Yesterday on my personal blog I wrote a post about a beautiful card I’d received in the post
A lot of my books have dedications in them and over the years I’ve loved being able to write a few special words on the opening pages to mark the publication of this book and to mark a friendship or a memory along with it. So because of this card I went back to look at some of the dedications I’ve made and who I’ve made them to. There are quite a few years to go back, and quite a few dedications – my first book was published in 1984 – and this new title is my 65th novel published.
That first book – er – no, I didn’t dedicate that to anyone. You see, the truth was that I was still so nervous about things, and when I sent it in I didn’t really think it was going to be published- so . . no dedication. But I made up for that with my second book. There was really only one person I could dedicate that to – my husband who had supported and encouraged me through my trial and error period of trying to be a writer. It was just a simple dedication but it said it all – For Steve. That was Game of Hazard in 1986
The first books were obviously mainly dedicated to family. My son, my sisters, my in-laws - and then there was one really poignant dedication that came unexpectedly late. After The Chalk Line was accepted, it was just in time for me to be able to tell my mother about it. But in the exact same week that I learned the book was accepted, I also discovered my mother had liver cancer. I tried to write the second book for her but sadly both she and the book died in the following year. But because I’ve always believed that you never throw away anything you’ve written – it can always be rewritten – I went back to that ‘second’ book some years later. Chase the Dawn was finally accepted and published in 1988. And although she never saw it, this one was always my mother’s special book.
Through the years friends have had books dedicated to them and a couple of names have appeared more than once. Broken Silence was for a dear friend Pat who, apart from my husband had been the only person to know that I was even trying to write. Broken Silence was the reworked version of the second novel I’d ever tried submitting and Pat had encouraged me to submit that. Sadly, I dedicated a more recent book Olivero’s Outrageous Proposal to her because, like my mother, cancer took her too soon and I had to mark her memory with a special title. Broken Silence and Olivero mark most of the 35 years of our friendship.
Luckily the other friend to have two dedications – Noelle - is still with me and I am still able to provide her with the wedding present she and her husband asked for - a copy of everything I wrote. I don’t suppose they expected that wedding present would still be going all these years – and 65 volumes later! The Babe Magnet of course has had more dedications than anyone – some of the publication dates have fallen on special anniversaries which is great,.
Many of the dedications have been to special writing friends – fellow writers like Anne McAllister, Michelle Reid and Abby Green, Michelle Styles all of whom have contributed something to the books dedicated to them – even if, in the case of Abby, it was the inspirational effects of a glass of Kir Royal in a posh Dublin hotel! And going right back to 1987 there’s a mention of an elderly
Through my dedications I’ve been able to thank people who’ve helped me – with research for a particular topic or, as in the case of The Return of The Stranger – a thanks to the long ago (l-o-n-g ago) teacher who first introduced me to the wonderful book that is Wuthering Heights and so set me on a path that led to my own reworking of this iconic story, a copy of which is now in the Bronte Parsonage Museum permanent collection which is such a thrill. I’ve been able to acknowledge wonderful writers who have inspired me – Mary Stewart, Dorothy Dunnett and Marjorie Phillips who all helped to introduce me to the dark and ambiguous hero. There’s also Marguerite Lees who was the very first Mills and Boon author I
Lately a lot of the inscriptions in books have been the result of the teaching part of my life – classes at Caerleon or Fishguard (specially the Advanced Writing Romance Course in February) or writing retreats because talking about writing with interested and enthusiastic students always inspires and revise me. Kept For Her Baby marks a special (25th anniversary of Writers' Holiday - it's amazing to think that was 5 years ago!
Which brings me full circle to the dedication for Indebted to Moreno - which is dedicated to dear friends from Writers Holiday, Alison who is a poet and teacher and Malcolm who is always there to help if I need him as my tech support guy.
I haven’t been able to list all the people I’ve dedicated a book to - and some of the books were written at a time when I was writing so hard that there wasn’t always time to think of who to dedicate it to. But looking back at these inscriptions in each book that does have a dedication, I’ve loved revising memories, been so happy to think of who is still apart of my life – and, I’ll admit, I’ve shed a few tears over the ones who are no longer here.
I always believe that it’s important to tell the people that you love how you feel about them and I’ve stuck to that in my life. It’s one of the very special delights of being a published author that I have this special way of showing my feelings to people I care about - in a permanent way too. Even if I can’t see them any more, I hope they know what it meant.
All this talk of dedications and the look back at the past has reminded me of how important the dedications I’ve made were - and as I come to the end of my (I hope) 66th title – I’m already looking forward to dedicating it to another special someone - and another one after that . . .
My latest title - the 65th! is published at the end ofSeptember but the UK edition is on sale on the
M&B site right now.
Also out is a reprint of A Throne For The Taking - which was originally published in June 2013. This is reprinted in a 3 in 1 By Request - entitled Claiming His Princess which is out in August.