ABOUT ME

I was born, and grew up, in Romford, Essex, and now live near Chelmsford with my husband of very many years ... we've actually been together since we were seventeen. We 're also part-time residents in a lovely part of Torquay, South Devon. We have three married daughters and six beautiful grandchildren. I never imagined myself as a grandmother until it happened, but now it's impossible to think of a life without these little ones as part of our family as well as their parents. 

 

Before my retirement, I spent most of my working life as a medical secretary, fitting in my writing during evenings and weekends. But now I'm retired, I have the freedom to write full time or part time depending on other plans and commitments. When I'm not working on my writing, I spend time with family and friends, and enjoy travel, reading, photography, walking and swimming.

 

Sheila Norton

 

I'm a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists' Association. It's through the RNA that I've made lots of lovely writing friends, especially in my local Essex chapter.

Beginnings

 

I always wanted to be a writer. English - especially 'composition' - was my best subject at school, making up for all the subjects I was rubbish at!  So writing stories was a hobby as far back as I can remember. As a teenager I scribbled lurid tales about teenage romance in sixpenny notebooks for my classmates, and then wrote a lot of poetry, most of which fortunately never saw the light of day.

 

After my daughters were born, I wrote little children's stories for them, and my first paid publication was a short story for The Brownie magazine. This was followed by several more, including serials, and then stories for Today's Guide magazine.  Then in the 1990s I entered and won two first prizes in short story competitions in Writers' News (now incorporated in Writing Magazine) and to my amazement and delight, I was awarded their Winner of Winners. This was the point when I decided to take myself more seriously as a writer. I began submitting stories to women's magazines and over the next decade or so, was lucky enough to have over 100 of them published.

 

Becoming a novelist

 

During all this time, the real dream was to write a novel, but it wasn't until 2003 that I finally achieved my ambition, with the publication of                                                       - a romantic comedy about an older woman. This was followed by seven more books with the same publisher, three of them written under the pseudonym of Olivia Ryan.

Then a change

 

From 2011, I started self-publishing some books myself with Amazon, including a series about three sisters, and two anthologies of short stories. And then I took a complete change of direction, writing two books -                                     and                                   -  which are largely set in the 1960s. I remember this decade very well, having been a teenager then myself. In fact I sometimes think my memories of the Sixties are clearer than my recall of what I did last week!  I was delighted when Yesterday (a story set during the troubles between the Mods and the Rockers) was awarded the Guardian Legend Times Self Published Novel of the Month, for November 2014.  

 

More recently ...

 

My most recent self-published book is something different again.                                   is a story with grandparents as the main characters. I thought it was time I used my experience as 'Nanny' to my six little ones, to good effect. But it's really a family story, about relationships between parents, children and siblings, as well as grandparents and grandchildren. And no, I didn't use my own family as role models. My children are thankfully much nicer than the squabbling, sometimes selfish ones featured in the book!

 

And now ...

Everything changed again with the publication of my new books which all have animal themes or backgrounds. I loved writing

and its sequel

These stories about loveable little cats and their human families are written from the cats' points of view! 

But it's been just as much fun writing the most recent books,

                                                                        ,and                                                                    , which are romantic fiction with a twist - the heroines' stories are entwined with those of the animals who are so important to their lives.