Anne Baker © 2014 All Rights Reserved

Anne Baker  Sunday Times Best

Sunday Times Best Selling AuthorS

I was about fourteen when an essay competition was set for the whole of the senior school. Essay writing was my one talent, so although there were many older pupils eligible to enter, I decided to have a go. I was thrilled and delighted when it was announced in morning assembly that I had won the prize. I imagined it would be something sumptuous and it made me feel I could achieve what I wanted.

I had to wait until prize day at the end of term to find out. It turned out to be ten shillings, or fifty pence in today’s money. It doesn’t sound much now but my pocket money was sixpence a week so ten shillings was relative riches. It was the first money I ever earned with my pen and it gave me such a dose of ambition I’ve never got over it. I made up my mind I’d be not only a writer but a novelist. Needless to say I hadn’t the slightest idea how to go about it, and in those days, when I needed the books on how to plot a novel, write believable conversation, or how to get a book published, they were not on the library shelves. I knew nobody who could give me that advice.

It was always my intention to get round to writing a book one day but life became too busy and interesting and I pushed all that onto the back burner. I spent years abroad enjoying life and it was only when I returned to England and set up home in Bath that my writing ambitions resurfaced. I wrote a book I thought would suit Mills & Boon, but after keeping it for 9 months they sent it back saying my writing style was too formal for them. I sent it to another publisher, Robert Hale, who accepted it on the spot and asked to see my next book. I was thrilled, I was published as a writer at last. But when I told them I had another book ready, they said they had stopped publishing light romances and didn’t want it. I was disheartened and gave up for another few years.

My husband had ambitions of his own and changed my life again. He wanted to be a farmer and bought a hill farm in North Wales where he proposed to keep sheep. Once there, all my writing ambitions came thundering back. Now I had plenty of time to do it. I wrote Like Father, Like Daughter which was published by Headline Publishing and I’ve been writing for them ever since.