Wednesday, 30 January 2008


By lovely Kate Hewitt, to provide six facts about myself. Haven't been tagged for ages-- not since this time, over at Scribes, but felt compelled to find some different Interesting Things about me.

Having failed to come up with any, I just went for some Different Things.

1. Before my first book was accepted I worked as a copywriter in a marketing agency. We specialised in the luxury car market, and I had several pieces in a magazine for nerdy petrol-heads called Octane.

2. After finishing university I was supposed to go to teacher training college, but I forgot to turn up on the first day. (A lucky escape for a the secondary school pupils of Greater Manchester and Cheshire.)

3. I recently discovered over tea and cakes in London that I went to the same university (Manchester), lived in the same hall of residence (Owens Park) on the same floor (7th) of the same building (the Tower) as my lovely editor at Mills & Boon. (But many, many years earlier...)

4. My parents came from Inverness and Glasgow, so I’m 100% Scottish. We have a particularly glamorous dark green tartan.

5. I have a fascination with the Edwardian period. Who knows why?

6. I am congenitally unable to follow instructions or master any kind of technical gadgetry, computers included. That's why I spent all of yesterday afternoon faffing around with projectplaylist and ending up getting precisely nowhere. I'll let you know if this changes, but in the meantime let me just say that the jukebox thingy currently appearing on the 'books' page of my website is purely decorative....

Monday, 28 January 2008

Birthday Girl

Daughter #3, the baby of the family, is 7 today. Blimey. What happened to those years?

Now, I do genuinely believe that I’m lucky enough to have one of the best jobs in the world (right up there with being a chocolate taster for Cadburys or James D’Arcy’s dresser) but once in a while I raise my head from my computer, stop thinking about new ways to describe kissing and realise that Real Life is whizzing by around me.

Seven marks the end of infancy and the beginning of Big-Girldom, I think. This year she’ll start to lose her baby teeth and her smile will change forever, and she’ll probably stop saying things like 'trildun' instead of children and 'sammich' for sandwich. I guess that has to be a good thing, just in case she wants to be a news reader or speaker of the House of Commons, but jeez, it’ll be a sad day for me.

All in all it’s a big year for birthdays here, with Daughter #1 becoming a teenager in a couple of weeks and Daughter #2 reaching double figures in March. Thank goodness it’s my husband who hits 40 this year and not me. That really would be too much to bear...

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Flying By

Am having One Of Those Weeks, so am just dropping in to say a very quick hello and apologise to the five squillion people to whom I owe emails, phonecalls (and money, but I hope that’s just school and I like to think the dinner money lady doesn’t read this...) It’s Daughter #3’s birthday on Monday, so half my mind is taken up with shopping/wrapping/planning party bags, while the other half is very much occupied by Olivier. I’m giving the book the final once over this week—checking for continuity errors and badly constructed sentences, and tweaking the sex scenes. (Is 'tweaking' the right word? Perhaps caressing would be more appropriate...? ) It’s a very different book from the one I intended to write, in which Olivier was going to be cold, cold, cold... Of course, he is on the surface, but I should have known when this song crept into my head and became the ‘anthem’ for the book that it wasn’t going to turn out the way I’d planned.

Talking of which, I’m still very much hoping to set up a jukebox type playlist on the website with the songs for each book. For me, they’re such a vital part of the writing process that it seems only right to share them, somehow. That’s one of the many jobs I have lined up for next week, along with catching up on emails, finding something to wear for the lovely sparkly Mills&Boon Centenary cocktail party, losing half a stone and sorting out World Peace.

Monday, 21 January 2008

That's more like it!

Have finally managed to shake off my apathy and am belatedly experiencing the traditional January compulsion to re-organise everything in sight, so spent the entire weekend sorting out the children’s bedrooms. It’s not a task for the faint hearted, but on Friday I heard from my editor that she loves the book, which gave me a fleeting feeling of being able to take on the world.

But the world is one thing. My daughters bedrooms, alas, are in a whole different league.

The process started off with me striding up and down the landing from room to room like some pompous sergeant major, ordering them to get rid of anything that no longer fitted, worked or was part of a complete set. After something of a slow start they suddenly seemed to embrace the concept of minimalism enthusiastically, and carrier bags filled with the flotsam and jetsam of their childhoods were soon piling up alarmingly outside each bedroom door. Heartbreaking! Their determination to achieve a state of zen-like, clutter-free bliss was matched by my own increasing sentimental attachment to every familiar jigsaw and shapeless furry animal of indeterminate species that they’d discarded. Children can be so callous. Now they’re safely back at school I shall have to spend the morning cunningly sneaking everything back to where it belongs.

Anyway, I’m also aware that the deadline for the Instant Seduction competition on iheartpresents is looming, and I’m supposed to be running a bit of a coaching boot camp.
So—with just 3 weeks to go, how is everyone doing? By now I hope that...

♥ first drafts of first chapters are done. Have you started at the right place in the story? Have you got your hero and heroine onto the page together as soon as possible? Have you ended on a note that’s going to make the reader desperate to know what comes next? If the answer to any of these is no, don’t worry! As long as you have A Chapter, you still have plenty of time to fine-tune!

♥ you have a sketchy first draft of the synopsis. This needs to cover the main developments of the story in a clear and concise way, explaining some of the motivation behind them. At this stage it’s important to keep it to the bare bones of ‘what happens’ and to show the turning points for the characters, and the emotional development they undergo as the story progresses. You may have some lovely ideas for a great scene in chapter 8, but this is not the right time to air them! Once you’re happy with the chapter you’ve written you can polish your synopsis too, so that it’s a great advertisement for your story, and a clear sounding board for your Voice.

It's all rather exciting. Make sure you print everything out and read it carefully on paper before submitting-- it's surprising what a different perspective it gives you from reading on the screen, and how many typing errors leap out at you that way (or is that just me?!) Hope it's all going well... I'd love to hear how you're doing!

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Oooh look!

The Italian's Defiant Mistress has won a Reviewer's Choice Award over at CataRomance.


Tuesday, 15 January 2008

January Blues

Usually I kind of like January, and the clean-slate, pared-back austerity and sense of great purpose that follows in the wake of the Christmas chaos. But this year I can’t quite hit my stride. I want to cuddle up on the sofa with my children and watch soppy films, and ward off the cold world outside with treacle tart and custard. Must be my biorhythms. Whatever they are. Maybe I need a week in a health spa.

(Or maybe I just need a smacked bottom and a stern talking-to.)

Anyway, the one thing that’s cheered me greatly this week is a lovely review of The Italian's Captive Virgin over at Cataromance. Julie gave it 4.5 stars and said

With the release of her second novel for Mills and Boon Modern Romance, The Italian’s Captive Virgin, India Grey further establishes herself as a writer of amazing talent and extraordinary scope. Sensual, exotic and enthralling, The Italian’s Captive Virgin, is a captivating romantic read by a writer who is set to become one of the imprint’s most popular writers!

Thanks so much Julie. I think you just saved me about 700 calories worth of chocolate and half a box of tissues.

Thursday, 10 January 2008


Forgot to mention that I now have another book out! The Italian's Captive Virgin was officially released this week, and features a blond Italian hero and a pole-dancing, aristocratic heroine. (Feel I have to mention this in case anyone glances at the cover and falls into the trap of thinking it's about a middle-aged bloke in a beige polyester shirt and a dinner lady with a boob job....)

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger...

...or so the saying goes. By that token once this book is finally out of my hands I’ll be a total leviathan. In the meantime I am a bad-tempered, sleep-deprived harridan with huge black bags beneath my eyes (like the ones currently piling up outside around our post-Christmas dustbin) and a bizarre and completely uncharacteristic craving for heavy slasher emo-rock. (Have been re-writing the ending, and this is the song I’ve been playing, loudly and in a continual loop. Honestly, it’s not normal, I tell you....)

Anyway, hope everyone is having a good start to 2008. Already I think I’ve managed to trash pretty much all of my resolutions... Let’s see, there was the chocolate one (non-starter) the exercise one (ha!) and the blogging more often one (what’s the date again?). Oh well, I guess that things can only get better from here...