I first met Michelle Styles on the Harlequin boards – oh, that must be nearly 10 years ago now, and she gave me a gorgeous lemon tart recipe for ‘The Heart Consultant’s Lover’ (known in the book as the hero’s Aunty Michelle’s lemon tart – well, I had to give her a namecheck!). I was so thrilled when her first M&B Historical was accepted, especially as everyone said that M&B would never do Romans. Michelle’s book changed their minds. (And her Vikings are excellent as well.)
Michelle’s been a great friend to me over the years, always there to listen when life’s a bit bumpy. And she’s a total foodie, so you can guess what we talk about. Tea gets exchanged (in fact, she bought me my posh glass teapot for my birthday, which means I can take out the leaves in the little basket when it’s exactly how I like it). Ditto recipes. And music. And she’s been a brilliant support to me in the Kate Unlardy Project (not to mention an inspiration with her own weight loss and exercise routine). And have I mentioned a shared love of history, and quirky little facts? Whenever she sends me a link to a website, I know it’s going to be something I’ll really enjoy. And one of the things I love about her books is the little facts she manages to slip in. (And she never minds me grilling her about them. In fact, she can normally guess what’s in the ‘about your book…’ email.)
Anyway. Over to Michelle:
Kate Hardy is celebrating her 50th book and I was ever so delighted to contribute to the celebrations. There is a copy of my latest His Unsuitable Viscountess up for grabs to one commentator.
Sometimes people come into your life for a reason and Kate has enriched my life beyond measure. She is in the words of EB White – one of the rarest of all combinations – a true friend who is also an excellent writer.
About ten years ago, I first ventured on Harlequin.com and tentatively posted on the M&B editor thread. Kate quickly took pity on me and invited me over to the Medical thread as she pointed out they were very friendly. It was thanks in part to this friendliness that when a few days later I received my first form R that I knew I wanted to continue and to be a part of the Community.
Kate’s first book came out and I can clearly remember the thrill of buying a book where I *knew* the author. I also remember how much I enjoyed reading it. Now whenever one of Kate’s books comes out, it goes to straight to the top of my pile. I will not go on about the supper I burnt because of her Posh doc book or the having the kettle boil dry because of her first Mod X book. I have learnt that when I read a Kate Hardy, I have to make sure I have time and nothing on the stove! I also have to make sure I hide the books until I am finished because if my daughter is home, she grabs the latest and will not let me read it until she is done. There is just something about the way Kate writes that wraps its way about your heart strings and you know you are in for a good few hours read. Thankfully Kate is prolific writer and I have been able to lose myself in 50 books. (Her latest is full of Kate’s trademark warmth – I finished it last night.)
When I sold my first book to Harlequin Mills and Boon, Kate welcomed me to my first author’s lunch. She could clearly remember what it was like to arrive and meet all these authors whose books you had loved in person for the first time and how nerve wracking it is. Kate is like that – thoughtful and considerate, particularly with little things. One of the reasons why Kate’s books are so full of heart is that she herself is.
Our friendship has grown throughout the years as I know she is one of the very few people who gets my need for obscure facts and quirks of history. She understands what is like to have a wide range of interests. And her ability to give a light bulb moment is unsurpassed. My one regret is that Kate lives too far away and I seldom get to see her in person. There again. Perhaps this is a good thing as we would be talking instead of writing.
Anyway, here is to your 50 books, Kate and many more. Your readers demand it!
You can find out more about Michelle on her website http://www.michellestyles.co.uk, read her blog at http://michellestyles.blogspot.co.uk, find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/michellestylesauthor, and follow her on Twitter at @MichelleLStyles.