I am the author of four novels written as Diney Costeloe and ten romances written under the name of Diney Delancey.
I am the daughter of a London publisher, and was always encouraged by my father to write. At the age of five I wrote my first book. It was called TOM’S PARTY. It was written long-hand of course, in pencil, on lined paper. Long and difficult words, like ‘afternoon’ took up a whole line. When this opus was finished I gave it to my father who took it to his office. It came home again in a cardboard cover with a white label on the front and on it was typed TOM’S PARTY, written by Diney, published by Daddy.
All through my childhood I wrote stories and poems, still long-hand. Indeed I still have the hard-backed notebook in which I wrote out my poems.
When I left college as a qualified primary school teacher, I started to write short stories and articles, many of which were published in magazines, newspapers and read on the radio.
I also wrote some books for children, and two were in preparation for publication when the publishers decided to close their children’s section. It was a great pity as the artwork they had commissioned was finished and was really lovely…so the artist and I lost out on those.
BBC Woman’s Hour had a ‘romantic novelist’ competition and I decided to enter. I had three children under six by then, so I had plenty of time! I didn’t win the competition, but I was short-listed, so thus encouraged, I sent the manuscript off to the publishers, Robert Hale. They accepted it, and THE SLOPES OF LOVE was published, under the name of Diney Delancey. Why Diney Delancey? Well it sounds like a romantic novelist, doesn’t it?
I subsequently wrote another nine romances, though not all of them for Hales, and then went on to something else, Dartmouth Circle. This is about a student house in a quiet cul-de-sac in a university town, and the impact it had on its rather sedate community.
My last three books have been ‘modern historicals’, set in the twentieth century.
The first, THE ASHGROVE, is set behind the lines in France during the first World War. The action takes place in the trenches and in a convent hospital where the wounded are sent to be nursed.
Its sequel, DEATH’S DARK VALE is set in the same hospital during the German Occupation of France in World War II. The nuns help hide Jewish families from the Nazis.
My latest book is called EVIL ON THE WIND, and is set in Nazi Germany in 1937/38 and tells the story of a Jewish family trying to survive the oppression and persecution of the Nazi regime.
I have been asked why I am ‘obsessed by war’. I am not. What does interest me is the people who are caught up in such wars, how they react, how they survive…or not, how they cope, how their lives change, how their characters carry them through…or not.
I have enjoyed writing and reading all my life, and so always enjoy the research required for such books. It is interesting that it is when I am researching one book, that I often get the ideas for the next one.
My work is definitely fiction, but I hope it is fiction that can educate as well as entertain. There are many people who would never read a serious history book, but might read a book like mine,….these are some of the people I am trying to reach.
I enjoy speaking about my work to groups such as the WI and Probus, and I also love going to visit reading groups and sit in on their discussion when they have read one of my books.
I have also joined in 'literary days' in schools, and read some of my work in libraries and at two literary festivals.
My children are all grown up and married now and I am a grandmother 6 times over, but I still love to write, encouraged by my long-suffering husband…and even when we travel, which we do quite a lot, I always take my laptop with me.