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Ivy Lord, a long time member of the Brentwood Writers' Circle, has perhaps one of the strangest beginnings to a writing career. She and her husband ran a nursery many years ago and one evening, when her husband was out, there was a knock at the door. She was alone in the house with her eight year old daughter but thinking it was her husband returning home without his key, she answered the door. A stranger stood on the doorstep and asked if she had tomatoes for sale. Ivy pointed out that the nursery was closed and that anyway, it was winter and not the season for tomatoes. The man then pushed Ivy into the hallway, holding a sawn-off shot gun to her head, and was quickly joined by another man.

The men demanded money and although Ivy told them it was Friday and the takings had already been banked, she and her daughter were nonetheless told to lie on the floor and had their wrists taped.  Ivy was actually relieved it was a robbery she was dealing with and nothing worse.

The men escaped but were eventually captured. The family had suffered a frightening experience and Ivy's mother recommended that she write an account of the episode to help her cope with the aftermath. Ivy was then encouraged to send the manuscript to a magazine. It was returned but with some helpful corrections and was eventually published. She was then asked by the same magazine to submit some short stories. The first four were rejected but with the help of the editor, who became her mentor, Ivy's stories were accepted and she wrote for the magazine over the next eight years until it ceased publication.

Ivy then decided to try her hand at writing a novel. Again her first efforts were rejected but eventually she found a publisher. One publisher later bought the paper-back rights to the novel it had first turned down. Ivy was now signed up to two publishers including Seven House. She had had the foresight to keep the reversion rights to her novels, so when Random House approached her to re-publish those novels out of print she was able to take up the offer. The only problem was that she had to change her name for an American readership because of the religious connotations of the surname Lord. Her newly published works therefore go under the authorship of Maggie Ford. Some 32 books later Ivy can look back to the awful events of that evening and has to admit the robbers played a crucial role in launching her successful writing career.

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April 2nd 2016

Today is a Workshop where members try their hand at producing some impromptu stories from props provided.

We also have a talk by Ivy Lord about how she came to become a writer.