Every now and again I take a break from the book I'm writing. I put it aside for a few weeks so that I can edit it with a fresh eye and see where it needs changes: places where the pace is too fast or too slow, places where there are holes in the plot or where the characters need more introduction, or places where there needs to be more or less humour etc. This is a very important part of the writing process, rather like putting something aside when cooking in order to allow the flavours to infuse. Without it, the finished book wouldn't be nearly as tasty.
So whilst Henry Tilney and his friends and relatives, not to mention the Morlands, roam around my subconscious, maturing and deepening as they do so, I thought I'd post about the fantastic coverage romance has been getting in the UK recently.
Until very recently it was popular for the media to sneer at romance. I don't know why, but so it was. The Romantic Novelists' Association here in the UK decided to try and change attitudes, and they sent a team to University Challenge, the professionals. The team were runners up, which was fantastic.
On Monday, the RNA sent a team to Eggheads, a popular UK quiz show. The result was a very near thing. Having knocked out the opposing team 3-1, they entered the final part of the competition and lost on tie breakers. One of the team was our own fabulous Louise Allen.
Louise, of course, writes for Mills and Boon, and M&B have been getting some very positive publicity over here recently, tying in with their centenary.
The Guardian wrote, about a programme in which Stella Duffy tried to write a M&B romance, "The programme is a success, for one because Stella Duffy . . . is very good company . . . But also because of all the amazing Mills & Boon ladies she meets along the way: the editor, the established writer who's teaching the course in Italy, the aspiring writers, the fans. They're all brilliant, clever, funny, women. Modern, even. But they also understand that romance - and cuppy-kissing - lives on."
The Times critic gave a recent programme on romance 5 stars, saying "...not only an apologia for the paperback romances that sell 200 million copies a year but a 50-minute broadcast on behalf of the Campaign for Real Men".
It looks like the tide is turning and that the media has realised that millions of sane, ordinary people love to read and write about romance, including of course those on the Romantic Times website who are entering / voting in the American Title contest, with the voting still open. Good luck to the RNA's Evonne Wareham and everyone else who's taking part.