Monday, February 10, 2014

Manga Makeover

I'm a bit excited that my Rita winning Harlequin Romance, The Marriage Miracle, has been issued as a manga ebook translated from the Japanese into English.

I love the way they still read from back to front.

This was one of those magic books that grew out of an earlier romance. From the moment Matty Lang, opened her mouth in A Wife on Paper she was giving me trouble.

 She flirted with the hero, she duffed up the bad guys, she demanded attention. The only way I could get her to behave, stay in the background, was to promise her a story of her own and after that she did exactly what was required of her, providing a solid prop for my heroine’s motivation, and no more.

"Okay," she said, when I’d finished her cousin’s story. "Let’s start." But there was problem.  Matty is in a wheelchair and since I don’t write fairy stories, there would be no magic wand to make that problem go away.

Where would I find a hero worthy of her, a man with heart enough to see beyond her disability to the woman? Where would I find the words to draw in the reader, encourage her to risk the journey, take a leap of faith?

Worse, it was going to be seriously Hard Work. It would involve research (which is not my favourite thing) and an intensity of emotional input that I knew would drain me dry.

Matty, however, was not the kind of character to let some whining author stand in her way and finally I tentatively broached the idea with my editor. I’ll be honest, here; I was hoping that she would veto it, say, "This is not for us…" Rescue me so that I could go back to Matty with a clear conscience, say, "I’d do it in a heartbeat, honestly. It’s her fault…" No such luck. I got the go ahead, but I was still holding back.

I wrote A Family of His Own. It won the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romance Prize, was named Best Harlequin Romance of the year by Romantic Times and nominated for a RITA.
Matty applauded politely, then said, ‘Right, I’ve been patient, now it’s my turn.’

I wrote Her Wish-List Bridegroom; single fathers, single mothers, cheating boyfriends, a cat called Archie. Lots of emotion in this one. For Juliet. Matty hated Juliet. ‘The woman’s a wimp,’ she said. ‘She didn’t have a father and her boyfriend stole her job. Big deal. It’s My Turn!

I wrote A Nanny for Keeps. Emotion, humour, a six-year-old diva, chickens… Matty threw a pot of her favourite purple nail polish at the back of my head and said, ‘Enough with the livestock. IT’S MY TURN!’

I said, "Give me a break. I’ll get to you once I done the "feud" story…’ But she was right. It was her turn. Having a great character raring to go, however, is not enough. And that’s where the magic started. With the fairies. Day-glo bright, the Forest Fairies flew down onto the page and set about ruining Sebastian Wolseley’s day, year, life…

I wrote a whole chapter about Sebastian and the fairies (still prevaricating) before I stopped fooling around and started again with the belated blessing of the marriage of the hero and heroine of A Wife on Paper. The guests have moved into the marquee to start the dancing, only Matty and Sebastian remain outside in the garden, detached, apart from the crowd, alone. Matty, because, well obviously dancing doesn’t hold much appeal for her. Sebastian because weddings come next to bottom on his list of fun events (and he’s already been to a funeral that day.)

Matty interrupts his depressed contemplation of the contents of his champagne glass with, ‘You look as if you could do with something stronger.’

Sebastian, having a seriously bad day, is in no mood for a flirtation and somewhat sourly replies: ‘Do you tap dance for an encore?’

She lifted her eyebrows, but she didn’t smile. ‘Tap dance?’

‘You’re not the cabaret? A mind reading act, perhaps?’ He heard the biting sarcasm coming from his mouth and wished he’d walked. He had no business inflicting his black mood on innocent bystanders. Or sitters.

‘It doesn’t take a mind-reader to see that you’re not exactly focussed on this whole ‘til-death-us-do-part’ thing,’ she countered, still not smiling, but not storming off, offended, either. ‘You’ve been holding your glass for so long that the contents must be warm. In fact I’d go as far as to suggest that you’d look more at home at a wake than at a reception to celebrate the blessing of a marriage.’

‘Definitely a mind-reader,’ he said, finally abandoning the barely touched glass on her table. ‘Although I have a feeling that the wake I’ve just left will by now be making this party look sedate.’

That’s so bad! Having been drawn into conversation, he tries to escape by embarrassing her. Haven’t you been paying attention, Sebastian Wolseley? This is Matty Lang and you are so stuffed!

The Marriage Miracle is available in a Manga edition at all digital retailers or on Amazon
Or, if you prefer your books straight, it's here


LeAnne Bristow said...

I loved this post! Amazing how sometimes a character won't let you go. I can't wait to read Maggie's story!

Liz Fielding said...

Matty was very special, LeAnne. :)