Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Temptation Tuesday - Writing Friends

Today columnist Kate Walker joins us with a wonderful post on one of the loveliest things about writing - Writing Friends.

I’ve just spent a wonderful weekend in the company of two of my favourite people in the world – Michelle Reid and Anne McAllister. Two of the special friends that this writing career has brought me as an unexpected, but so valued extra bonus from doing this weird job of writing romances. Anne flew in from America, we (that’s the Babe Magnet and me) drove to Manchester airport to meet her and then we drove further North to Michelle’s lovely home overlooking the sea.

We started talking from the moment of ‘Hello’ at the airport – or the garden gate in Michelle’s case - and we talked and talked and talked, pausing occasionally for sleep . . .we were still talking when we had to be practically dragged apart in order to get home or get Anne to catch a train to her next destination. We talked about books, about writing, about heroes, about heroines . . .plots, dreadlines, word counts . . . Between us we have perhaps -eek – 55 years in the writing world. So we have a lot of things to share, to look back , to look forward to.

But we didn’t just talk about writing. We are each individuals and we have such very different life experiences. We also live in very different parts of the country and have very different interests. And being writers, we’re interested in each others’ interests . . . Writers are always greedy to find out, about things, about history, about psychology, about people. It’s what feeds our imaginations after all, fills up the well for the next story we have to write.

And because we all know such different things, we bring new things to each other – or, as so often happens, they bring new ways of seeing things we already know about to us and we venture into something new and intriguing as a result. We make new discoveries by showing our friends things that are commonplace to us and so open new windows, shine new lights on to things that were so famililar we had perhaps almost stopped seeing them.
As an example – Because Anne had never been in that part of the country before, we visited Cartmel and wandered round the beautiful Priory there. To Michelle, this was familiar territory, and I’d been there once or twice before. One of the things that had always intrigued me – and sparked off my novelist’s curiosity – was a particular memorial set on the church wall. A sad, poignant memorial that brought tears to my eyes in the same moment as it made my curiosity itch to find out more.

The inscription reads ‘In memory of Charles the only and beloved child of James and Sarah Goring whose opening life of bright promise was suddenly closed by a most lamentable occurrence on 11th May 1843 in the 9th year of his age.’

It can’t stop there, I’ve always thought. A most lamentable occurrence – What? How? I’ve been intrigued by this for so long – but this time Anne showed me a ways to discover more about it. Her fascination with genealogy give s her knowledge of census records, death certificates etc. So before I knew it we were investigating what the records of the past showed us, and learning more. I don’t yet know what happened to poor little Charles – I’m waiting for his death certificate to find out that. But I learned so much more about him – where he lived, who with . . . a whole new dimension to this intriguing story.

Because that’s what friends do. And writer friends do it so specially well. They spark of ideas, open windows, plant seeds that can grow into wonderful stories, create tendrils of imagination that will sprout and grow and wander in who knows what directions.

I’m talking about Anne and Michelle this time – but it could be anyone – our own Trish Wylie and Abby Green who had revived my passion for Ireland and reminded me of my family’s roots there. Kate Hardy who spends hours talking history with the Magnet so that all I have to do is listen and learn. Holly Jacobs whose fascination with the differences between American English and English English makes me want to look at my own language all over again.
And these are just a few of the people who come to mind when I think of the friends spread far and wide that I connect to by the internet and occasionally, wonderfully, and never for long enough, in person. There are dozens of others. I’ve been very very lucky in making the friends I have.

It’s often said that a writer’s life is a lonely and isolated one but there are many compensations for that in the quick and easy contact that the internet gives us. Because no one really understands a writer like another writer. We are all so much the same in so many ways – and yet so very different in so many others. That’s what makes our writing unique and special – and so very different. And it’s finding out about the similarities and the differences that makes these particular friendships so rewarding.And so tempting. Because once we start talking about writing then it can be hard to stop,. There’s always so much more to debate, so many different ways of looking at things.

And then there are the books – because a book by a friend is always so tempting. Because friends’ voices sound clearly in their work, giving it an extra depth and fascination that is missing in even the most wonderful book written by someone you don’t know.

So I’m sitting here with staring at a pile of books, the authors of which are all known to me. I want to know what Michelle, or Anne, or Abby or Trish or Donna or Liz . . . has written this time. And those books are tempting me away from my own WIP, whispering promises of new discoveries and new lights on even the familiar, well trodden paths of romance. I’m going to have to resist for a few days more until this book is off my desk and on my editor’s – but then I’m going to settle down and indulge. And although my weekend with my friends is over now, once I open their books and start to read, I know I’m going to recognise their voices and it will be almost as if they’re back with me again and I can hear them talking to me in their words.



Kate's latest book, Bedded By the Greek Billionaire is on sale now in the UK (M&B Modern) and will be out in the USA in Presents in November. Romantic Times called this book "a delicious melodrama full of dizzying emotions as the reader goes along with the highs and lows as this couple finds each other again," and they also selected it as one of their Top Picks for November.





...As a big wind-up to our birthday celebrations, Lee Hyat from TOTE BAGS has offered up a WONDERFUL prize. All you need to do is leave a comment today, and one lucky person will win:

The Sheik and the Christmas Bride (SSE) – Susan Mallery

Having Her Boss’s Baby (SSE) – Susan Mallery

Millions To Spare (SSE) – Barbara Dunlop

Overheated (Nascar) – Barbara Dunlop

The Tycoon’s Virgin (HPresents) – Susan Stephens

Desert King, Pregnant Mistress (HPresents) – Susan Stephens

UNDRESSED, A Blaze anthology - Vicki Lewis Thompson, Suzanne Forster, and Alison Kent.

A huge thank you to Lee and these authors for the amazing prize!

And...a big thanks to ALL the guests who participated in our birthday celebrations...and to our readers, for keeping us going, and for loving reading category romance as much as we love writing it!

78 comments:

  1. Aw the celebrations comes to an end. Thanks ladies for a wonderful time.

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  2. Well you made it another year, here is to many more to come


    Mia

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  3. I love this blog so many intresting things mentioned.

    Kimberly

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  4. All those pink gifts were so cute, especially Bruno, cant wait to see next year gifts.

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  5. You ladies sure know how to end with a bang. Well besides with Hugh Jackman of course.

    Beth

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  6. Yea, another great year. Looking forward to more

    Debra

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  7. Thank you all for a great time

    Aviella

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  8. I love reading this blog especially the male on monday.

    Genny

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. What a great prize, fantastic authors. Happy Birthday PHS, a very lovely way to end

    Rosa

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  12. Happy 2nd Birthday PHS.
    I hope this doesn't mean the start of toddler tantrums ;-)

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  13. My how sad the celebrations end, but at least the blog will continue yea.

    Daisy

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  14. Great month ladies. Good Job

    Margret

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  15. Happy Birthday PHS, count downs on for your 3rd.

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  16. Yea a big finale. Happy Birthday PHS

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  17. One thing l loved seeing was that cake. Next yet cant wait to see the three layer cake to celebrate the 3rd birthday.

    Monique

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  18. Thanks ladies for a great time.

    Ginanna

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  19. Pink Heart Society is my favorite blog. I check in at least once a week--okay, I'll admit it--it's usually on a Monday! I love the clever writing; I feel like I'm listening in on a slumber party sometimes. Congrats on the birthday and here's to many more!
    Jill

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  20. I love reading this blog. One my favorites.

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  21. I love this blog, so glad l discovered it on Nicola Marsh Blog.

    Katie

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  22. I love that little mascot. He is my screen saver. Happy brithday PHS

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  23. Time to bring out the champange ladies, here is to another sucessful year

    Daniella

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  24. All good things must come to an end.

    Sally

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  25. Great prize! Happy Birthday, PHS! Here's wishing you and the little pink guy many more!

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  26. Happy Birthday to the cute pink guy and all the authors here!

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  27. Another lovely Bday celebration. Well done

    Michelle

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  28. Happy Birthday PHS

    Rachel

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  29. Thank you ladies for some wonderful discussions

    Pam

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  30. Such a wonderful exerience it has been interacting with many of my favourite authors

    Carol

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  31. Happy birthday PHS. Kate lovely post

    Maxine

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  32. I enjoyed seeing all those pink presents. Next year will be even better l am sure.

    Pauline

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  33. Happy Bithday PHS, wishing you continued success in all your endevours.

    Catherine

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  34. Great post Kate. Happy Birthday PHS. I love the blog. :)

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  35. Happy Bithday PHS, all the best ladies.

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  36. Great post kate, Time to blow out the candles now that the end has come.(LOL)

    Meg

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  37. Happy 2nd birthday. I love this site, it's bookmarked in my favorites and I know I'll always enjoy the different posts.


    Chris.

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  38. Happy 2nd birthday. It has been so much fun. It is sad that the party has to end. Here is to many more birthdays to come.

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  39. I really enjoy this blog, it has introduced me to so many new books and authors. Thanks alot

    Julie

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  40. Happy birthday PHS

    Brianna

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  41. Congratulations on TWO great years PHS, and best wishes for more.
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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  42. lt has been a great Month, Happy Birthday PHS

    Sarah

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  43. Continue doing a great job ladies.

    Anna-lee

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  44. Happy birthday.

    I'm desperate to know what happened to young Charles now.

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  45. Happy Birthday PHS, May you have a Centenary Celebration one day.

    Esther

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  46. Happy Birthday PHS, Mondays are my favourite blog, such hotties you all pick.

    Rebecca

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  47. Happy Birthday Pink Heart Society.

    Belinda

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  48. Fridays are my favourite, flim review

    Candace

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  49. Happy Birthday Pink Heart Society. Thanks for inviting us to celebrate with you.

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  50. Happy Second Birthday!!!! This is a great blog.

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  51. Happy Birthday PHS. Best Wishes.

    Lucy

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  52. Thanks for all the great discussions this month.

    Miranda

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  53. Happy Birthday PHS. I really enjoy this blog

    Amanda

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  54. lovely gifts for the little guy; what will next year bring!!!

    thanks Lee for the big bang gift at the end.

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  55. Happy 2nd Birthday PHS, and thanks for the chance to win such an amazing gift.

    Mary

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  56. Great post kate. I love Michelle, and Anne books too.

    Heidi

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  57. Happy Birthday PHS. Your blog is a gem.

    Genivieve

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  58. Lovely way to end the celebrations. Thanks so much Lee

    Molly

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  59. I also check here often...

    Thanks for all those great columns!

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  60. What a prize... It is fit for the end of the month of celebration!

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  61. Thanks for this highly entertaining blog... may it stay for years to come :-)

    PS: Great prize!!

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  62. Happy birthday PHS

    Vanessa

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  63. A very fitting end. Thanks Lee.

    Cachet

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  64. I love this blog, such cool topics discussed.

    Laura

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  65. Its been a fun month. Thanks PHS ladies.

    Susan

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  66. A priceless offering, thank Lee for the selection of great authors.

    Ashley

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  67. Its been a great birthday month.

    Gwen

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  68. Love the post Kate, friends are the best.

    Dakota

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  69. Happy Birthday PHS

    Frannie

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  70. Wishing you many more Birthdays PHS

    Nicolette

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  71. Happy birthday, continue doing a great job

    Betty

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  72. Thanks for bringing readers and authors together PHS

    Melody

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  73. What a wonderful birthday celebration! I enjoyed it very much.

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  74. Lovely post, Kate!

    You know, if this whole writing thing went tits-up tomorrow, I couldn't regret it, because I've found so many humblingly wonderful friends through this odd obsession... :-)

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