Please welcome historical romance writer Beverley Oakley aka Beverley Eikli back to the blog. This is her third visit with us and she has another great post for us today, with a great giveaway as well. Be sure to leave your questions and comments. One lucky person who leaves a comment will win a free copy of Beverley Eikli’s recent Regency Romantic Intrigue, Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly.
Why Losing My Job was the Best Thing That Happened To Me
By Beverley Oakley aka Beverley Eikli
Hello again – for the third time in a busy month as I’ve had back-to-back releases which hasn’t happened to me before.
Well, it’s nearly time for the school pick-up so I’m making the most of my remaining one hour of child-free time. Our two daughters are 11 and seven now so life’s a lot less chaotic since they can strap themselves into their own car seats and we’re no longer living out of suitcases.
For the past four years we’ve happily existed in the same pretty country town an hour north of Melbourne, my husband has been flying for the same airline and the children have been attending the same primary school.
Life feels settled and routine which is something of a novelty after our years of travelling. You’ll understand what I mean if you’ve read my earlier posts here about being locked up in French Guyana and my interesting Romance Author’s Apprenticeship 200ft above ground during long survey sorties on contracts around the world.
Between sending the kids to school and waiting to pick them up I’ve been preparing to upload onto Amazon and Smashwords my first Regency romance – Lady Sarah’s Redemption – published several years ago by Robert Hale. The paperback and e-book rights recently reverted to me and it’s quite exciting to be in charge of a new cover – and price – as they’ve only been available in expensive hardback editions before.
Lady Sarah’s Redemption was my landmark book – in so many ways. I wrote it when my husband was flying in Antarctica. Seven quite dreadful, unpublishable manuscripts were already mouldering under the bed – or beds since we’ve lived in 10 countries in 18 years – but finally this was ‘the one’.
Perhaps its success was due to the fact I poured all my passion onto the page during the four lonely months my husband was away and I was pregnant with our youngest daughter. We lived in a big old house by the sea, in Adelaide, South Australia at the time, and I’d put my then four-year-old to bed knowing I’d have exactly two hours to write.
I remember the silence. Oh, it was wonderful after a day of doing toddler duty. Not that I didn’t love my daughter but there was no respite with my husband gone for so long, and with no nearby family.
Shortly after his return from Antarctica and three and a half weeks before our daughter was born my husband broke his back. He spent a long time in rehabilitation and it was during this period I finally finished the book and sent it off to UK Publisher, Robert Hale. Obviously it struck the right chord because finally… to my great joy… my eighth manuscript was accepted.
Now, being a writer and having crafted tales of passion with lashings of intrigue and uplifting endings, it was difficult to accept that though although I had my first book contract I would have to write a few more books before I could give up my day job.
In this instance, it was worse because I had to find a day job. The company my husband had been flying for had folded and he was living in constant pain. All his vertebrae down one side had been sheared off and it’s amazing testament to his stamina and determination that he weaned himself off the multiple painkillers he was on in order to fly again.
As any mother knows, it’s difficult to know whether to look for child care first, or a job first. Both are hard to find when you’re virtually new in town with no contacts after more than ten years of travelling the globe.
It was a Thursday and I had decided I needed to be working by Monday. I found someone to care for the little one and indeed, by Monday, I was in training for a six-month contract working in the head office of a health insurer. I have to admit that I felt pretty pleased with myself in getting such instant results.
Unfortunately, by Tuesday I was back at home nursing the entire family who had come down with bronchitis. My training schedule was disrupted and when I returned to work the following Monday I was transferred to a large hall full of nimble-fingered young women whose job it was to input medicare numbers into the computer system all day.
Data entry! When I walked into that hall I felt exactly as the peasant’s daughter must have in Rumpelstiltskin when her father boasted to the king that she could spin straw into gold.
I can’t do data entry. Not to save my life, though if there were any way I could have to save my job, I’d have done it.
Each time the supervisor paced past my desk I’d put my head down and pretend to be working like the clappers. Then she’d pass on, my body would experience that shut-down feeling of having almost been publicly exposed – yet knowing it couldn’t be far off – and carefully I’d press ‘delete, delete, delete…’ and so on to undo all those oh-so-wrong numbers.
It was excruciating. My tenure there was like a ticking time bomb. Of course it wouldn’t be long before my supervisor would discover the imposter in their midst. I envisaged the humiliation. Would it be public? Would I walk into the lunch room and disturb a group of teenage sniggerers or the lofty disdain of those queens of data entry who input numbers faster than I can read them out?
I didn’t know what to do. I’d been told that my previous job had been re-filled as per the original training schedule, which was fair enough. Yes, I hated this job. I hated the idea of doing any office job. I’d worked as a journalist and an airborne geophysical survey operator, operating the computer equipment in the back of planes over the French Guyanese jungle and Greenland’s ice cap. I’d relished the adventure and didn’t mind the physical hardships of heat and turbulence and the isolation of my previous job.
I was a writer, not a data entry girl.
But I really needed this job.
One evening, slumping home and burdened with the usual despair I felt while employed in that job, I walked into the kitchen to find my husband brandishing a bottle of expensive Sparkling Burgundy surrounded by my sister and her husband who’d recently returned from Canada where they’d lived for three years.
“Congratulations are in order!” announced my husband, looking better than I’d seen him look in months while he poured me a glass of bubbles. “The company’s started up again and I was the first First Officer re-hired.”
As I took my first sip the phone rang. It was for me and I recognised the voice of the recruitment officer who had hired me.
“I’m so sorry,” she said, sounding like she meant it – for she knew how desperate I was to get work when I walked off the street and into her temp office – “I’ve just had a call from Medicare to say they won’t be requiring you tomorrow …” She cleared her throat. ”Or any day after that … ”
That sparkling burgundy was the sweetest liquid I’ve ever tasted. The most uplifting joy filled my veins as I took in the fact that I no longer had a job.
I returned to the kitchen where I knew at least my family appreciated me and raised my glass to toast my husband’s success in getting back his flying job – and the fact that in a glorious twist of fate I no longer had one I loathed and detested. Furthermore, that I hadn’t had to endure public humiliation – or felt I was letting the family down – in being divested of it.
Lady Sarah’s Redemption came out in print about eight months afterwards, by which time I had a contract for my second Regency Romantic Intrigue, Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly.
I now write full time. Soon all my traditional Regency Romantic Intrigues as Beverley Eikli will be available in all formats on Amazon and Smashwords.
Two days ago the third of my sensual or erotic historical romances written under my Beverley Oakley pseudonym was released as an e-book. It’s a novella set during a battle in the midst of the English Civil War and it’s as much about honour and integrity as it is about passion and desire.
Lady Sarah’s Redemption is also about honour and integrity – and deception and sacrificing one’s reputation to save someone else’s honour.
So here I’d like to offer a brief summary of my very first book published four years ago and my latest novella.
Lady Sarah’s Redemption
Arriving at the grand estate of reformist MP Roland Hawthorne to take charge of the tortured widower’s rebellious sixteen-year-old daughter, Caro, Sarah soon finds herself in love with the occupants of her new household.
But when Sarah’s deceit plays into the hands of an unexpected adversary who uses Caro as a pawn in a high stakes game of revenge, Sarah must risk everything she holds dear – including her love for Roland – to redeem herself.
Drummond Castle, home of staunch Puritan Silas Drummond and his beautiful wife, Elizabeth, has been besieged by Royalist forces. In a bargain to spare her husband’s life Lady Elizabeth has agreed to spend the night with the commander of the hated King’s Men.
Second-in-command, Charles Trethveyan, has other ideas. He’s planned this moment since Elizabeth chose to marry Silas eight years before.
When Elizabeth discovers that her former Cavalier lover has taken the place of his superior, she must decide whether Charles is motivated by love or revenge.
Either way, her response will have devastating consequences.
Thank you for dropping by today. You can learn more about my books here:
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