sheila Daglish AuthorI was born in Wimbledon, near the old football ground, and spent later years in Surrey, Cheltenham, Brighton and Devon, where I now share a sprawling riverside cottage and several acres of land with my son and his family. My days are busy because the house is being renovated and the grounds returned to their former beauty. Being a ‘hands on’ grandmother is rewarding and fun, but finding quiet time for writing is difficult against the current backdrop of scaffolding and building work.

I read from an early age, usually ‘unsuitable’ books from the bottom shelf of my grandmother’s small lending library. Work years included editorial work for trade publications,helping husband’s family create a holiday business in a near-derelict Devon manor, secretarial work for the Probation Service and, finally, university administration.

There, I loved the student contact, the laughter and the book-filled offices of academics who followed my early writing attempts with interest and encouragement. Inevitably, I was drawn to study and to achieve an Open University degree, where I developed a passion for history.

nurseryrhymeEventually  I realised that, after an often exhausting university day, it suited me best to write love stories comprising short scenes for a romantic mystery plot – which could be moulded together at the weekend. It’s always hard to keep research hours under control! My inspiration was originally, and remains, Mary Stewart, starting with ‘Airs above the Ground’ – those early books which integrated mystery, danger and love, with plots that were fast-moving and entertaining, set in vividly described locations. I’ve loved bringing these stories to life again, whether in E-mail books (Cloudberry) or in Large Print (Linford), but haven’t yet ventured into self-publishing, Watch this space!

As a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, I’ve gained enormous support and encouragement, particularly from established writers who are invariably generous with ideas and help. For me, ‘talking writing’ is not only enjoyable but necessary.

I once concluded a talk on creative writing by trailing ‘bunting’ around the hall. It comprised two hundred rejection slips! I don’t feel that anyone can teach perseverance but that, to me, is the only way forward.