Monday, August 13, 2012

50th party blog guest - Michelle Styles

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!

I am giving a signed copy of my latest His Unsuitable Viscountess — the story of a Regency business woman who has to make a marriage of convenience within a month or otherwise face losing the family firm under the terms of her stepfather’s will. For a comment, I would suggest naming your favourite Kate Hardy novel. I know my two faves are the second of the Posh books (Her Honourable Surgeon), and The Cinderella Project, aka books which cause things to burn...

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.

10 comments:

kooks said...

My two favourite Kate Hardy books are A Baby of Her Own, because Sam's story about his infertility was on a line with my husband's one. I am now looking at our 6year old valentine present writing her own story. My second fav was Their Christmas Dream Come True. I had tears at the end of this story and the whole book was beautifully written.

Liz Fielding said...

Gorgeous cover, Michelle!

Michelle Styles said...

Kooks how utterly lovely! What a fantastic Valentine's present!

Liz -- I think the Historical covers have really improved recently. I love the feel of it.

Desere said...

Thanks for the lovely post and the contest ! My fav two Kate Hardy books are hard to pin down because I love all her books but I will say Red wine and her sexy ex and definitely Champagne with a celebrity both brilliant !

Desere

Michelle Styles said...

Desere
I will agree both those books are brilliant. One thing I like about Kate's books is that I always learn something about the industry she is writing about.

Caroline said...

Fab blog both. What can I say - 2 of my favourite authors together! Lovely cover Michelle - can't wait to read your latest. And I'm with you both on the obsure facts...love researching Roman history and noting down all sorts of odd things! Caroline x

Desere said...

Yes I completely agree with you ! I love learning something from the books ,info on the industry or even life lessons always cool !

Carol Warham said...

All Kate's books are excellent but the one with special meaning is 'The Hidden Heart...' I was planning a trip to take my dying mother to Rome when Kate had just finished writing this and she was so helpful to me with tips of how to get around the sights.

bn100 said...

Lovely post.

Kate Hardy said...

First name drawn from the hat for a copy of 'His Unsuitable Viscountess' - Carol Warham. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your snailmail addy, Carol, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!