A few days ago I received an email telling me that Robert Hale Ltd, my first ever publisher, is closing. I was very sorry to hear this as I had a long and happy relationship with them, stretching back to 2000 when I submitted a Regency romance, A Most Unusual Governess, and they sent me back a magical acceptance letter. I will never forget the kind final sentence, which said the book was so accomplished they wondered if I had written before.
For those who don't know anything about the firm, Hale were a well-loved and well-respected UK publishing house, established in 1936. They were independent and family-owned, working from their own building in London's Clerkenwell district and publishing many famous names, amongst them one of my own favourite authors, Jean Plaidy,
It is a sobering thought, but without Robert Hale Ltd, I don't think my series of Jane Austen heroes' diaries would exist. I had no idea what they would make of Darcy's Diary when I sent it to them back in 2004. I was writing Regency romances for them at the time, and Darcy's Diary came out of the blue. Many publishers would have rejected it as it was not what they were expecting, but Hale were always flexible and luckily my editor, Gill Jackson, was a Janeite, so the book was accepted. This was a more adventurous publishing decision than it might seem today, since at that time Austenesque fiction was not the popular genre it is now.
I am very sorry to see them close, but I want to wish them well and thank them for everything they have done for me and my books over the years. I know that a lot of other people are sorry to see them close, too, so if you have ever been published by Hale, or if you have ever enjoyed reading any of their books, and you would like to add your thanks, then please leave a comment below.