Guest blogger: Anna Jacobs
I was a reader first—weren’t we all? As a child, I went to the library three times a week because they’d only let you take four books out at a time. I soaked up Enid Blyton books, especially her ‘adventure’ series, and read just about anything else, because there was only the children’s library. We didn’t have many books at home.
Aged ten, I graduated to the adults’ library because I’d read all the fiction in the children’s library. I also realised that someone had to be writing the books I loved reading, and decided I wanted to do that when I grew up.
It was Georgette Heyer who got me started properly. She went and died on me. My favourite author by far. How dare she? How could I manage without her books? I’d bought them as new hardbacks all through my teens and onwards, when I couldn’t really afford it, only I had to have them.
I’ve still got them. I still read them. And now my husband has started reading them too. Well, he couldn’t bear to sit near me and hear me chuckle over Friday’s Child without finding out what was so good about it.
The first book I tried to write was a regency romance, like Heyer’s. I spent two years on it, and it must have had six different endings and twenty different middles during those years. As they say, it was my ‘learning piece’. I also found my own voice as a storyteller, instead of borrowing Heyer’s.
I went on to write other sorts of books, historical sagas, historical romances not in the Heyer style, and stacked up four more complete manuscripts and quite a few partials. Then I took long service leave and decided just to enjoy myself, so wrote another regency romance.
Persons of Rank burned out of me white hot, and I had a wonderful time writing it. Then I entered it for a competition—and out of 800 entries, I came in the top three. They flew me to Melbourne, put me up at a posh hotel in a suite—I’d never even been in a hotel suite till then, and I found I’d come second, winning $10,000 and publication.
As it turned out, it wasn’t a take-off book. Management changed at the publisher, the new ones didn’t like regency romances and I had to look elsewhere. I found an English agent and discovered I’d started writing sagas. I didn’t know the label, I just liked that sort of story.
So … reading led me into writing, and as of this month I’ve had 53 novels published. I’d never have believed it possible when I started.
And you know what? I’m still reading at a rate of three books a week, because stories feed my imagination—and anyway, I’m a reader as well as a writer. It’s a great life.
My latest historical novel Destiny’s Path came out this month, set in England, Ireland and Australia in the 1860s. My latest modern novel Moving On also came out this month. You can read about them on my website by clicking the links above.
If you want to try my earlier books, historical romances by Anna Jacobs and fantasy novels by Shannah Jay, they’re for sale as ebooks on my website or on Amazon, or various other places on the Internet. Persons of Rank, my prize-winning regency, seems to be the bestselling of them all, closely followed by Mistress of Marymoor.
Happy reading! You never know where it’ll lead you.
Anna is giving away a copy of Farewell to Lancashire, the first book in the Swan River saga, to one reader who leaves a comment.
The competition has now closed. The winner was Barbara.