Feature article

Penny Halsall

Monday 23 July 2012 ~ Romance Matters

The incomparable Penny Jordan

Penny Halsall, who wrote as Penny Jordan, Annie Groves, Caroline Courtney, Melinda Wright and Lydia Hitchcock, was a prolific writer and one of Mills & Boon’s most popular authors. At the beginning of her career, she wrote nearly a book a month. At the end of her 30-year career she had written more than 200 books. She was phenomenally successful. Translated into 25 languages and writing 168 titles for M&B alone, she enjoyed sales of 100m worldwide. She was born in Preston, Lancashire, where she spent her early childhood before the family moved to Cheshire. She went to Todmorden Grammar School (now Todmorden High) and then worked as a typist in Manchester. She was working in a bank when she began to write romantic fiction seriously. She was an avid reader of Mills & Boon – her favourites, ‘ones with a sheikh hero’. Her work was eventually ‘discovered’ in 1980 on an editor’s slush pile.

Penny was an active member of the RNA, and in 2011 was presented with a lifetime achievement award. Her last Annie Groves novel, My Sweet Valentine, and Mills & Boon novels The Price of Royal Duty and A Secret Disgrace will be issued later this year.

She is survived by her mother, her sister Pru and her brother Anthony.

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It's a fact

When David Szelnick bought the rights to Margaret Mitchell’s 'Gone With the Wind', only six months after its 1936 publication, the whole world cast Clark Gable as Rhett Butler before the ink was dry on the contract.