Before I start, I should tell you that we met once at one of your book launches in London. I was the one who acted like a giddy teenager when you spoke to me. I've met lots of authors over the years, but you seemed to push me into total fangirl territory, and here's why.
I fell in love with your writing in my late teens, at a time in my life when I craved independence and your sassy, strong female protagonists were exactly who I needed to read about. Your books were sexy and fresh and unlike anything I'd read before, and it started my love affair with women's fiction that led me to become a writer. My friends and I devoured your early work passing Mr Maybe and Jemima J round like we had Judy Blume at school. Since then, your single girl about town stories have been replaced with tales of complex family dynamics, tangled webs of step families, and broken marriages. It’s like your books have grown up along with your readers.
Now, if that wasn't reason enough to warrant a literary love letter there’s the ‘extra bits’ that put you into favourite author status in my mind. First up is your cookery book that you crowdsourced in order to self-publish it because you wanted a connection with readers and to have complete control over its creation. And then there’s your Facebook page. Few bestselling authors get social media the way you do. I love your long rambling posts that give us, your fans, real insight into your life and your thoughts. Not merely a tool to promote your books, but it’s like a conversation with your readers. I just won't mention the time you told us Facebook what you think happened to Ben and Jemima J…
Thank you for the books and the characters that have stayed with me long after I’ve finished reading, and thank you for inspiring me as a writer by being an excellent role model.
Anna Bell's new book, The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart, is out now!