Friday, September 11, 2009

Guardian article on Mills & Boon

Regular readers of this blog will know about two weeks ago I did an interview with a journalist while I had the flu. The journalist in question had written a first chapter and synopsis and wanted my advice. I had promised and so I did it. I think I held myself together and sounded coherent. After we finished chatting, I collapsed.

In the intervening time, I have sat and worried -- had I made sense? Had I committed a Violet Winspear type faux pas that would haunt me for the rest of my career?

Tanya Gold who can write and write very well but has no desire to be any sort of novelist has had the article published in the Guardian today, so you can judge for yourself.

Some day, Ms Gold will win a British Press award but I'm not sure about meeting a gorgeous media tycoon as they do all seem to look like Rupert Murdoch!


Caroline said...

Umm Tanya Gold's article was interesting - I'm not sure if I liked it or not! One minute she loves M&B the next she hates them. Perhaps she needs to go into rehab to see where her heart truly lies. The article was similar in tone(ish) to the Stella Duffy TV programme (which I really liked!) At least Stella hadn't read a M&B before, and she really did give it her best shot.

However both articles do acknowledge how difficult it is to write a M&B - and get published. As an aspiring M&B author I have now discovered the way to get published with HM&B. I shall call up M&B, tell them I am a journalist, invite myself over to their offices, "interview" them and then present them (personally) with my sample chapters and synopsis. They will read it, love it (because at least (I hope) I've written it with integrity) and offer me a contract. Viola! Success! Ah well - a girl can dream,,,,,,Take care. Caroline x

Judy Jarvie said...

Wow. Michelle I think your input is incisive as ever.

While sometimes reading the article made me itchy twitchy against the 'be ashamed' notion, I am heartily impressed that this does convey it is not a 'tongue in cheek' 'knock it out' occupation. Respecting the reader is all, absolutely.

I'm heartened that she is admitting how good they are however. And their position in terms of sales.

I really did laugh out loud at 'you don't read Mills and Boon, you eat them'. Killer truth there. Ryvita is nowhere near as satisfying as a new releases feast from MnB. It's up there with Haagen Daaz and I think the writer of this article does know it.

Anonymous said...

Michelle, having read so much of your succinct advice in the SubCare forum, I easily recognised your tone and approach in the article! One of my favourite parts was about the difficulty of writing the heroine, and I loved the insight when she wrote, “Mills & Boon heroines are like madams in brothels. They essentially have to facilitate a sexual encounter between two other people – the reader, and the hero. They are the third person in the romance.” Brilliant! - Do tell, was that inspired by you at all?
Anyway, despite the inevitably fun-poking tone of voice, I felt that – in the end - she treated the genre and its writers with some of the respect it/they deserve.

Michelle Styles said...

I am pleased you all enjoyed the article.

Caroline -- from my conversations with Tanya, I do not think she had read many. She did think she knew what they were about because well you just do...don't you?

Judy -- yes, I liked the eating them bit. There have been times in my life that I have devoured them.

Christine -- I take no credit for the madam in the brothel bit but the heroine as a conduit is something I learnt from the editors years ago. With Modern/MH, the heroine is the conduit. With Romance, the reader walks in the heroine's shoes.