‘Just because I’m too old to do it, doesn’t mean I don’t want to remember it.’
was a comment Kate Walker, author of 65 romances received from a 96 year old avid Mills & Boon reader.
Mr Mills and Mr Boon established their publishing company in London in 1908. They took on Kate Walker as one of their authors in 1984. M&B is now multi-national company selling 150,000 ebooks in addition to 130 million traditional tree-books. Owned now by Harper Collins, M&B retains the well-known Harlequin name. Listening to Kate; their stereotypes could not be further from the truth.
Category romances are where M&B have made their name. They focus solely on the couple. At only 55,000 words, there is no room for anyone else’s story.
Readers of romance are ‘real little sadists’ says Kate. They expect a ‘Black moment’ when it seems the couple have no hope. But, they also demand an emotionally satisfying (happy) ending. The heroine could be as shady as the hero. He must have a vulnerability. Both characters must be ‘real’. The reader wants to ‘become’ them. For darker conflict; Kate has used Post Natal Psychosis. The hero rudely taking the heroine’s parking space is not acceptable!
Kate knows that if a title sells well in the USA, all the international countries will buy it. In Japan books are also turned into Manga (as we all know the Japanese do not deny themselves the pleasure of comics just because they reach adulthood)
As well as lecturing, Kate is a reader for the Romantic Novelists New Writers’ Scheme. She wrote her acclaimed Twelve-point Guide to Writing Romance in response to requests for advice and a desire to reach all those that were unable to attend her workshops.
The portrayal of the passion between the couple whether that is emotional or physical must hook the M&B reader. The writer must be in love with their hero and portray him so that the reader, despite themselves, falls in love with him too. If you can achieve this relationship, you are onto a winner.
Kate writes ‘what she wants to write.’
Report by Lisa Nightingale