Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Kate’s 25th party, guest blogger #17 – Jenny Haddon

I’m so pleased that today’s guest can make it. She also attended my very first party – the launch for my first Medical Romance, A Baby of Her Own, at Ottakars (now Waterstones) in Norwich back in November 2002. It was well above and beyond the call of duty, because it was a stormy day and some of the roads were closed and the trains were delayed… and she also couldn’t get home to London that night as all the trains were cancelled. Naturally, when she asked me to recommend a hotel, the answer was, ‘You’re coming home with us!’ My daughter (then just about two) remembers her as ‘the lady with lovely hair’.

Jenny Haddon has been the chair of the RNA for the last couple of years, and when I first met her in person she was in an organising role. (Yes, you know what's going to come next.) She was the organiser of the Mills and Boon author lunch, and very kindly took me under her wing when I was a bit overawed. (Sitting me next to Kate Walker was an excellent move... as you'll hear later.)

Jenny’s great company. She’s very, VERY clever (an Oxford graduate but you have to stick pins in her to make her admit it: she has no airs and graces. Oh, and she floored Jeremy Paxman on University Challenge, so an awful lot of people will love her forever for that), as well as erudite and charming. She’s a real champion of romance and she argues her case brilliantly. (See if you want to know more.) She writes lovely romances for M&B as Sophie Weston (and she pushes boundaries, too). She’s co-written a guide to punctuation for adults who want to know why as well as where to put the damn things, Getting the Point. She’s also the person who bought me the feather boa Sarah Morgan referred to… because she overheard me saying that I’d always wanted one. It just arrived in the post, no fuss, with the most lovely little note – because Jenny’s one of these people who notices things and does something about it. And I’m proud to call her one of my friends.

So here’s Jenny Haddon:

I first met Kate Hardy on the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s cyber chapter, when she set a fiendish quiz for a charity fund raiser. I realised then that she was a woman of wide interests and absolutely no restraint – just the recipe for a successful writer.

But even so, her first book, A Baby of Her Own, blew me away. It had everything: a strong intrinsic and multi-layered conflict between hero and heroine, great characters, utterly believable world, page turnability by the bucket load and that Extra Something.

It’s really difficult to say what the Extra Something is but, by golly, you know it when you see it. I did when the heroine, Jodie, gets her courage together and risks telling Sam that she loves him and thinks he loves her: ‘Unless that was just –‘ her voice wobbled ‘-- wishful thinking.’ Realising that they have to talk somewhere where they won’t be interrupted, Sam agrees to have dinner at her place. And then Jodie gets into a flat panic about cooking.

Oh yes, I thought, there it is. The Extra Something. Our human ability to brave the big stuff and collapse over trivialities. Been there, done that.

The smack of real life, which makes the happy ending so satisfying – that’s what Kate’s novels have had, right from that first one. And they just get better and better. So I’m really looking forward to Breakfast at Giovanni’s.

Happy 25th Kate. And many more.

GIVEAWAY: Jenny’s giving away a duo about two step sisters, The Millionaire’s Daughter and The Bridesmaid’s Secret and a short story collection, Sexy Shorts for Christmas. (There’s also a free read on her website - and I really recommend this)

GIVEAWAY QUESTION: What do you think is that Extra Something in the work of your favourite writers?


juliemt said...

Hi, Jenny!
How wonderful to see you here! I am a huge Sophie Weston fan and I can't wait for your next book!

For me, that extra something is voice. Every single romance writer has got a different voice and the way they use it to take risks whilst satisfying readers' criteria of what makes a good romance makes it all worthwhile for the reader.

Nell said...

The extra something is hard to define. It's in the dialogue, the believability of the characters and the authors ability to take you someplace else.

Ray-Anne said...

Hello Jenny. For me it is the way the author takes the heroine on a journey which is going to be tough - where she will have to make the hardest choices of her life. Comprimise her goals even. And do so for the man she wants to be with. To take the risk. The self-revelation scene has to be a killer. Plus - reveal who she is through the humour and humanity of small details as she makes those choices.
As for the hero? Tenderness. The things men do to show they love when they can't say the words. Wow. Nobody said it was easy.

Jan Jones said...

That extra something? For me, it's if I care about the characters and really, really need to know what happens on every single, damn-and-blasted, next page.

Anonymous said...

That extra something for me is description and dialogue. If I can actually envision the place the story is set, or what the H/h are saying as being what a normal couple or couple to be

CrystalG said...

For me, the extra something is when the characters are vibrant and believable and I am swept up into the story.

cas2ajs said...

That extra something for me is when the author makes the characters come alive for me and makes me care about what happens to them. I forget I'm reading and "see" the action of the story in my imagination, almost like watching a movie in my head. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone but me. lol.


lidia said...

The extra something for me is enticing me to read the entire book in one sitting. Getting me so engrossed in the lives of the h/H that I can't wait to read through to the end and see how they resolve their issues/problems/misconceptions, etc... It is what makes an author an "auto buy" for me and has me waiting impatiently for the next book to be published.

KimW said...

The extra something for me is the dialog. I love stories that have great dialog between the hero and heroine. Where the charm is just oozing from the hero and his words make you tingle. lol He's so hard to resist that the pages just keep turning and turning. lol

JOYE said...

The authors I like to read tell the story in a unique way and I think alot fall short when it comes to the dialogue between the characters. I think this makes a book stand out as a hit.

Kimberly L said...

That extra something is the author themselves. Authors have that special umph that makes their books unique and keeps you so intuned to the book. They have a different feel on things and that's what makes the books differ from the others.

robynl said...

the extra something is the way the author gets the reader so involved in the story that one seems to be right there with the characters and their journey.

Becky said...

I'd have to say the voice of the story. Each author has their own writing style therefore there is a little difference in the voice of the writing. It's the way the author sculpts the pages with all the emotion, action and dialogue within her book that makes it special.