I am so honoured to have been asked to contribute a guest blog for the fabulous Pink Heart Society! Many thanks to Trish, Nic, Ally, and Natasha for all their hard work and for doing such a fantastic job. It's been a wonderful first month and a half since the re-launch with some fabulous posts ... and men!!
I cannot remember a time when my nose wasn't buried in a book. My parents fostered my love of reading from an early age and I devoured everything I could get my hands on. I adored classics like the Anne of Green Gables series and The Secret Garden. I loved the Famous Five and Secret Seven, the adventure books by Willard Price, and the Sue Barton nurse books by Helen Dore-Boylston. Most of all I loved the wonderful pony books that kept me entertained for hours on end ... authors like Mary O'Hara, Ruby Ferguson and the Pullein-Thompson sisters inspiring my dreams and my imagination. I wanted to write, too.
The last months have sped by in a whirl, ever since I received the phone call telling me that Harlequin Mills & Boon® were to buy my manuscript for their Medical Romance™ line! It was a dream come true and one, after twenty years of writing story collection, serials and magazine short stories, I believed would never happen. I was stunned, tearful, in shock ... and so excited! It took me a while to prize myself off the ceiling! Now, ten months on, my first Medical is on the shelves!!! THE ITALIAN DOCTOR'S BRIDE is in the shops now and available online at www.millsandboon.co.uk and www.amazon.co.uk). I still cannot believe it is actually happening, that I won't wake up any time soon and find it is all a dream. And I have been so lucky and grateful to receive some lovely feedback about the book plus a delightful 4½ star review on Cataromance. All I can hope is that people will enjoy reading my stories as much as I enjoy writing them. I've chosen rural
It's a hard life having to sit and stare at a picture of a yummy man all day long and write romantic and sexy things about him! I have a great “rogues gallery” of photos to call on - (maybe I can share some of them with you one day in a Male on Monday slot!) - and on which I base a look or a mood or a trait for my characters. For delicious Italian, Nic di Angelis in THE ITALIAN DOCTOR'S BRIDE, I used a photo of Spanish national football goalkeeper Iker Casillas. My sadness at having to file his picture away when the manuscript was done was only eased by throwing myself into the next set of characters and getting out a new hero photo to begin work on!
I always fall in love with my heroes and hate to say goodbye to characters who have become like friends by the time their story has been written. Consequently, my second and third Medicals are loosely linked to the first, and I hope readers will enjoy returning to beautiful
How can I be sharing shelf space with some of my very favourite category romance authors whose books I have read and enjoyed and found an inspiration for so long? I feel very unworthy – like the gauche new girl in big school for the first time! - terrified but ecstatic at one and the same time. I'm so grateful to my wonderful editors for making this happen and to all the writing friends I have met and who have been so generous with their advice and so unstinting in their support. Romance writers are a terrific bunch of people.
So many people turn their noses up at the mention of romance novels ... usually the ones who have never read them. They smirk and snigger, they think that the books are either written to a set formula – just insert different character names and locations – or that they are so easy to write they can be bashed off in the lunch hour while busy doing more important things. Nothing could be further from the truth. The genre has developed immensely over time; fresh voices emerge, life changes and the books reflect that. The critics do a disservice not only to those who write romantic novels but to those who read them. Romances are not about feeble-minded women bullied by some over-bearing man. Far from it. Our women are strong, feisty, independent creatures with minds of their own, successful in their walk of life, able to take care of themselves, often having overcome unhappy pasts or difficult circumstances. They don't need a man but when the right one comes along, watch out! The man has to be a match for them, partner and equal, friend as well as lover, and getting together makes each of them stronger rather than weaker.
Romances don't lead the readers to yearn for the impossible dream and an unrealistic man. No, romantic novels are fun and escapist, they open new worlds, often give readers a break from real-life problems and issues that might otherwise offer little relief, they entertain, absorb, make a reader laugh, cry and involve themselves in a heart-warming, moving story. And just because a book might be easy to read does not mean it was easy to write! Quite the opposite. As writers we never stop learning, never stop trying to improve, never take our characters or our readers for granted. Writing is hard, often lonely but it is also a privilege and a real joy.
The Pink Heart Society is a real boost for readers and writers of romance! It is a lot of fun and I, for one, am honoured and grateful to be included and to share in it with so many wonderful, like-minded people.
Thanks Margaret and good luck with your writing future!!!