Newsletter no 208, February 2024


. . . I managed at last to write a story good enough for publication. I’d spent the previous two years turning out story after story, hardly stopping to correct typos. Yes, I worked on a board in my daughter’s bedroom, on a manual typewriter! Eventually I slowed down enough to do some editing. I cut my current Ms in half and SUE FOR MERCY was accepted by Robert Hale, published in October l974.

I wrote six suspense/romances for Hale, learning my trade all the time. Then some historicals which were a lot of fun, and taught me to do the research before I started the story. My favourite? MY LORD, THE HERMIT for Transworld. Some of these early books are still available in audio.

Then there was a change of direction. For fourteen years I wrote children’s stories for Christian publishers. They’d say, we want a story for a 10 to 12 year old boy, or for a 6 to 8 year old girl. Up would come an idea, and I’d switch on my electric typewriter. SPARROW, for Scripture Union and THE BOY WHO WOULDN’T for Lion, went into several editions. Then came the narratives for pop-up books for Frances Lincoln, and some resource books for the Bible Reading Fellowship. All now out of print.

Another door opened when Harper/Collins Religious wanted some adult crime stories with a Christian background, which is how Ellie Quicke came into being. That part of Harper/Collins was sold to Zondervan, for whom I wrote a quartet of romances starting with EDEN HALL. Ellie moved to Severn House, for whom I am still writing today. Ellie’s MURDER AT THE ALTAR was the first of the series, soon to be joined by Bea Abbot in FALSE CHARITY – and an introduction to computers.

There are now 22 Ellies and l6 Beas available and I’m told the 17th Bea will be out this July. Meanwhile, No 9 in the Ellie Quicke series, MURDER IN THE PARK, came out on January 20th for Amazon, and I’m pleased to announce that Nos 10 to 22 have been contracted for as well. Hurray! See their advert here.

I’ve written all sorts of short stories along the way, first for the Methodist Recorder and then as attachments to my monthly newsletters. One of the early ones, INSURANCE, is to be found here.

Recently, a group of us Christian writers collaborated in producing a paperback about how we came to write our first book, and what happened to it. This was published on January lst under the title of MY FIRST NOVEL and if you’re interested you can find details here.

The Owlets are divided about taking Awol back into the fold. See them here.

A blessing on those who stay at home when they’re going down with a cold and don’t go out to spread it about.    

Veronica Heley