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So how did this minister's wife ever became a multi-published, best-selling romance author?
It all really started on the black soil plains of the Darling Downs in Queensland where I became a bookworm. Our farm was miles away from the nearest neighbours and one small shop. My Mum, Dad, two brothers and a sister shared the place with me. The only animal to play with was our beautiful collie dog. We did have a few hens, one rooster, one cow, occasional plagues of frogs and mice and of course too many very venomous snakes. What else was a girl to do except read? Only when we moved to live in Toowoomba and became city-slickers did I discover glorious libraries - and romance novels.
However, God knew that after being an avid romance reader I needed my own real romance for the future plans He had for me. My faith and love for God led me to a deep conviction that part of His plan for my life was to not only become a registered nurse but train for ministry. I did not dream that being a student at the Churches of Christ Bible College in Sydney would start me along an entirely different ministry journey from the missionary nurse one I had taken for granted God wanted me on.
At Bible College I met my own hero, Raymond. We are still being blessed with our own romance in a wonderful marriage. Although now officially retired from local church ministries and living on Australia's beautiful island state of Tasmania, we enjoyed many years in church ministry together throughout Australia, two years in England and short term mission trips to Africa. To this day we still work as a team. Between helping at our local church, speaking appointments, enjoying our grandchildren and family, we still both make time to continue our writing. Ray now has several devotional books published in his 31 Day Devotional Series. See more about him and his books on his own great blog where he posts every Monday.
Ray and me in college.
Mary’s own Hero
As in many good romance stories, this hero and heroine came from different types of backgrounds. I was the farmer’s daughter who loved wide open spaces, the nurse from a far more conservative background than Ray. He was from Rockdale, a suburb only about eleven kilometres from the centre of Sydney. While my favourite occupation was reading fiction, his whole family loved sport - cricket, baseball, rugby league football – especially that St George/Illawarra team.
Over many years now, God has been moulding and changing us both, drawing us together in a loving relationship that still grows stronger each year. Besides the ministry and commitment to Christ, one thing we both have is a love of books - although our tastes do vary considerably. Another thing we share, especially in more recent years, is writing.
Learn more about Ray and his published devotional books on his own blog.
But how and why did I start writing? The simple answer is I believe that is what God wanted me to do but He had to get me to realise and accept that in various ways. It has been a long journey with my ever faithful, awesome God and one I love to share at speaking appointments. Here it is enough to acknowledge that without my father's example of writing diaries and Ray's encouragement and support, those first articles, short stories and then novels would never have been written and published.
My first novel reached the bookshop shelves in 1993 and now, to my delight and amazement, I am a multi-published contemporary and historical romance author with well over 800,000 books sold around the world. I had five Harlequin Mills and Boon medicals published, and why I stopped writing them and continued writing romance with spiritual threads is part of my "Journey Story". Barbour Publishing in America first released them through their Heartsong Presents inspirational romance book club. In the year 2000 Barbour re-released my contemporary Search series in their best-seller, 4-in-1 volume, Australia. In 2003 my four Great Southland historical books were published in another volume, Australian Outback, which was a best seller. All of these books as well as Damaged Dreams are now e-books published by Barbour in their Truly Yours Digital Edition as e-books.
To keep up to date about my writing activities, future releases and speaking appointments, visit the News page on my blog. I'm also on Facebook and Goodreads. Check out more about my family and writer friends on the Photos and Family pages.