How I met Ursula Bloom by Sophie King

I must confess something here! I was not familiar with Ursula Bloom’s books until recently when a friend pressed a copy of Wonder Cruise into my hand. I was immediately hooked – not just by the writing (which drew me straight in) or the inviting cover. But by Ursula’s own life which seems, in many ways, to reflect my own.

Ursula, I learned, had several pen names. So have I. Why? I was advised some years ago that you need a different pen name for a different kind of genre.

Maybe Ursula found, as I did, that when you write under another name you feel like a different person. This can be a good tip for readers who are not yet published. Try your hand at another kind of book (such as crime or romance or historical or children’s) and pick an entirely new name! It could be the breakthrough you’ve been looking for.

I also  found that, like me, Ursula had been married more than once. She would have understood what it was like to have coped on her own in between marriages. This is the kind of emotion that you, as a reader may have experienced yourself and which does not change over the years. My second husband was a bachelor when I married  him and likes to be king of the kitchen! So imagine my amusement when I found out that Ursula’s second husband also enjoyed the cooking! I wonder if they had the same amicable disagreements over how to wash up …

I like to think that Ursula’s second husband gave her as much space to write as my man does. Like her, I am a prolific writer. Over the years I have had some 16 novels published. However, I don’t manage the 10,000 words a day that Ursula is famed for. My average is 3,000 every morning – the beginning of the day is usually my ‘best writing time’ . I love entering that zone in your head where the story takes over. In fact, at times it can be very difficult to get up from my desk and get on with ordinary life! Another tip for writers who are yet to get published, is to try writing at different times of the day or evening. You’ll be surprised at how it can give you new ideas.

I’m so glad I have discovered Ursula. Not only do I love her writing and her characters but I am also drawn to the woman behind the stories. I’d like to think that this timeless novelist is looking down now and enjoying the wonderful legacy which her books have left behind – a legacy of readers who still love her. And also new admirers, like me, who are now ardent fans.