'd done any research and discovered how hard it was to write a romance and how long it takes to make any money from the whole business, I would have given up before I started.
I’d had six books accepted before I dug out that first manuscript and thought about rewriting it. I was duly appalled when I read it again and in the end used only the Indonesian setting.
I’m reluctant now to reread A Sensible Wife in case I feel the same again now. I suspect the story will be as dated as the cover, which would be a shame because I remember it as one of my very favourite books. The plot was deeply contrived, but this was the first story I had really had fun with. Deborah was the first of what I think of as my ‘ordinary’ heroines: not particularly beautiful or slim or clever or good, but with an infectious zest for life that is just what the buttoned-up heroes they encounter need most.
For anyone interested, A Sensible Wife is still available as an e-book from Barnes & Noble and Harlequin – or in paperback if you read Japanese! – but if you give it a go, do remember that it’s nearly 20 years old and don’t hold that against it!