Where has January gone? I had all these plans for the month, not exactly resolutions as I have learnt from experience that I never keep them, but definite plans to keep ahead of the game where my blog is concerned. And what happens? I never even got round to updating it, not even to tell you all about the story behind my January title, MR RIGHT ALL ALONG. So in an attempt to catch up with myself I am going back a month in time.

OK, so it’s the 1st of January and it’s also my birthday. I have eighteen family members coming for a buffet tea and I am up to my ears in cakes and sandwiches, sausage rolls and trifles etc. I am also packing my suitcase as I’m going away for a week’s holiday in the sun the following day so it’s a little bit hectic. I decide that I can’t possibly play on line today as I don’t have the time.

The next day, having enjoyed the party, I am finishing my packing. Then I have to take my dog to the kennels and pick up my friend , Pauline, as the taxi is going to collect us both from my house. We’re staying over at the airport as we hate getting up at the crack of dawn and racing down the motorway. Once we’ve checked in our luggage we have a relaxed dinner. Bliss!

The following day we arrive at our hotel in Tenerife. My daughter, s-i-l and grandchildren are on holiday with us (Pauline is the other grandma as well as a friend) so we all unpack then start to make the most of the glorious weather. After months of rain and gloom, it’s wonderful to see sunlight and blue sky.

A week later I’m home and have an end of month deadline to meet so it’s hands on keyboard and back to my book which I set in the desert. Having seen some sun, it’s a lot easier to picture myself there!

Three weeks later the book is finished and I am starting to think about all the things I should have done, like this blog. So here it is, late but still relevant I hope. The background to MR RIGHT ALL ALONG.

Before I decided to write full-time, I was a librarian. I worked for Liverpool City Libraries until I had my family and after that I went to work for one of the smaller local authorities. The branch library I worked in was close to a women’s refuge and sometimes women from there would come into the library to borrow books or simply to spend an hour or so quietly reading. One day, during a lull, I noticed a woman sitting at one of the tables, crying, and went over to see if she was all right. We got talking and she suddenly poured out her story about how she came to be living in the refuge.

She was a teacher and her husband was a solicitor. They had seemed ideally suited when they had married and she was extremely happy. However, as time passed her husband became increasingly controlling, refusing to allow her to go out with her friends, wanting to know where she was every minute of the day. She put up with it because she believed he loved her and that his jealousy was proof of that. And then the violence started. She lost count of the number of times she told her colleagues she’d walked into a door or a cupboard to explain the bruises. She knew they didn’t believe her but she was too embarrassed to admit the truth. It got so bad that in the end, she left and found sanctuary in the refuge. Why she had allowed it to happen to her, she had no idea, but she was ashamed of her weakness even though she knew it wasn’t her fault.

The phone rang just as she finished her tale and when I had finished speaking to the caller, she had gone. I never saw her again so have no idea how her story ended, whether she went back to her husband or if she managed to make the break permanent. However, what she had told me stayed with me. I knew I wanted to use it as the background for a book but finding the right characters proved difficult until one day, when I was out walking my dog, Eve and Ryan suddenly appeared in my head. I knew they would be perfect to handle such an emotive tale, and that Ryan was the ideal hero to help Eve recover from the horror of being involved in an abusive relationship. Writing this book was a labour of love, my tribute to all the women who put up with the most horrendous treatment at the hands of the men they love. If it helps even one of them to see that they deserve better  that would be wonderful.

MR RIGHT ALL ALONG is available in all the usual formats from www.millsandboon.co.uk as well as www.amazon.co.uk  I hope you enjoy it.

Now a photo taken on my holiday in the Canary Islands. Enjoy!

Isobel and Max...and friends!

Isobel and Max…and friends!