Like most authors, I've been fascinated by books since an early age.
Because my parents were working (yes, I had a very modern mummy, who worked even in the early 1950s) I stayed with my grandparents - and I just loved it. My grandfather, a pensioned army officer who had lived through two world wars, had lots of patience with his little granddaughter.
While grandma was doing the housework, he minded me. Because I did not like to sleep a lot during the day, he mostly put me on his lap while he was reading or arranging his stamps collection. His father was French-speaking, so grandfather spoke two languages fluently. He read both a Flemish and a French newspaper daily. But most of his books were in French.
One of my earlies memories is sitting on granddad's knee and listening to 'La Reine Margot' by Alexandre Dumas. I probably did not know French then, but I do remember what the story was about. Likewise with 'La Tulipe Noire' and all those other classics by Dumas.
When I was a little older (two and a half) my grandmother began to take me along when she went to the library. Yes, everyone read in our family. The only one who doesn't like books a lot is my sister, although now she also reads occasionally.
I remember entering that big old library for the first time. Oh my, all those books in their high cases! The librarian (pensioned by now) still tells how he could see I'd adore books.
No wonder I could read and write before going to primary school! By age ten, I had read all the books in the youth library ten times over and the lady who managed this library allowed me to pick books from the adult section. I began to read Agatha Christie then. Before that it had been Stevenson, Dickens, Dumas and all those other authors who wrote adventure and history.
Later on I discovered romance. These three genres are still my favorites. I still appreciate a well-written adventure novel (big fan of Clive Cussler) and a book that keeps me guessing who's done it (Harlan Coben is one of the best here). And of course I enjoy reading romances by authors like Sabrina Jeffries, Teresa Medeiros or Karen Hawkins.
I wrote my first story when I was six years young, in the first year of primary school. I was bored to death because I knew how to read and write, and make sums. I could learn nothing there, so I spent my time making up stories (I was a good kid, I did not want to disturb the class!). I even decorated those stories with little drawings, although I must say I am not very good at it.
As I grew up, the stories became longer and by my 16th birthday I had finished my first 'full' novel. I named it Maria Gonzalez and in reality it was the first draft of a novel with the same title published much later.
Still I did not do a lot with these writings. I wrote mostly to amuse myself. Only when I turned 50 I began to think about publication. I've been lucky to find a small publisher who believes in my work and I know they do a good job. They only started six years ago, but they have come far already.
Since then five books have been published, and I hope to get number six ready later this year.