New chapter for authors as novels hit national top ten

FOR the first time ever two best-selling authors from St Helens have seen their latest novels hit the national top 10 - at the same time.

Trisha Ashley’s latest offering, Good Husband Material, charted at number six last week while Carole Matthews’ book, A Cottage By The Sea, sneaked into the chart at number 10.

And both Trisha, who grew up on Cambridge Road, and Carole, who grew up on Ecclesfield Road, Eccleston, were eager to pay tribute to inspirational local teachers who first inspired them to put pen to paper.

Trisha, who attended Rivington Secondary Modern, said: “I had an excellent English teacher called Miss White. She was wonderful. She knew that I wanted to write so she lent me lots of books and entered me into a children’s writing competition.

“I was so grateful that I tried to track her down when I had my first book published in the 1980s.”

Carole, meanwhile, told how she was lucky to have a string of excellent teachers at both St Julie’s Primary and Notre Dame High.

“I had brilliant teachers all the way through school who fostered my love of reading,” she said.

“That’s where my interest in books really started.”

Trisha, who now lives in North Wales, is set to tell the story of Good Husband Material - a re-print of her first ever romantic comedy - in a special homecoming event at the Central Library this Friday evening (April 19).

Her first version of the story was shortlisted as one of the best unpublished novels in the north more than a decade ago.

But her agent suggested she needed more romance in it - so she decided to weave a new character in right from the start.

Trisha added: “I didn’t mind re-writing it at all. For years I submitted manuscripts of satirical novels to publishers and received rave rejections! I remained true to my original idea and it’s a better story now.

“What I am averse to at the moment is some of the silly pricing you see online. When you’ve spent nearly a year of your life creating something, it shouldn’t be free.”

Carole, who now lives in Milton Keynes, has sold four million books worldwide and took inspiration for A Cottage By The Sea from a holiday with friends in Pembrokeshire.

She said it was “surreal” that both she and Trisha had novels in the national top 10 at the same time.

She added: “It’s amazing. There’s another best-selling author from St Helens too - Kate Harrison - so the next target has to be all three of us in the top 10!

“I was a big fan of Jackie Collins as a teenager and would never have dreamt of being in the same chart as her all these years later.”

There’s a chance Trisha and Carole, who still have family in Rainford and Laffak respectively, could repeat the trick in October too when their next novels, Wish Upon A Star and Calling Mrs Christmas, are both set to be released.

To attend Trisha Ashley’s homecoming event, call 01744 677446 or e-mail: karenthornburn@sthelens.gov.uk