A long time ago, at the tender age of 18, I managed to avoid any semblance of a day job by taking a Spanish degree at the University of Manchester. Later, after six brain-fogging months under a newseditor who made Ming the Merciless look like a guidance counsellor, I hot-footed it to Oxford and completed my M. Litt thesis on ‘Comic aspects of satirical 17th-century comic interludes by Luis Quiñones de Benavente’. It sounds peculiar but it was great fun and more relevant than you might expect.

Unfortunately, I still hadn’t forgotten enough French or Portuguese to end up as a technical translator, but later reverted to copywriting for anyone who would pay. On a stint in Australia, I ended up as a subeditor, cheerfully correcting other people’s English for local newspapers. As my academic husband muscled up the slippery pole to become a chemistry professor in something even I can’t spell, I moved into educational magazines and online publishing. Then, a daughter arrived and reintroduced me to children’s fiction overnight.

Anyway, one day, I found myself walking the dogs round Guy’s Cliffe, a Warwickshire beauty spot by the River Avon, thinking ‘to heck with a career’ and took the plunge into writing for myself.

My first completed novel is The Lost Orchid (Bluewood Publishing), a tale of intrigue set against the heady backdrop of so-called 'orchid fever' when wealthy clamoured for ever more exotic blooms, and ruthless dealers despatched their most determined and cunning plant hunters to the furthest reaches of the Empire.

Read more about it on The Lost Orchid blog, an online companion. You can also check out Orchidmania for more amazing tales about the secret life of orchids. The story takes place in the misty Trossachs, where Flora and her uncle are in residence to collect ferns to restock the nursery. Flora is soon up to her neck in intrigue. The final title in the series, Deadly Alpine, is in its earlier stages. I'm planning a Flora McPhairson sequel, The Ladyfern Conspiracy, inspired by another botanical craze, pteridomania, a passion for ferns that swept Britain in the late 1800s.

True Haven is another fantasy title, featuring the indomitable Claramina Dart and her extraordinary exploits in a Regency-inspired adventure.

After a visit to Montenegro, I then decided to venture into fantasy and came up with Legends of Liria, a six-part series for younger readers. Set in a dramatic mountainous country, it tells of how two young performance artists use their physical skills and native wit to rescue their homeland from a ruthless invader. Part one is Cloud Pearl, out on Amazon.

I also write for adults. A 1930s 'noir' thriller, Half Life, co-written with husband Rob, is set in Norway. It's a thriller featuring nuclear fission, Northern Lights and Nazi spies. Dark Interlude is an historical adventure set in the tense days after WW1 when revolution was in the air. I'm redesigning the covers for these two as well, so I'll keep you posted.

Tomorrow's Anecdote (Crooked Cat Publishing) is a retro newsroom mystery set in the turbulent Thatcher years. This is based on my crazy experiences in newspaper offices a few years ago.

For a spooky touch of the supernatural, I wrote a quartet of long short stories on a seasonal theme. You can find all four, including A Walk in the Park, Last Spring, Midsummer Glen and Equinox all on Amazon. Individual stories are free on Smashwords, along with The Deed Box.

Finally, I edited my late father's classic Cold War thriller, Not With a Whimper, an authentic trip into the chilling politics of the late 1960s, introducing the coolest anti-hero, Alan Christian.

I have a few titles up my sleeve, so watch this space.

By Pamela Kelt

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