Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Author Spotlight - Kate Hardy

The Minxes are pleased to greet multi talented author Kate Hardy to the blog today. Kate writes for two different Mills & Boon lines, the medical and RIVA lines. Amazingly, Kate also writes local history books. The Minxes are in awe :-)

1. Where were you in your writing career 5 years ago?

I’d been writing for Mills & Boon for 5 years (OMG – that means I’ve been an M&B author for 10 years, this November!) and I’d just moved to being a two-line author – my very first Modern Extra, The Cinderella Project, came out in April 2006.

2. Your current release is a continuity, so can you give us an idea of how that works?

The editors have an idea for a mini-series (which can be anything from 4-12 books). In the series, there are a hero and heroine whose story is told over the whole series (so they appear in each book), as well as the individual stories within the series. The eds then choose the authors whose voices they think will suit each particular story. They give us a ‘bible’ for the continuity, which has the synopses and character outlines in it for all the books and the continuity characters, as well as details about the setting – so we can see exactly where our individual heroes and heroines fit in. Then the authors get together – usually on email, as you can be working with people right across the globe! – and we talk about how we’re going to bring the series to life. Generally you end up sending everyone the sections you’ve written about the “continuity” characters so we’re all “on the same page”. It’s also great fun – I can remember Caroline Anderson ringing me and saying, “Can I hurt your vet?”, and we decided to give my doctor hero the stray dog who’d bitten my vet heroine. That dog owed a lot to Margaret McDonagh’s beloved Flatcoat Retriever (including her name!) – and then, in the next series, Mags and I decided to give Bramble puppies, so they ended up in several other people’s books, too. (Funnily enough, my ed wrote a dog into the story of this one. I think she knew what would happen if she didn’t…)

3. Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?

Still writing – and heading towards my 75th M&B, I hope!

4. Which was the last book you read that you wish you'd written?

This is a bit of a cheat as it was a re-read of an old favourite – Susanna Kearsley’s “The Shadowy Horses”. I’m not sure what I like most about her books – the characterisation, the clever plots, the warmth, the dialogue… Anyway. It’s brilliant and I wish I’d written it!

5. Was there any particular author or book that made you want to be a writer?

No – I knew from before I started school that I wanted to write. I think my earliest influences (and this is going to sound pretentious, so I’ll apologise in advance, though it’s still true!) were Emily Bronte, Madeleine L’Engle and Victoria Holt. (So the book of my heart would probably be a bit on the Gothic side and involve timeslip, but I’ve been trying and failing for four years to persuade my ed to let me write my Regency doctor book!)

6. What's the most romantic moment of your life so far?

Walking through St Mark’s Square in Venice, hand in hand with my husband, and seeing Venus rising. Or possibly standing on the top of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkling on the hour (also with my husband). Actually, the children were with us both times, but it was still very romantic! (And yes, I am using both settings in a book…)

7. What do you wish you'd known about being an author before you were pubbed?

How much of a time-suck the internet can be… :o)

Seriously, I don’t think there’s anything, because I worked on the university newspaper as a student and was friends with people who went on to become journalists, so I was realistic before I started. I knew that publishing works slowly and isn’t a “get rich quick” industry (so when you see TV programmes about people getting their first book accepted and published within a couple of weeks AND they can afford to give up their day job… er, fiction alert!!); and also that you have to put the hours in (books sadly don’t write themselves) and be prepared to change things (i.e. do revisions, sometimes more than one set).

But I can’t think of any job I’d rather do, or where I’d have such lovely colleagues.

8. What's the best writing advice you've ever been given?

Take time to refill the well – read a lot, watch films, or just go for a long walk somewhere inspiring.

9. How do you go about researching the medical detail that needs to go into your books?

The biggest trick is to keep the detail accurate without it overwhelming the reader (I do have a habit of including too much detail, probably because I used to be a health journalist!). The Oxford Handbooks of medicine are brilliant – they’re the ones that junior doctors use. I also use - the only thing I would say there is that it’s US-based, so I also tend to check out Netdoctor to make sure that any treatments I’m planning to use are available in the UK, where my books are set. Plus it’s quite handy knowing medics (among the other med writers) whose brains I can pick if I’m desperate!

10. Tell us about your book.

The Fireman and Nurse Loveday is all about Tom Nichols, a firefighter who has to balance his dedication to his job with being a stand-in father to his orphaned nephew; he’s helped very much in this by one of the practice nurses, who works as a health visitor and does all the school visits and clinics. Flora Loveday’s terribly shy and thinks nobody like Tom would ever fall for her – but Tom teaches her otherwise, and finally manages to bring her out of her shell.

11. What’s next for you?

Next is a Medical Romance set partly in Capri; then a very raunchy Riva set in an ice-cream empire in Naples; and I’ve just handed in another Riva, so I’m awaiting my ed’s reaction to see if it was too much of a weepie! I’m working on the outline for my next Medical Romance, and we’re just about to go off on a research trip so I can plan my next Riva (which will hopefully be my 50th M&B) – I can’t wait!

Visit Kate's blog at here

Buy St Piran's: The Fireman and Nurse Loveday at Mills & Boon or Amazon


Christina Hollis said...

Phew, Kate, how do you manage it all? I'm in awe - and I love your romantic moment in Venice!

Sally Clements said...

Great post, Kate! I'm a diehard Kate Hardy fan, love all your books especially because of the wealth of knowledge you impart in all of them, I love learning something new while reading a cracking romance! Thanks for going minxy for the day, and that's great information about writing a continuity, it sounds fun!
Congrats on your 10 year anniversary coming up.

Maya Blake said...

I'm taking the advice of refilling the well at the moment, Kate with our own Sally's Bound To Love! Thanks so much for being here today and rock on with your lovely stories :)

Rachel Lyndhurst said...

Naples and Capri next, Kate? I'm not sure how long I can bear to wait for those! I'm drooling already!

Caroline said...

Hi Kate! Great post. I love reading about an author's journey - yours tho' is more akin to the fast lane on the M1 motorway - lol. You're not called "Scary Kate" for nothing. I'm always in awe of your productivity. Great stuff. Caroline x

Joanne Coles said...

And I can attest to Kate's brilliance as I've read the Tom & Flora's story and it's a beautifully sweet read with a lovely young boy that brings out the hero's insecurities in perfect tandem with his totally hero-like qualities. Yum yum!!

Also agree with the other commenters, amazing productivity together with quality. Inspiring!

Nas said...

Hi Kate,

Lovely to read about you. Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

All the best with the release of "St Piran's: The Fireman and Nurse Loveday"

Wendy S Marcus said...

Wow, Kate!
You are one busy woman! Hope you had a great trip!