Valerie Parv didn't have your usual introduction to romance writing. While admitting to always having been a romantic who enjoyed reading romance novels, she didn't actually try to write one until she was well-established as an author of nonfiction and a newspaper columnist in Australia.It was a book on plumbing that finally turned the tide, after she had some 18 nonfiction books published under her own name. "Researching a book about plumbing was so unsatisfying that I decided it was time to try writing something I loved", she confesses.She says she is glad she didn't know how competitive and demanding it was going to be, otherwise I might not have been so confident. Luckily for romance readers, she wrote the kind of story she wanted to read, and that was almost 50 novels ago. Since then she has been a fan favorite with books under the Harlequin, Mills & Boon, and Silhouette imprints.Valerie is happily married to Paul, her husband of nearly 30 years and says they are as romantic toward each other as they were at the beginning. As a former crocodile-hunter-turned-cartoonist who has illustrated some of Valerie's nonfiction books, "Paul is perfect hero material", she says. After many years of living in Sydney, they recently moved to Australia's capital city, Canberra, where they are surrounded by over half a million trees, making it the most beautiful city in the country."I wanted the best of both worlds", says Valerie. "I love the cultural and intellectual stimulation of living in a city, but I also want the beauty and tranquillity of the country where I can imagine my love stories and bring them to life on paper".Canberra has a thriving writing community and Valerie is already well-known there, having lectured on romance writing at the University of Canberra and given workshops at the Canberra Writers' Center.With no children of her own, Valerie is happy to play surrogate mother to her two rent-a-kids, Amelia and Nicholas, and to her agent's delightful two-year-old twins, Kate and Eliza. "There I go again with the best of both worlds", she says. "I get all the fun of having children without any of the hard bits, a bit like the babies in my books!"