Janet Tanner

Janet Tanner

I've been writing for as long as I can remember - when I was at school, I wrote serials on exercise book paper which were passed around amongst my class mates. As my readership grew, I could no longer keep up with demand by writing when my homework was finished, so I began scribbling under the desk in lessons I didn't much enjoy - science, mainly. One day my chemistry master saw I wasn't paying attention to his lesson and called: 'Bring what you're doing here!' For some reason - perhaps I was secretly proud of my efforts - I took him the whole file of finished stories - probably nine or ten serials of a dozen parts each. Then I trembled, certain I would be expelled, as he spent the next half-hour reading them. When the lesson ended and he called me out I expected a severe reprimand at the very least, but instead he asked me: 'Did you really write these all my yourself?' I nodded. 'Yes.' 'Well,' he said, 'when you get your first novel published, don't forget your old chemistry master and send me a copy.' Unfortunately, by the time this happened, no-one knew what had happened to him, and I've never been able to do as he asked. So - if you're out there - step forward, Mr Lewis! Please! That was the end of my writing for a very long time. I concentrated on passing my GCEs, trained as a secretary, and eventually married a policeman - I was working at the time in the divisional police HQ. It was only when my first daughter was born and I was at home, looking after her, and VERY hard-up, that I decided to start writing again. I sold the fourth short story I wrote to a woman's magazine, and never looked back. Ten years of writing short stories and serials for IPC magazines, and I was ready for a full-length novel. And so The Black Mountains was born - based on the stories my father (who had been a carting boy in the Somerset Coalfield) had told me. These days I am also Amelia Carr. Dance With Wings was published last year by Headline, and A Song at Sunset followed this year. My third - A Woman of Secrets - is due out next year. And I have a confession to make - the real Amelia Carr, who has kindly allowed me to borrow her name, is actually my youngest granddaughter!

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