Penny Halsall, née Penelope Jones (b. November 24, 1946 in Preston, Lancashire, England) better known by her pen name of Penny Jordan, is a best-selling and prolific English writer of over 200 romance novels. She started writing regency romances as Caroline Courtney, and now writes contemporary romances as Penny Jordan and historical romances as Annie Groves (her mother's maiden name). She has also signed novels as Melinda Wright and Lydia Hitchcock. Her books have sold over 70 million copies worldwide and has been translated into many languages.
Widowed, she lives in Nantwich, Cheshire, England, surrounded by her pets.
Penelope "Penny" Jones was born on November 24, 1946 in Preston, Lancashire, England, and weighed about eight pounds. She was the first child of Anthony Winn Jones, who died aged 85, and his wife, Margaret Louise Groves Jones, 86, who passed to Jones her Scots Celtic heritage. She has a brother, Anthony Jones, and a sister, Prudence "Pru" Jones.
She has been a keen reader from childhood. Her mother would leave her in the children's section of the local library while she changed her father's library books. Her story-telling career began at the age of eight when she began telling original bedtime stories to her younger sister.
Her all-time favourite books are those of Jane Austen, Dorothy Dunnett, Catherine Cookson, Georgette Heyer, Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare's plays and poetry and the Bible. After reading a serialised Mills & Boon book in a woman's magazine, she fell in love with the hero. Jones was eleven and she quickly became an avid fan.
Jones left grammar school in Rochdale with O-Levels in English Language, English Literature and Geography. In her early days, she spent fourteen years working as a shorthand typist in Manchester.
Jones married Steve Halsall, an accountant and "lovely man", who smoked and drank too heavily, and suffered oral cancer with bravery and dignity. They did not have children, but she has a bakers dozen of assorted godchildren nieces and nephews.
Widowed, Jordan writes from an office in her beautiful mock Tudor house in Nantwich, Cheshire, a home that she shares with her dog, Sheba, and cat, Posh.
Jordan runs a writing group where she helps other aspiring writers to develop their craft, pointing them to agents and publishers who might be interested in their work. She is also active in women's charities in her native England.
By her early twenties, Jordan was writing for herself, but her writing career began in earnest when she was 30, encouraged and supported by her husband. He bought her, at a time when he could ill afford it, the small electric typewriter on which she typed her first books.
She entered a competition run by the Romantic Novelists' Association. Although she did not win, an agent, who was looking for a new-style Georgette Heyer, contacted the R.N.A..
In March 1979, she published her first novel under the pseudonym Caroline Courtney, Duchess in Disguise, the same year she published other 4 books. Under this penname she published 25 regency romances until 1986. Her novels was published by different editorials: Arlington Books, Warner Books, G.K. Hall, Corgi Books, Prior...
From 1981 to 1983, she signed 3 air-hostess romps as Melinda Wright and 2 thrillers as Lydia Hitchcock, published by Columbine House.
In 1981, Mills & Boon accepted her first novel for them, Falcon's Prey signed as Penny Jordan. Since then, almost 70 million copies of her 167 Mills & Boon (or Harlequin) novels have been sold worldwide.
Some of Penny Jordan's novels are part of series, created by her or in collaboration with other authors. Her favourite Penny Jordan's Series is The Perfect Crightons. The surname for Crighton family came from her late mother in law as it was her family name prior to her marriage. The Crighton live in the fictional town Haslewich, inspired in Nantwich, the Hasle is a play on her own married surname.
Since 2003, she returned to writing historical novels as Annie Groves (she has adopted her mother's maiden-name). Jordan gains much of her inspiration from human interest stories in the news as well as her own family history. She adapted a story told by her grandmother Elsie Jones in Ellie Pride. This novel also begins a family saga.