IT could be a storyline from one of her own books.
A strong, successful heroine risks it all by giving up a well-paid career to spread a little romance.
But for Dr Ray-Anne Lutener truth is indeed stranger than fiction after she quit her lecturing career to become a romantic novelist for Mills & Boon.
Having attended Sunderland University as a student during the 70s, Ray-Anne returned 10 years later to work as a pharmacy lecturer.
She then took a career break in favour of writing romantic fiction full-time.
Now, under the pen name Nina Harrington, Ray-Anne has become a successful writer for Harlequin Mills and Boon, having her books translated into 17 languages in 20 different countries around the world
Ray-Anne said: “Reading has been my passion since before junior school and the public library was my favourite place in the world. I devoured everything from Enid Blyton to science fiction, adventure and crime.”
“Writing my own fiction was a dream for many years.
“I had researched how difficult it was to get published unless you were truly excellent and unique so I spent several years learning about the craft of writing and studying hard before finally giving up my well-paid job and taking the risk of writing full time, even though I did not have a contract.”
Ray-Anne, who lives with her husband who she met while studying at Sunderland University, was drawn to writing for Harlequin Mills & Boon due to her love of the romance genre.
“Crime and romance are my favourite genres,” she said. “I love that feeling of escapism when you are engrossed in a novel and the characters and their dilemma keep you turning the pages late into the night.”
Ray-Anne is now working on her 10th Mills & Boon novel and, for a women who has worked as a volcano walker, an industrial scientist and a university lecturer, she seems to have found her calling as a fiction writer.
“I want to keep writing and to keep having fun and enjoying the work,” said Ray-Anne. “It is a wonderful feeling to see your book on the shelves and to receive translations of my work.”
* Dr Lutener will being giving talk at The University of Sunderland’s annual Hope Winch Dinner, hosted at The Stadium of Light, tomorrow.