Thursday, 28 April 2011

Love With a Capital L

On this special Eve, a sincere wish of good luck to every wedding couple, for marriage is still held by many to be the formula for happiness. Authors write about romance because their belief in Love is strong. At the heart of a cracking good Love Story, there is the couple who defy all obstacles to achieve their desire to be with one another eternally. The royal wedding this year sheds enchantment over our TV screens and flows out to the world, through the lens of the cameras. It's a moment in time, for Love and Lovers, captured in history for all to remember. My husband painted this picture for me when we married. It told of a midsummer Love and our dream of marrying under a canopy of trees in a bluebell wood or perhaps at Huddlesbury Head on the sea shore, late on a summer's night. Luckily our Love survived without nature's enchantment - or perhaps because of it. So here's to Love and Lovers everywhere, and may they all be blessed with eternal magic, because we all know it's Love (with a capital L) that makes us all truly eternal!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Dead easy...right?

Many moons ago, in the land that time forgot, when lost in thrall to my very first attempt with M&B historicals, I read Mary Wibberley, a dedicated Mills & Boon author who wrote a How To book, that surely must be a classic. To mention her name now still gives me the goose bumps; the anticipation, excitement, hope and youth all mixed together in a heady cocktail of oh-how-much-I-want to be published! Along with her marvellous advice, came the 13 rules of how romance/plot/character should evolve. I wonder if anyone else remembers them? If my memory serves me well (which could be in doubt) they went something like this;

13 step structure for romance plots

1. Heroines social identity is destroyed

2. She reacts antagonistically to hero.

3. Hero responds ambiguously to her.

4. She interprets this as sexual interest.

5. She responds to his behaviour with anger or coldness

6. Hero retaliates by punishing her

7. They are physically and/or emotionally separated

8. Hero treats heroine tenderly

9. She responds warmly to his act of tenderness

10. She reinterprets his ambiguous behaviour as the product of previous hurt

11. Hero proposes his love for/demonstrates his unwavering commitment to heroine with a supreme act of tenderness.

12. Heroine responds sexually and emotionally

13. Her identity is restored.

Hmm, pretty straightforward, I thought (then). Let's have a bash. 2011, and I'm not quite so certain!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Worth the cost: Researching

For any historical author, and most contemporary set writers, too, researching has to be done to make the book read as authentic as possible.
The smallest item can seem suddenly very interesting, and also extremely difficult to find the history about! Hours can be spent pouring over library books and the Internet searching for the right answer. We tear our hair out wondering if a certain item was invented and widely used in our period, etc. it can be terribly frightening, but also very rewarding when we do find the correct answer. I think it is very important for historical authors to get the period they write – right! However, that said, we are only human and we make mistakes no matter how hard we try not to. We can’t know everything (although we like to think we do) and that’s where different types of researching comes into it.

Sometimes, if we are lucky, we can travel to the places we set our books. Visiting castles, manor houses, streets and landscapes all help us to ‘see’ the place as our characters do. Of course over the years places and buildings change, but we have imaginations, good ones as writers do, and we can see how it would look through our characters’ eyes. taking numerous photos of one building, hill, village or street becomes common place for a writer.

Aside from traveling to a place, we can use our TVs and watch documentaries and movies to help set the mood. One of the best DVDs I have for my research is a walking guide to places around the Calder valley and Hebden Bridge area of West Yorkshire. Thankfully, I have been to that area myself, but if I hadn't just by watching the dvd I could see the steepness of the walks, the hills, etc, and that information would help write the book.

Research books are one of my favourite expenses. There is nothing like buying a large research book filled with interesting information and beautiful pictures to capture my imagination. I can never have enough of them. I sigh over them like some women sigh over a gorgeous pair of Jimmy Choo shoes or a Gucci handbag. Tragic, I know. But I don't want the cure.