The evening got off to a great start as Mr Turner himself was topping the bill next door and no, before you ask, that is not my cat, Storm, he is holding. However, should you ask her, she will say it definitely is...
|Mr T and Storm double|
The panel conversation was free flowing and lively, thanks to some clever questioning from Alison May and I very much enjoyed taking part. On the journey home however, I began running through the inevitable 'I wish I'd said this' and 'I really should have mentioned that' inner monologue and thought I'd best write at least some of it down.
|Jules Wake, Katie Fforde, Yours truly & Alison May|
One of the things I would have liked to have mentioned, was why I decided out of all the genres it was the Happy Ever After, Feel Good Fiction, Commercial Fiction - call it what you will - which appealed to me more than any other.
I first began reading books which fell into these categories during a difficult time in my life. My family and I had had a couple of house moves and job changes in a very short space of time, we were living somewhere new with no family close by and I had two young children to look after as well as a husband who was coming to terms with a brain tumour diagnosis.
Those books which promised the happy ever after (HEA) shone out as beacons of hope and they offered a temporary sanctuary from the upheaval and trauma going on around me. They were my respite, if only for a few minutes every day and I lived many different lives and visited many different places through them.
So, when I decided to take my writing ambitions seriously the HEA felt like the logical genre for me. If I could write books like those which had helped me cope during the dark days, which made my readers feel the same way Jill Mansell, Katie Fforde, Trisha Ashley and Milly Johnson had made me feel, then I would have really achieved something.
Not only did I want my characters to claim their HEA through their relationships with a significant other but I wanted them to be stretched, challenged and fulfilled in their own lives. That may be through a change of career, a business set up, a major house move or a decision to follow their hearts rather than someone else's ideas of what would be best for them and have I succeeded? Have I given my readers the same sanctuary my favourite authors offered me?
I think so...
This tweet was logged on my phone when I left London after the event and headed back to my little patch of Norfolk. If it isn't reason enough to fall (and keep falling) in love with the HEA then I don't know what is!