I’ve just recently returned home to Dublin after my second outing to London for the annual Mills and Boon author’s lunch, which is always followed by the celebratory champagne reception that Mills and Boon throw for their authors.
This year was even more enjoyable for me, primarily because I wasn’t shaking in my shoes, at every moment, and because I had met and made friends last year and it was so nice to catch up with them again. And I also got to meet and make new friends like the lovely Donna Alward who came all the way from Canada…
The trip started with meeting my room mate India Grey in our hotel room, she got there first and got the best bed, ransacked the tea and generally exploded all over the place. (Just kidding, she was very tidy and left a copy of her new book in its minty hardback cover on my bed: The Italian’s Captive Virgin UK January 2008, and quite brilliant it is too – but she did take all the tea).
The evening before the lunch we had dinner with some fellow Presents/Modern Authors. It was organised by Kate Walker and Michelle Reid, and also there were Jackie Baird; Christina Hollis; Natalie Rivers; myself and India again. A lovely chance to meet and talk before the mayhem of the next day…
…Which was straight to the RAF club, Picadilly. A very grand place with lots of plaques and pictures of flying men and women (well not literally…you know what I mean). The lunch was very ably and gracefully compered by Michelle Styles, historicals author. As if there hadn’t been enough talking and discussing the night before...I had Donna Alward on my right and Gill Sanderson on my left, and as Trish Wylie was on Donna’s other side I spent a lot of time sticking my face across Donna’s chest, but I’m sure she didn’t mind, as she ate her vegetarian noodles…very posh.
Then when lunch was over we managed to fit in a little tea and shopping at Selfridges…as you do. And I saw Noel Gallagher from Oasis going down the escalator. As he’s practically Irish, I didn’t get too excited. Brad Pitt might have got me excited…or George Clooney…but I digress.
After we’d taken tea, (have I mentioned that India Grey is inordinately fond of tea? She could give Mrs Doyle from Father Ted a run for her money), we walked up the road the short distance to The Oriental Club which is just off Oxford St/Bond St, right in the centre of everything. Amazing. In a little tree line cul de sac, it is exactly what you would imagine one of the old gentlemen’s clubs to be like.
As soon as we arrived and had left our coats in the cloakroom and marveled at the size of the bathroom – well I marveled at the size because my own house could have fit into it…twice – we went downstairs, got name tags and entered the fray. A very handsome waiter, straight out of central casting for the cover of a Mills and Boon/Presents novel offered us a glass of champagne, of course I accepted, well…what’s a girl to do?! And I won’t go into the fact that the glass always seemed to be full, I swear I wasn’t holding it out on a regular basis.
So, apart from even more authors here, who hadn’t made the lunch we also had the lovely and very glamorous Editors from Richmond. They are all gorgeous, buzzing around checking on their various authors, making sure we were all looked after.
And the day was even more special when first of all Kate Hardy received her 25th book pin and commemorative gift along with Mary Nichols, and then the other Kate, Kate Walker received her 50th book pin…! Needless to say we didn’t need any encouragement to celebrate and toast them. The day was rounded off with dinner in Brown’s, a restaurant just around the corner and organised by the lovely Biddy Coady. All in all, a great couple of days. It’s such a special treat…especially for us authors who don’t live near anyone else, this is generally the one chance in the year to meet up, discuss and talk the hind legs off a donkey…Here’s to next year, I’m looking forward to it already!