More about Mary Nichols


Born in Singapore of a Dutch-South African father and an English mother, I came to England when I was three. My father, like many who learn English as a second language, was far more precise in its use than many English people and he would have no sloppiness, either spoken or written, and I put my love of the language down to him. He was also a great reader and there were always books in the house, so that I learned to read at a very early age. By the time I was nine or ten, my one ambition was to be a famous writer.
My first novel was written when I was fifteen, when my parents thought I was shut in my room revising for exams. It was handwritten in several school exercise books and was pretty abysmal. Not having any idea of how to go about finding a publisher, I wrapped it all up and sent it to my mother's monthly magazine! It says a great deal for the editor that she took the trouble to read it and sent me a long and encouraging letter, which put my ambition into over-drive.
Finishing my education and finding a job took over as priorities in the next year or two, followed by an early marriage and a family and though I managed to find time to write, I did nothing about finding a publisher until my children were all at school. Then I joined the Cambridge Writers' Circle and met people of like mind, some beginners, others with some experience, some who had had work published. My ambition was re-kindled and it has never died since.
Publication of articles and stories in all sorts of periodicals and magazines followed, (one of which was a Western, done for a bet because a male member of the Writers' Circle said women couldn't write Westerns, and of course I had to prove him wrong!), but the ambition to be a novelist never wavered and throughout the time I was writing and selling short pieces I was working on my novels which were invariably rejected with encouraging letters which explained where I had gone wrong. You would be surprised at the number of ways it is possible to go wrong! I joined the Romantic Novelists Association in the 1960s, a wonderful organisation both for aspiring and published authors.
My first novel was published by Robert Hale in 1981 and that was followed by nine more in the next five years, but my real love was the historical novel and I sent my first historical romance to Mills and Boon in 1985 and was surprised and delighted when a telephone call three weeks later told me it had been accepted. Since then I have been a regular writer for the historical series. 
While writing for Mills & Boon I have been writing sagas/mainstream women's fiction, first for Orion and now Allison and Busby.  I am also the author of THE MOTHER OF NECTON, a biography of my beloved grandmother, originally published in hardback by Breedon Books in 2000.  It has been updated and was re-issued in paperback by The Larks Press in 2009.  It can also be read as an ebook on Kindle, 
Apart from when my children were small, I always had a 'day job', being a school secretary, an industrial editor and an information manager for a company producing a computer database of distance and open learning courses. Now 'retired' I spend part of every day at my computer writing novels and divide the rest of the time between reading and research, gardening and, when it becomes necessary, housework. Occasionally I give talks about my writing to groups and societies in the area of my home.
 Writing for me is an addiction. I am not happy if I haven't got a book on the go and if my readers enjoy what I have written, that is an added bonus.
I have a son and two daughters and four (now grown-up) grandchildren and three great grandchildren who are real poppits.