First off just a quick heads up to say I'm over at The Pink Heart Society to talk about the wonderfulness that is Toy Story 3, so do come over and have a natter about it... And if you haven't seen it yet, get ye to a cinema pronto, it's the best Toy Story yet IMHO.
I also recall that I said I would pop back here and report on the Brent Library Workshop I did last Friday (can't believe it's been a week already). An astonishing 25 (or so) people attended and we had a good old chin-wag about the ins and outs of writing a Mills and Boon.
As with many people I see at these workshops not everyone had read a recent M&B and not all of them were romance readers (amazingly there were four blokes there!), but they were all enthusiastic writers and had some very intelligent questions to ask about everything from character-building, to conflict, to story arcs, to how to make a living as a writer right through to what my work day is like...
I had intended to use a very glamorous Powerpoint lecture with Daniel Craig prominently featured in the 'alpha male' section but unfortunately the facilities weren't available on the night (probably a good thing as I'm a Powerpoint virgin), so I stuck to the body of the lecture and embellished (rather a lot) with stories about my own writing experiences. These included some (I hope) entertaining anecdotes about how to tell your mum your first book is going to be called "Bedded by a Bad Boy" with a completely straight face; how to get inspiration out of a wet camping holiday in Cornwall; and what to do when your 14 year old son gives out copies of your book to two of his teenage girl friends without your knowledge and you then have to ring their mums to explain that your books aren't strictly speaking written for children! Should add that the wonderful romance minx (and extremely talented aspiring MH author) Lorraine Wilson showed up to give me moral support. So thanks for that Lorraine!
All in all I think a very informative evening was had by all (including me!) and a lot of myths were dispelled about what M&B is all about in the 21st century. I got some wonderful feedback and I'm hopeful that a few of the attendees are planning to enter the New Voices comp, so my work is done!
Best question of the night? What do your sons think of your books? Answer: Not a lot actually as they'd rather have their toenails pulled out than read romantic fiction... But maybe if I had a hero who played for Spurs, a zombie or two, or a few Pokemon in them... Now there's a thought!