FIRST THE GOOD NEWS…
I had some lovely news on Sunday morning – along with the flowers and cards for Mothering Sunday; an email from the organisers of the Colorado Award of Excellence competition telling me that WEDDED IN A WHIRLWIND is one of five finalists in the Short Contemporary category of the competition. You’ll find a full list of finalists in all categories here within the next few days.
WEDDED was a very special book for me. The heroine, Manda, made her first appearance in Reunited: Marriage in a Million. She was not, on first acquaintance, a sympathetic character. She was pretty horrible to Belle, the heroine in that book, but she was sharp, lively, clever and I enjoyed her somewhat biting sense of humour. A woman like that had to have a back story and by the end of the book her brother, Ivo, in revealing his own desperate pain, gave us some clues. By the end of that book I really liked Manda and I wanted her, like him, to have a happy ending.
It wasn’t an easy book to write. Most of it takes place in the dark as Manda and Jago, two strangers caught up in a life-threatening situation, learn to know one another, sharing their secrets, shedding anger, guilt, pain as they reached for the light. For life. For the future.
It became a book that roused some controversy on the eHarlequin members board, too. One reader suggested that I had “chickened out” of addressing a subject that had become the “elephant in the room” in romantic fiction because my heroine lost the baby she was carrying before she had finally confronted whether or not to go ahead with the abortion she was contemplating. For me the abortion issue was an irrelevance and anyone who read Manda’s story deeply enough to understand her would have known that she could never have gone through with it. She was a woman who had been starved of love. A baby would have given her that – and unlike its wretched father – given it unconditionally. No contest.
It was guilt at the knowledge that she’d even contemplated an abortion that caused her mental breakdown. And that was, for me, the last taboo. The fact that she’d had a breakdown and been “sectioned” -- locked away for her own safety; that although she was academically brilliant and on the surface had made a full recovery, had no trust in her own emotions.
I loved her vulnerability, felt her pain, rejoiced in her awakening. I’m totally thrilled and touched that readers and booksellers in Colorado felt the same way.
AND THEN SOME MORE GOOD NEWS…
I guess that hitting the #1 spot when your book is being given away for free is not something to shout about, nevertheless I was still as pleased as punch to see THE BRIDE’S BABY #1 in Contemporary Romance Kindle downloads over the weekend. Such moments are fleeting but can still lift the spirits. Now if only I could manage to do the same on the Waldenbooks list the way that my fabulous colleague Caroline Anderson did with her Harlequin Romance last month you’d hear me celebrating in Queensland!
Many congratulations to new Harlequin Romance author, Golden Heart finalist, Barbara Wallace, who signed this week. It’s the sign of a vigorous series when new authors regularly join the line-up and this is the second in the last twelve months.
More details when her first book is published.
A reminder that SECRET BABY, SURPRISE PARENTS is about to hit the stores in April in both the US and the UK.
The tragedies of infertility, of broken homes, touches nearly everyone.
SBSP is a story of healing, forgiveness, sacrifice and courage – with the occasional giggle thrown in. There’s an taster on my website, and Author Sound Relations will be running a competition on their newsletter in April – with a $50 Amazon voucher up for grabs – and it’s already available online at Mills and Boon and Harlequin