Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunday Spotlight - Natasha Oakley

Our spotlight is being shone this week on one of our Pink Heart Society Editors and Harlequin Romance author, Natasha Oakley who has a book out this launch month for the new line which will merge with Silhouette Romance in February 2007. In the past year she has been nominated for both the Cataromance Reviewers Choice Award for Tender Romance and the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice awards for Best Harlequin Romance and Best First Series Romance.


In 1991 I married my husband and we decided to start our family. I must have harboured some kind of daft idea that I would have a baby, put it in a papoose and carry on pretty much as before with my acting career. Not surprisingly it didn't quite work out that way. I hadn't realised quite how powerful mother-love is. I had five children in six years, working only very briefly during this time. I now live in Bedfordshire with my husband and my children. I love antique fairs, collect kitchenalia, paint in watercolour, and am a signer for the deaf (BSL). My house is in a constant state of disarray but I make great cakes, write books and no one seems to mind.


Where do you get the inspiration for your books from?

I think authors must have their brains wired differently from other people because anything and everything has the potential to spark an idea which will eventually become a book.

Often it’s a combination of things. For example, my heroine in ‘Accepting the Boss’s Proposal’ is a single mum who’s struggling to pick up her life after her husband traded her in for a new and improved model. Sadly, that’s a situation several of my girlfriends are currently in and I know that influenced my creation of Jemima. The choice of Myles’s car came about because I read a magazine in the hairdressers’.

Books are a real melting pot of ideas. And, more often than not, I reckon it’s better not to think too much about where ideas come from. It’s magic!

What makes you mad?

I’ve become a real ‘grumpy old woman’. So much makes me mad.
- Dog owners who don’t clear up after their pet.
- Teenagers who spit on the ground.
- Blogger not accepting my pictures.
- Shop assistants who carry on their own conversations when there are customers waiting.
- Lazy reporters who use Mills & Boon as a generic term for all that’s bad in romantic fiction.
- So much plastic packaging round food in supermarkets.
- Inconsiderate parking.
- Being left hanging on the telephone – then having to speak to someone who doesn’t speak English and can’t possibly help me.
- People who drop litter.
- People who jump a queue.
- Filling out my tax return.
- In fact, filling out any government form.
- Supermarket trolleys with wonky wheels.

I could go on …

What’s the most romantic thing that has ever happened to you?

The most romantic times have been the unexpected and ‘fun’ ones.
I’ve loved eating chips from paper cone on a beach front where horse and carriage owners were racing across the sand. Or the time I ate a hot roast beef and stilton baguette on the roof of a narrow boat. Maybe even the time I sat on the step of the Stephensdom in Vienna …
It’s more about the person you’re with, I think – and the way they made you feel.

What in a hero makes you drool?

Glinting eyes and long artistic fingers are my personal preference. I also like to feel that he’d be the kind of man standing in the heroine’s corner whatever life throws at them.

If you weren’t a writer what would you be?

I don’t honestly know at this point. My husband’s cancer has returned to pay us another visit so I suspect I wouldn’t be doing anything much. Longer term I may have pursued the idea of being an interpreter for the deaf and combined that with theatre.

What do you do to relax and wind down?

A glass of wine, a great book and a long soak in a hot bubble bath is my first choice.

How do you get out of a writing rut?

Have a sleep. Often I just need to give my subconscious time to work.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

I like where I’ve landed. I love being within easy rich of London, near my family and surrounded by open countryside. I think I have the best of all worlds here.

Who would you most like to give a hug to for a fabulous book you've read?

Jessica Hart for ‘The Convenient Fiancee’. It was the first Mills & Boon book I ever read and, I can honestly say, it changed my perception of category fiction and consequently my life.

What music do you listen to when writing?

None. I find it very distracting.

Tell us a secret nobody knows about you?

No. Not doing it. It's a secret...

What was your most embarrassing moment?

It’s difficult to choose one just one, but I think it has to be the time I fell out of my dress during a matinee performance of ‘Taming of the Shrew’.

I was playing ‘The Widow’ in a winch-me-in pop-out-the-top dress and, during a celebratory dance when both my hands were held by other actors, I did just that – popped out the top. Which left me in a bit of a quandary. Either I had to draw attention to myself by pulling my hands out of theirs to deal with the problem. Or I had to pretend all was well and finish the dance.
So, I decided to finish the dance. Only, as we formed a pretty circle, one of the actors whispered, ‘Don’t worry, darling. We’re not looking.’ V- e-r-y embarrassing I thought! And that’s not even beginning to think about the audience.

What have you had to celebrate in the last year?

That’s a difficult one. This year has been hard. But I’m hugely proud of my children and what they’ve achieved. I’m also thrilled to be one of the authors launching the new ‘Romance’ line.

What’s beside your computer when you’re writing?

The cooker timer – so I don’t forget the school pick-up.
A fan – because it’s been a hot summer.
A mug of coffee – because I have an addiction.
A print-out of what I’ve written so far – I’m a tidy kind of writer and I like what I’ve already got to be kind-of tight before I move on.

If you could kiss anyone in the world who would it be?

Discounting the person I can kiss anytime I want – I’m going to choose Alan Rickman because he has the sexiest voice of any man I’ve ever heard. Or maybe Johnny Depp because I reckon that would be fun. Or Hugh Jackman because we’ve been talking about him so much!

What are you working on now?

Willow’s Story. She’s a bad girl come good … and I really,

really like her. If I were casting her in a film I would give the role to Sienna Miller and I’m letting Luke Wilson and Hugh

Jackman fight it out for the role of Daniel.

Natasha would love for you to visit her at her website or her Blog

And for more about her new book, check out her publisher's website.

Thanks Natasha!

And watch this space Pink Heart-er's 'cos we have some Huge Names from the world of Category Romance coming your way in October!!!!


  1. Thanks, Natasha. I really enjoyed reading your interview.

    Wish I could adopt your practice of producing a fairly tight draft as I go along!

    Back to drizzly, chilly weather, despite the sudden burst of warmth last week.

  2. (((((Natasha))))) for what's been a difficult year, and for handling everything you do with such grace.

    xx - D.

  3. Loved your interview. Didn't know you had five children! I've got four under seven, so know how much hard work it is.
    Best wishes to you, your family and your husband.

  4. Lovely interview, Natasha.But then I'm not surprised. As someone who knew you before you were published. I know how hard you've always worked on your books and I'm just so thrilled that you found your very special voice and have written some wonderful books.

    I look forward to reading many more of them.

    It was lovely to be able to spend time with you at AMBA on Friday - don't forget those questions! ;-


  5. Great interview Natasha. I'm sorry you're having a difficult year but you have a lot to be proud of, too.

    And those Wilson brothers are something special, ain't they? Hmmmmmmmmmm............

  6. Hugs Natasha, having had the pleasure of meeting you at a RNA conference when we were pre-pubbed it's wonderful to see how well you're doing. Big hugs to you and hope your husband recovers soon.

  7. Indeed we did, Nell! We were 'near misses' at the time. And the next year I met Natalie Rivers who has recently sold to Presents. I pick good friends!!

    Thank you everyone for your good wishes. We've got a scan later this week and that always makes me feel nervous and a little bit down.

    One of the loveliest things about writing is that I'm in control of what happens. I do wish life could be so easily sorted.

  8. Oh, forgot to say - we've managed to persuade Kate Walker to do a 'Guest Blog' slot for us on Sheikhs. Very interesting to me since I'm going to write a 'sheikh' story later this year.

    If anyone else has any questions you'd like me to twist her arm to answer please post them here ...

  9. Hugs to you, Natasha, on a rough year (and it was LOVELY to see you on Friday).

    I didn't realise you were a BSL expert. Is another reason why I found you easy to talk to before the hearing aid: you speak clearly and I could lipread you easily!

  10. Natasha,

    Thanks for sharing your life with us through the interview. It sounds like you have your hands well and truly full! Am wondering how you manage to achieve as much as you do.

    I hope your husband receives good news about his condition soon.

    Thanks for mentioning Alan Rickman - you're ABSOLUTELY right about his voice.


  11. Natasha, really enjoyed the interview and especially meeting you at AMBA, I'm only sorry that we didn't seem to meet up again after the lunch! But surely we'll meet again and lovely to meet my fellow 'tape' buddy!
    x Daisy AKA Abby Green

  12. I so enjoyed 'getting to know you'. I'm with you on all things supermarket.

    Hugs for all you do and deal with.


  13. Natasha, I thought you'd settled on Luke for Daniel! Not that I'd complain if it was Hugh on screen *g*

    Lovely interview and hugs for what you're going through with your hubby. Its amazing with your big family and what you're going through that you are still producing such wonderful stories. Keep them coming...

  14. (((Natasha))) I hope all goes well with your husband.

    Kudos to you for writing with 5 children! I only have two, and it's a challenge.

    BTW, I think signing for the deaf is the most eloquent language there is!


  15. LOL - Remind me NEVER to make you angry...