Friday, December 28, 2007

Paying Tribute to Friends - Lilian Darcy

Since I’ve been around the romance business for quite a while, I know a lot of writers – seasoned professionals with fifty-plus books to their name, over-the-moon new writers still celebrating all the milestones that come with their first publication, writers hitting their first serious block after their career had been looking so good, writers who’ve started asking themselves, “Should I be pushing myself so hard?” and even writers who are thinking they might retire in a year or two.

The one thing they all have in common is the value and importance they ascribe to their writing friends. Everyone says it in a different way. “Even after I stop, I don’t want to lose my friends.” “The best thing about this business is the friends I’ve made.” “I couldn’t stay the distance if I wasn’t for my writing friends.”

Today, then, since it’s the holiday season, I want to pay tribute to my writing friends. I can’t mention everyone, and this is in no particular order, but here are some of the people I really love and value and couldn’t do without:-

Anne Gracie – she writes gorgeous historical romances with gorgeous covers, she works tirelessly for our genre through her involvement with Romance Writers of Australia, and has some of the best arguments I’ve ever heard for the value of what we do and why our books deserve the respect they so often fail to receive. She also spoils her friends with her magical discoveries – exotic gourmet treats, wonderful music we’ve never heard before, that store in Melbourne where you buy the feather boas and other finery. This year Anne’s gifts to me range from home-made salted capers through to hours of listening and advice about my writing, and I’ve appreciated every word and every crystal of salt.

Jane Porter – you don’t have to be a single mom to love her “Odd Mom Out” or “Flirting with Forty”, the truth and humor leaps off the page regardless, and her ever-increasing success shows that word is getting out. But you do have to know her to understand just how much she gives, not only to her own career but to any writer needing a fresh creative insight, or a morale boost after a negative critique, or a quiet drink/coffee in a dark corner somewhere at RWA National. Really, seriously, I could not do without Jane, and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.

Marion Lennox – you’ll recognize her at RWA National because she’s bowed down by the weight of her Rita pins. Eleven nominations, is it? And two wonderful wins. Time and time again, Marion’s books take you to her own unique universe where the grit of real life is touched with the gold dust and magic of humor, warmth and romance. Marion is the kind of person people instinctively turn to with their problems, so when I send her one of my long, whiny emails I suspect it’s usually about the twentieth such email she’s already had that day. This does not stop her from replying with as much warmth and generosity as she would if it was the first email she’d ever received in her life.

Bronwyn Jameson – with three Rita nominations for her Silhouette Desires in one year, she doesn’t need me to tell anyone what a fabulous writer of contemporary romance she is. What you probably don’t know is that the two of us managed an eight-hour car journey together last year and did not stop talking about writing the entire time. Were we bored? Not for a second. Did we agree about everything? Pretty much. In March, we’re making a similar journey, and doing the reverse trip five days later. Can we talk about writing for sixteen hours? I’m feeling confident. Watch this space.

Okay, this is already getting long and I’ve hardly mentioned anyone. There are so many more. Trish Morey (Harlequin Presents) and Carol Marinelli (Harlequin Medical and Presents) who are both so funny and clever and make me laugh all the time. Liz Fielding and Barbara Hannay (Harlequin Romance) and Kate Hardy (Harlequin Medical and Modern Extra) who said such lovely things about my novel Café du Jour, at times when I was, as usual, riddled with doubt. Beverley Brand and Brenda Hiatt – we got to know each other at the Ninc conference in San Diego and had some great times - belly dancing, opera, late night conversations, I could go on. I’m leaving people out, I know I am. Meredith Webber and Alison Roberts, the other two (along with Marion Lennox and myself) “Croc Creek girls” self-named after our twelve-book Medical Romance mini-series, “Crocodile Creek – 24-hour Rescue.” Kelly Hunter and Fiona McArthur, um, um, Wendy Warren, Laura Iding, all sorts of people I only see at RWA National but who I immediately want to hug, such as Barbara Dunlop, C.J. Carmichael, Su Lute.

My teenage son has just come up behind me and heaved a large sigh, indicative of his desire to take over my computer, so I’d better stop. Happy New Year, everyone, and may you love and value and enjoy your friends as much as I do.

Lilian Darcy


Wolfy said...

What a nice tribute to your friends. As you say friends are to be cherished.

Have a great New Year.

Estella said...

Nice tribute.
Happy New Year, Lilian!

jo robertson said...

Lilian, what a lovely post. You're so right - the friends you make in this business are the best! Happy New Year!

Trish Morey said...

Oh gosh, ain't that the truth - “The best thing about this business is the friends I’ve made.”

Thanks Lilian for putting into words how special this writing gig is.

I know for one that getting published was my goal. Making friends, some of the best friends I'll ever make, that's been a total bonus.

Connecting with readers is so fantastic. Getting to know them throught our books, so wonderful. And how lucky it is that we can also connect with the writers we love at the same time.

Happy 2008 everyone!

Karen H said...

Nice tribute to some excellent authors.

Happy New Year everyone!

Maureen said...

Your post is a nice reminder of what's really important. Happy New Year!

Nathalie said...

That was a long list.

Happy New year

Lily said...

Great tribute!

Happy New Year!