Saturday, November 19, 2011
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…
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.
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