Thursday, July 12, 2007

Kate’s 25th party, guest blogger #18 – Lilian Darcy

I’m delighted to welcome Lilian Darcy to the party today – a fellow Medical Romance author, and she also writes for Silhouette Special Edition and mainstream. Her new book Café du Jour is out shortly, available in August 2007 from (I have cover and title envy.) Lilian’s an inspiration. She’s practically the same age as I am, and she must be on book 60 or 70 by now. Not to mention to the fact that she’s a brilliant seamstress (just go and check out her photos on her website – beautiful needlework). Again, she’s the other side of the world from me, but in the age of the internet that’s no longer a barrier… and, as with my other Aussie mates, when we get to meet in person there will be major partying.

So here’s Lilian:

Mostly in the romance-writing community we don’t believe in trashing other people’s books in public. We know too well that one reader’s throw-across-the-room bad book contains another reader’s life-changing character journey or most fascinating historical time period ever or blissfully relaxing bath-time escape.

Sometimes, though, I do stage the odd private rebellion. I refused to buy “The Da Vinci Code” when everyone was talking about its domination of the best-seller charts, not because I thought it would be a bad book but because, dammit, enough people had bought it, already! Instead, I went out and bought a modest little book I’d never heard of by an author whose name I didn’t know, because she probably needed the sale a lot more than Dan Brown did.

And very, very occasionally, I will trash a book in public. I’m about to do so right now. The book in question is “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. Let me say right upfront, I have not read this book. Once again, I don’t think this author needs my contribution to her income or to her sell-through percentage. No matter how well-written the book might be and how much it might inspire people to think positively about their lives, however, I think that the central idea it presents is so pernicious it amounts to an emotional assault on all of us.

The central thesis of this book and similar philosophies packaged in motivational sessions, self-help books, etc. is that if you want something enough, you’ll get it, and if you don’t get it, it’s because you didn’t want it enough. Tell this to a couple struggling with infertility, tell this to someone whose child has cancer or is missing or disabled or dead, tell this to a rape victim or a refugee or a starving family, tell it to anyone who is about to lose someone they love and who - passionately, with every fibre of their being - does not want this loss to happen. It is an insult to the human race to reduce our lives to this kind of equation, or to say that visualising material wealth is going to bring us material wealth and that this is somehow important and fabulous and the worthwhile result of a spiritual quest. It’s not!

I’m not going to go on at length about it. Enough people have already done that in Amazon reviews, etc. But I am going to talk a bit about how “The Secret” relates to Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance, as well as to my upcoming novel CAFÉ DU JOUR (not a Medical Romance) which will be out in August from Harlequin Australia. If you’re an Australian or New Zealand reader, you can buy it in bookstores. If you’re elsewhere, you can get it via

Although I wrote CAFÉ DU JOUR well before “The Secret” ever appeared, it covers some of the same ground – from the opposite perspective, naturally. The main character, Susie, a 28-year-old professional chef, is facing unwanted change on several important fronts and is under no illusion that if she wants something enough, it will fall in her lap. Her charismatic but morally slippery boyfriend decides to run a personal growth workshop that essentially makes the same promise as “The Secret” – you can change yourself and your life just by wanting to... and by paying him a sizeable sum for his wisdom. He ropes Susie into the workshop as his reluctant shill, but the whole thing backfires in a series of darkly funny, poignant and very real developments which, counterpointed with Susie’s problems at her restaurant and her changing relationship with her recently injured sister, finally do lead to the kind of positive growth and positive outlook on change that she has been striving for.

As an added bonus, CAFÉ DU JOUR showcases my ongoing obsession with good food and bad wedding dresses :o)

Meanwhile, I think one of the things we Medical Romance authors love about our line is the scope it offers for giving readers an upbeat read with plenty of fantasy elements, while at the same time staying grounded in reality. In Medical Romance, the answers aren’t always easy, and positive outcomes are often achieved only after hard work, in contrast to the glib solutions and false promises offered in “The Secret.”

Kate, you certainly know all about hard work, in getting to the major milestone of your 25th book. Congratulations, a big hug, and good luck with the next 25!

Lilian Darcy

GIVEAWAY: Lilian is offering a Café du Jour t-shirt and some books (see her booklist on her website!)

GIVEAWAY QUESTION: What do you love most about Medical Romance?


Ray-Anne said...

Medical Romance? Intensity of emotion in a highly traumatic context. Characters pushed to make decisions affecting other people's lives while struggling with their own issues. I wish I could capture that stunning combination of external conflict and deep emotional connection in my own writing. LOL Ray-Anne

Liz Fielding said...

Fabulous cover, Lillian! And Medical Romances? While they have that wonderful warmth of a "falling in love" romance, they are grounded in reality, in the real world.

Nell said...

The romance stays central but they are in the world with other people, interacting and reacting around them more than the other lines.

AA said...

Hi Lilian. Cant wait to go and get me a copy of Cafe de Jour. You are such an inspiration.

Well said re The Secret.


Kate Hardy said...

I love reading and writing them because of the 'real world' feel - the secondaries and the community spirit that surround and support the romance.

Back to my Catalan consultant...

Fiona Lowe said...

Lilian, I had a moment where I thought you were channeling me regarding 'The Secret!' I think I had a soapbox moment at a social function about it recently...and I couldn't even blame the wine:-)

Congrats on Cafe de Jour! The cover is fab.

KimW said...

Welcome, Lilian! I was always a big fan of the soap opera General Hospital ever since I was a wee little one. The Medical romance line reminds me of that. There's just something about the medical field that interests me. I like all the emotion found in the stories. You get drama, tension and a love story all in one book.

CrystalG said...

I like medical romances because they are grounded in real world events and give you a romantic journey.

Joye said...

I read all kinds of books and the medical ones seem really interesting.

cas2ajs said...

I like medical romances because I have no medical background and I find it interesting to get a glimpse of everyday life in that field. And I always end up learning a little something I didn't know . . . which is always a good thing.


Kimberly L said...

I love the drama. Like General Hospital and Er. It's got drama, suspense and romance all wrapped into one book.

robynl said...

I love medical romances; there is something about curing an illness with romance all wrapped up in one that does it for me.

Becky said...

What I love most about medical romances is actually 2 things.

1. The emotion that leaps off the page. It's impossible to have stories about anything medical and not have emotion. The trauma and drama that you find in medical romances get you involved so quickly and the setting makes for the perfect scene of falling in love with men who are so passionate about what they do.

2. The Men! Who wouldn't love a man who is strong and caring about everyone. It takes a special kind of person to be a doctor. And men that have the courage and confidence to make the decision they have to every day without hesitating draws me to them. To have the patience and strength to face the fact that you are handling someone's life in your own hands and that your decision will impact the rest of that person's life while still being caring and gentle has got to be tough. Men like this are unique which more than makes medical romances worth reading.