I cannot believe we are in December already. It seems only the other day that I allowed my hero, Nathan Shepherd, to take over and write a blog post here on 24th February 2007. If you remember, he was decidedly miffed that I had abandoned his story in the first chapter and told him he had to wait for a while before he could continue his quest to win back fellow A and E doctor Annie Webster, the woman he loved and lost. There has been much foot-tapping, huffing and puffing from him throughout the following months but I've been too sidetracked to take much notice of him.
2007 has been an amazing year and a very busy one during which I seem to have spent most of the time barricaded in the cave meeting deadlines and bringing three unexpected Medical stories I was asked to write to life.
One of those, An Italian Affair, tells the story of deliciously sexy Italian Sebastiano Adriani, from Florence, and caring nurse Gina McNaught, from my fictional world of Strathlochan, who meet on the beautiful island of Elba where much of the story is set. It will be out in April 2008 in a bumper anthology with titles by Annie West [Modern] and Annie Burrows [Historical].
The other project I was involved in was my first experience of a continuity and I was honoured, excited and terrified to be asked to write two of the twelve books in the series. Set in beautiful Cornwall, the Medical series – Brides of Penhally Bay – begins this month with Caroline Anderson's fabulous Christmas Eve Baby and follows on one a month as part of the celebrations of Mills & Boon's magnificent centenary milestone. My titles are book 8, Virgin Midwife, Playboy Doctor, out in July 2008 and book 12, Dr Devereux's Proposal, which closes this series in November 2008.
Writing is usually a solitary occupation so it was something new for me to collaborate with other authors. Email was a great help as we discussed areas which overlapped, came up with local characters and patients who would populate the stories and bring a real community feel. We also put forward ideas on the main continuity thread which runs through all twelve books, concerning Nick Tremayne, the senior partner in the surgery. We all had our own individual stories to write and focus on while doing our best to accommodate each other's thoughts and keep the continuity moving.
It was a new experience, very enjoyable and I learned a great deal. I also fell in love with Penhally and with my characters – especially my heroes, as usual! Both dedicated doctors, lovely Oliver Fawkner (left) and charming Frenchman Gabriel Devereux (right) have become very special to me. As you can see from the pictures in this blog, I've had some wonderful inspiration to bring all these scrummy men to life!
I hope readers will be gripped by the whole exciting Brides of Penhally Bay series. But for now it is over and it is time to move on. Which means letting Nathan off the leash again so he can return to his story and renew his efforts to woo Annie. He'll have a job on his hands. They both have very different ideas about why things didn't work the first time and Annie will be horrified when Nathan reappears in her life. To begin with, anyway! She has a journey ahead of her, facing up to the mistakes of the past, realising where responsibility really lies and admitting her own feelings. I'm hoping for both their sakes they won't give me too hard a time and they will come to embrace each other and their happy ending.
So that's me ... I've had a few puffs of fresh air and must now head back into the cave and start the adventure all over again with new characters and some familiar ones as I get back to my fictional world of Strathlochan.
If everything goes well, perhaps Nathan will be back in the new year to tell you how things are going with him and Annie! Then I have the even more impatient orthopaedic surgeon Luke Devlin, who is desperate to get his hands on Strathlochan Hospital radiographer, Francesca Scott. A whole bevy of other heroes and heroines are also waiting in the wings and I just hope I will have the opportunity to bring you their stories in the future.
My current title, Their Christmas Vows, which tells the story of hunky flight doctor Frazer McInnes and feisty flight paramedic Callie Crogan, partnered on the Strathlochan air ambulance, is in the Christmas Weddings anthology with stories from Carole Mortimer [Modern] and Shirley Jump [Romance]. This book is still available from http://www.amazon.co.uk/ or, for the rest of this month, from http://www.millsandboon.co.uk/ under Special Releases. There is also a copy in the December goodie tote on this blog!
I wish everyone a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas and much health and happiness for 2008. It's a very special year ahead – 100 years of Mills & Boon! That's certainly something to celebrate.