By a strange coincidence, the
book deal that really started everything was the one Piatkus gave me for Good
Husband Material, which will be reprinted and ebooked on May 28th by my present
publisher, Avon HarperCollins. It wasn’t
the first book I’d had published, but it marked my move into romantic comedy.
How it came about went like this,
serendipity in action: I’d written satirical novels for years without getting
any accepted, with a slight diversion into a couple of Regency romances at one
point, which were taken by a library publisher.
On the strength of those I was
invited to join the Romantic Novelist’s Association, though I carried on
writing the satire. Then one day I went to an RNA seminar at Castle Howard,
where I heard the wonderful Diane Pearson (of Transworld), giving a talk that
was to change everything. She said that
she hated receiving first person manuscripts from new writers, because they
were usually awful.
As soon as I got home, I posted
her my latest satirical novel, called My Place in the Country, beginning the
accompanying letter with the words, ‘Dear Diane Pearson, here is my brilliant
first person novel….’
Diane loved it, but Transworld
didn’t take it – so instead, she helpfully introduced me to a top London agent,
Judith Murdoch, who read the novel and then called me down to London. Almost the first thing she said to me about
My Place in the Country was: ‘Trisha, this romantic comedy has no romance in it
at all!’ This was true, since it was a
satire, but once I realised that by simply adding another element to what I was
already writing, my books would not only be stronger but would fit into the
wide spectrum of romantic comedy, I went straight back home and did just that.
That rewrite eventually became
Good Husband Material and gained me my first contract with Gillian Green at
Piatkus, who went on to publish four of my books.
And here I am today, about
fourteen books down the line, including three consecutive Sunday Times top ten
bestsellers, with that very same first novel (long out of print) coming out in
a lovely new jacket, the best Easter Egg anyone could ever give me. I am still
with Judith Murdoch and often see Diane Pearson, who has been unfailingly
supportive and kind over all these years: the two people who have been the
authors of my success.