MARY LYONS, the Write Book Doctor, was born in Canada, moving to live permanently in Britain when she was six. Her life nowadays seems relatively peaceful – unlike her earlier years when she trained as an editor, reviewed books and worked as a radio announcer while living in a turbulent area of the Middle East. She subsequently became a best-selling, prize-winning author of some 50 books; frequently attending conferences, seminars and writing groups, in Europe and North America, promoting the need to help would-be authors to achieve success.
The above, dear reader, is all true but doesn’t tell the full story! Because, before taking up writing as a career, I unexpectedly found myself living on my own as a single parent of four children; needing to find ways of supporting my young family while working from home.
How about writing a book? How hard could it be? After all, I’d been a voracious reader all my life; had worked for the Cambridge University Press and I’d also read a magazine article about a glamorous woman who wrote Romantic Fiction, and who was clearly living in the lap of luxury (although, I now realise that her millionaire husband probably had something to do with that..!)
So, having no idea of the long odds against success, I quickly wrote a romantic story set in the Caribbean, and sent it off to Mills & Boon.
Luck! That’s what everyone needs at some point in their life. And I was amazingly lucky. Because, my typescript landed on the desk of a new editor, who took me under her wing. She taught me how to develop the rhythm and structure of a book; how to ‘draw’ interesting characters, and how to grab the reader’s attention from page one – and not to let it go. But I was also lucky enough to learn the best lesson of all. Which is, that it’s the ability to tell a totally absorbing story, containing believable characters with whom the reader can identify, which lies behind the success or failure of a book.