Saturday, November 19, 2011

The publication of my sixtieth book, FLIRTING WITH ITALIAN, this December is on the anniversary on the publication of my first book, AN IMAGE OF YOU, in December 1992, 19 years ago. Sixty books. Nineteen years.

It’s not just the books, though. The writing life tends to be a solitary one, but since my first book was published things have changed out of all recognition. There were no mobile phones in those early books. No internet. No email. My characters had to make do with a fixed landline to make those calls, write letters.

It was the same for authors.

My very first manuscripts were typed on a portable typewriter on the dining room table. By the time I sold my first book they were being laboriously printed out from a computer with the memory the size of a goldfish. Contact with my colleagues was via a photocopied newsletter produced by Valerie Parv in Australia and distributed by post in the UK by Charlotte Lamb. It was Charlotte who threw a tea party at the beautiful Brown’s Hotel in London where we all met for the first time and I was a bundle of nerves as I met iconic authors such as Carole Mortimer, Elizabeth Oldfield, Jessica Steele, Anne Weale and Sally Wentworth.

I need not have worried. Romantic novelists are the kindest, warmest, most welcoming women I’ve ever met. Many of them have become firm friends over the years and now that I am myself a veteran of the genre I never forget their kindness and do my best to pay it forward.

Millions of words. Millions of books. I did try and do the math but my brain fried. Whatever the number, it feels like a huge milestone and I’m delighted that FLIRTING WITH ITALIAN is the book I’m celebrating with. Set in Italy, one of my favourite places in the entire world here’s a little taste: -

     ‘Have you found him yet, Sarah Gratton?’
     For a moment she was mesmerized by the way he said her name. The vowels long and slow, like thick cream being poured from a jug. The man exuded sensuality. Every movement, every syllable seemed to stroke her…
     ‘Him?’ she repeated, before she began to purr. No… That wasn’t right. She was looking for Lucia…
     ‘The “…dark-eyed Italian lover…”?’ he prompted.
      Oh, great. He’d found Lex’s email. But no one who taught a mixed class of teenagers could afford to betray the slightest sign of embarrassment. The first hint of a blush and you were toast.
You had to look them in the eye, stand your ground, come back with a swift riposte that would make the class laugh with you, not at you.
     ‘Why?’ she asked. ‘Are you interested in the job?’
      It would have been spot on if it had come out sharp and snappy as intended but something had gone seriously wrong between her brain and her mouth. Between concept and delivery.
      It was his eyes. Dark as night but with the crackle of lightning in their depths…
     Under that gaze, sharp had lost its edge, snap had turned to a soft, gooey fudge and apparently taking it as an invitation, he reached out, slid his fingers through her hair, cradling her head in the palm of his hand. There was a seemingly endless pause while she frantically tried to redial her brain.  Send out a call for the cavalry.
     Her brain was apparently engaged, busy dealing with a bombardment of signals. The sun hot on her arms, her throat, her breasts. The sensuous sweep of the mouth hovering above her own. The scent of warm skin, leather…
     The world seemed to have slowed down and it took forever for his lips to reach hers. Somewhere, deep inside her brain the word “…no…” was teetering on the brink. All she had to do was move her lips, say it, but her butter-soft mouth seemed to belong to someone else.
     When it parted, it was not to protest and as his mouth found hers a tingle of something like recognition raced like wildfire through her blood, blotting out reason. Her body, with nothing to guide it, softened, melted against him, murmured, “Yes…”

FLIRTING WITH ITALIAN is available in paper and eBook format in December 2011.

For more information check out my Website


Annie West said...! Liz, I'm all aflutter after reading that excerpt. How is your writing so fresh and fantastic after 60 books? Practice making perfect? Congratulations on this milestone and this book (which I can't wait to read). I've been on a bit of a Liz Fielding reading spree lately and I can't tell you how much fun I've been having. Thank you.

Thank you too for sharing a little insight into the way romance writing was back then.

Nas Dean said...

Congratulations on the release of FLIRTING WITH ITALIAN Liz!

Kaelee said...

Liz ~ Very tantalizing excerpt. Congratulations on 60 books. I like your insight into how things have changed in the past 20 years regarding writing a book. I sometimes read Harlequin Romances written in the last half of the 20th century. They are a great window into how much life has changed in less than 75 years. Heroines have more power in the work force and are less dependent on a man to provide them with the basics of life for example. I'm really looking forward to reading FWI.

marybelle said...

60 books in 19 years, obviously you never slept. Cheers to the next 60.

Michele L. said...

Wow, 60 books? You are amazing Liz! I love the new covers! Your excerpt sounds fantastic! Can't wait to read what happens next!
Congrats Liz!

Liz Fielding said...

Thanks so much, Annie. The "freshness" seems to take longer these days, but I did enjoy writing Flirting With Italian. Planning a trip to Italy in the spring so hopefully there'll be another Italian in the pipeline soon!

Liz Fielding said...

Thank you, Nas!

Liz Fielding said...

Hi Kaelee - I find it hard sometimes to realise just how much things have changed, especially in the last ten years.

Liz Fielding said...

Marybell - there are days, weeks sometimes, when it feels I haven't slept in a year. Not true. Compared with some authors I'm a positive slowcoach!

Liz Fielding said...

Thanks, Michele. I love those two covers - although could have done without the prize sticker on the UK one. I do think the US one is very pretty and exactly how I imagined that view.