This week's Thursday Talk-time PHS ed Ally Blake lets us in on what it's really like to be hounded by the press. Well not really hounded, or even lauded, so much as being lucky enough to get a little! I mean what with Angelina preggers with twins and Katie Holmes, well doing whatever it is Katie Holmes does, a romance author should be so lucky. Right?
As I'm sure you've heard this year is the 100th Anniversary of Mills and Boon. As such this year many of us have had to do lots more press than faceless authors ever get the chance to do without winning a major award, or it being Valentines Day. Some writers cringe from the idea and refuse to answer emails, phone calls, doorbells for fear they might be asked to string a sentence together in person for a journo. And let me tell you why...
In the past I've been featured in articles in which the photographs are horrendous; flat hair, bags under eyes - nothing to do with me of course, must have been dodgy cameras ;). In one article I came across sounding like a football player stalker. In another anyone who didn't know must have thought that my fabulously supportive hubby was a total meathead when it came to my career. It can be enough to make a girl come out in a cold sweat before opening the newspaper to read what she's "said".
But on the flipside, it can really be a lot of fun!
A couple of days ago I did a radio spot giving a romance author's take on "relationships" which will air on Aussie Breakfast radio on Mix101 on June 24th.
A couple of weeks back I was lucky enough to appear in a glossy Australian magazine called New Idea. Katie Holmes may well have had the cover (big shock!) but pages 100-101 were mine. All mine! (You can check them out here...)
And it was a really lovely article. The reporter Jo and her boyfriend Oscar the photographer came around to my place and spent a really nice few hours chatting about life, the universe, and everything. They were both gems. Interesting, well-travelled, dry, warm. My hubby and I would have them over to dinner again in a shot. And the article they put together? It was kind, thoughtful, detailed, and really me. And I have already asked Oscar to marry me after his brilliant air-brushing of my six weeks post baby self ;).
This article followed hot on the heels of an equally nicely handled interview on the telly on a show called A Current Affair, pop my name into YouTube and you can see it. And it was just as much fun to shoot. I mean at one stage the sound guy held the boom mike in one arm and my six week old in the other to stop her chattering when we were filming.
I couldn't have asked for nicer experiences all round!
But you know why I really keep going back for more?
In the hopes more people will pick up one of my books? Of course! But the truth is, for me, being able to put a modern day, no pink boa, no pink hair, no pink miniture dog image to the term 'romance author' is even more important.
It's like this here society of the pink hearts. When Ms Trish Wylie came up with the idea, she built the touchstone from which I only hope so many more readers and lovers of what I do for a living can find solidarity in that love.
I'm really proud of what I'm hawking. 'Cause I am lucky, and challenged, and busy, and paid, and fulfilled. And if I need to get out of my tracky pants and put on some lippy, if I need to pull my hair out of it's decade old hair band and give it a blow-dry, if I need to take a gamble that the story of my life will be tweaked and preened for the sake of a few column inches of someone els'e take, then I'll do it.
Because I love my job, I love category romance, and I think it's important that people out there know it.
So being that in this blogazine of ours I am an editor;), I'll shout my message from the rooftops of blogdom: I am romance writer, hear me roar!
And a big happy birthday to Mills and Boon. Thanks for all the happy endings.
Love and kisses,
Ally's latest book, THE MAGNATE'S INDECENT PROPOSAL is out next month in Australia and New Zealand as a Sexy Sensation.
You can grab an early bird copy online now from either eHarlequin.com.au or for those of you in the UK from millsandboon.co.uk! And across the pond in North America this will be Ally's very first Harlequin Presents release in September.
Check out an excerpt from the book here...