Most of the time I’m not quite sure who I am. I’ve been Faye Wildman, Jillian Fayre, Marilyn Brian, Jillian James and I also write under my own name. However, I never forget my roots in the writing business.
My life began in a small town not far from London in Surrey, England, where I grew up reading books. Lots of books. If I wasn’t in one of the two libraries in my town, I was in the local bookstore. When I was about twelve, each Wednesday, I used to cycle to the newsagents to pick up a new interest in reading – romance comics with names like Marilyn and Romeo. At the time I had no idea that I was sowing the seeds for my career.
Then I moved with my family to Winnipeg, Canada. If you wait for winter to be over in Winnipeg, you waste half your life, so I found something new to read. Romance novels. I became an avid reader of romances. I read them by the dozen. But I also wrote stories inserting extra romance and happy endings into my favorite TV programs. I don’t know if any of my teachers ever knew that I was busily scrawling the end at the bottom of my latest story when the bell rang to signify it was time for the hero and heroine to ride off into the sunset.
I became a secretary because I wanted to learn to type and I love paper – there must be something appealing about blank paper for writers! I was working at The Winnipeg Free Press when I met my husband, Jim. We lived in Winnipeg and Thunder Bay, until I took my husband to live in my hometown of Walton-on-Thames, in England. I didn’t sell anything in England but I got some encouraging rejections to my short stories and first two romance novels. We returned to Canada to settle in Ontario and I really got the bug to sell my writing. I cut my work day out of the house down to a morning only job, attended some creative writing workshops, met some other writers, and aimed my books and short stories at either the literary market or the romance market. While everyone else was washing their cars and barbecuing on Sundays in the sunshine, I wrote. Then one day I saw an advertisement for Simon & Schuster’s new line of Silhouette Books. I wrote to them and an editor wrote back and told me to submit something. I submitted two manuscripts and sold them. A career was launched.