I was born in a Lancashire cotton mill town where, for the lack of countryside, my playing fields were the slag heaps of a local colliery. As was the way for lots of families in the mill towns of those days, money was scarce, but in mine there was no shortage of love and laughter. Once every year, the Sunday School of the Methodist Chuch that my family belonged to would take all us children on a picnic to a place called Marple Bridge, in the nearby county of Cheshire. It was a wonderful place with hills and fields and a beautiful river called the Goyt. For a few hours every year, I was in paradise. Now, many years later, I rejoice in the privilege of residing in that very same place with my three sons and their families living close by. Marple Bridge is a village with the same kind of caring community that I describe in my books and it attracts those who love the countryside the same now as it did all those years ago, when the children from the back streets of a mill town piled off their coach and found themselves in the kind of place they hadn't known existed.I didn't begin writing until I turned sixty, due to family commitments, but there were two things that eventually encouraged me to take up the pleasurable pastime of creating the romantic novel. The first was the persuasions of my sister, who is an established author of many years, and the second was because I have always been fascinated by words, and arranging them to describe and fashion into something that others will want to read gives one a wonderfully satisfying feeling that is not lacking in humility.To all my readers: I thank you for reading my books, without you I would be lost.