Sunday, June 24, 2007

Great Big Blog Party 21 - India Grey

Following the policy of putting up blog posts in the order in which they arrived, I find that today's Guest Blogger is the lovely India Grey.

Now India is one of those people who if she wasn't so truly nice you would have to hate her for being so beautiful, slender and elegant, intelligent - and now she's proving herself to be talented as well with her very first ever Modern Romance/Presents title - The Italian's Defiant Mistress - out in July.(Readers in America will be able to get their hands on it when it comes out in Presents in October) And even worse this is one of those rare books that has been accepted on her first submission. (But she credits the 12 Point Guide as being a great help to her so I'll manage not to be totally eaten up with jealousy) India is great fun to be with too - and add into the mixture a husband who could be a M&B Hero himself and a cat called Ruby who is lovesick for Sid (Sid says to send his best purrs to Ruby, India) and you will begin to see how I might have problems with this lady. ;-)

But when India on our first meeting tells me how much she loved what is affectiuonately known as 'the knicker scene' in my book Bound By Blackmail - and she has chosen to write about it for her guest blog - well, then what can I do but admire her great taste? I have India's own first book on my mountainous TBR pile and if it wasn't for a Great Big Blog Party and a pestiferous Greek hero who wants his story told I would be indulging in reading it right now

(That scene in Bound by Blackmail seems to have struck a chord with a few writers - 'Lord Alfred' who won Julie Cohen's prize wrote about it too - do take a look at that here)

Here's how India describes herself:

India Grey’s first Mills&Boon Modern romance (The Italian’s Defiant Mistress) is released a month after Kate’s fiftieth one. A year ago she was unpublished and unhopeful, and might well still be today had it not been for The Twelve Point Guide To Writing Romance!

And India wants to write about her :


Fifty glorious heroes, fifty lucky heroines, fifty passionate happy-ever-afters.... and countless hours of drama, pleasure and heartache! In honour of Kate Walker’s Golden title, I set myself the task of distilling all of the above down into one Golden Moment, which would encapsulate everything that makes Kate’s books so special, and the fiftieth one such a cause for celebration.

It wasn’t easy. But it was a great excuse to collect together all my Kate Walker books (most of them tattered and oddly creased from having been carried around in handbags and read in the bath) and indulge in a glorious, indulgent reading session! Three weeks, countless very sleep-deprived nights and a box of tissues later, I’ve narrowed down my shortlist and come up with my best and all-time favourite Kate Walker Golden Moment, and because Kate herself is the most generous person in the world, I’m sharing it with you along with the reasons why I like it so much. However, I am not nearly so selfless and giving as Kate and am only sharing it in the hope that other people will post theirs too and I can get to go back and read them all over again!

Mine comes from Bound by Blackmail, when Jake comes face to face with Mercedes at her half-brother’s wedding. He had met her for the first time a few months previously, and attraction had instantly flared between them. However, she ran out on him—literally—as they were about to make love. Now, surrounded by her protective family and her slightly slimy fiancé, she wants to pretend she doesn’t know him.

Her chin came up even more defiantly, tilting her perfect little nose higher in the air. And the cold, dark eyes met his head on, rejection the only emotion he could see in them.
‘Do I know you?’
‘You know you do.’
‘I know nothing of the sort.’
She even managed a smile, though it was so false and brittle that he almost expected it to shatter and fall as splinters onto the ground at his feet.
‘I think you must be mistaken—Mr...’
Jake didn’t even honour the pointed hint that he should give her his name with as much as an acknowledgement. This ‘I don’t remember you’ act didn’t convince him for one moment.
‘No mistake, I assure you. You know that and I know that-- but if you need any further convincing...’
He had been thinking of just this moment when he had packed his case, and again this morning as he had dressed for the wedding. in the left hand pocket of his suit jacket, the sliver of silk not even bulky enough to spoil the line of the superb tailoring was the evidence of the truth—the knickers she had left behind in her headlong flight that night in London.
he pulled them out, crushed in his hand, opened his fingers just enough so that she could see exactly what he held—but had no chance of reaching for them, trying to snatch them away from him
The effect was everything he had hoped for.

It’s BRILLIANT! I love the way the build up is so slow and languorous and unhurried. Mercedes is behaving appallingly—really, all things being equal I should just want someone to come and slap her legs. But the thing is, her character is drawn so perfectly and I know that haughtiness and naughtiness stems from embarrassment and insecurity. I can totally identify with her—who hasn’t been in a situation at some time or another when someone they really don’t want to see appears at the worst possible moment? (Usually this happens to me in supermarkets when one of the children is having a tantrum and someone important from school or a posh friend of my mother’s hoves into view. The instinct for total denial is natural and irresistible.) Beneath Mercedes sophisticated exterior is a sheltered, naïve little girl, so in her case it’s more than denial. It’s childlike wishful thinking. If she says she doesn’t know him maybe it’ll make that incident that she’s so disturbed by and ashamed of just go away.

At the same time we’re also deliciously, painfully aware of Jake’s tightly-controlled anger. It’s menacing, but never threatening, and the fact that it’s motivated by hurt makes it powerfully sexy. I feel outraged on his behalf, which is why when he pulls off his audacious knicker stunt I should be shocked—I am shocked, but I’m also loving him so much I could scream.

Oh yes. He’s a total twenty first century hero. He’s honourable, emotionally articulate, sexy and breath-takingly human. Kate Walker is one of the undisputed queens of the alpha hero: quite simply (and I hope the BM will forgive me for saying this) she knows her men, and over the course of 50 books has shown every variation of the alpha male. Jake is alpha with a twist— he has all the power, control and integrity that defines the species, but his heart is on his sleeve, not buried beneath a wall of ice. When pushed to the limit he doesn’t resort to bullying or humiliation... just that one silent, eloquent, gesture which speaks so much more about their intimacy and her duplicity than any words ever could.

Everything is here—sexual tension, anger, hurt, rejection, all set against the sumptuous backdrop of a Spanish society wedding. Add in some to-die-for writing (smile... splinters... totally fab) and two of the best characters ever and it’s just pure Kate Walker gold. I adore and admire the way she can express the universe in a few well chosen words and create a character in a single, defining moment. A golden, gasp-out-loud, Kate Walker moment.

I’d really love to know what's your favourite Kate Walker Golden Moment, book or character


I have a copy of my first book* (compared to fifty how sad is that!) to give away, along with some golden goodies to someone who will be chosen randomly (very randomly, believe me) from all those who post a comment by Ruby the airhead cat.

(* I really feel I should be giving away my beloved copy of Bound by Blackmail too.... but I just can’t bring myself to part with it!! Sorry!!)


Anonymous said...

That's a toughie. Probably Estrella in 'The Spaniard's Inconvenient Wife' - the moment when everyone sees her wedding dress is just *brilliant* and I wish I'd written it.

Then again, there's the dining table scene in 'Desert Affair' that would tempt me to say Amir.

Oh, and Kate - your assessment of India is almost spot on. Two things you need to add: she has excellent taste in music, and excellent taste in chocolate. :o)

lidia said...

There are so many to choose from.

Recently I read an oldie "Man of Shadows" (an HR release). Madeline and Jordan have a "fake" engagement. They encounter Sukey a jealous woman from his past. In order to prevent Sukey from harming any more of Jordan's horses, Madeline takes off her engagement ring and hands it to Jordan. Jordan takes the ring, and puts it back on Madeline's finger. Finally, the hold that Sukey had on him was over!


Michelle Styles said...

We won't go into India's character -- she just is the Nigella Lawson of the romance world. It is her task to live with the title.

It is very difficult to come up with my fave Kate Walker moment. I think at the moment one of my faves is in The Antonakos marriage when Skye encounters Theo for the second time.

What I love about Kate is that she does provide so many priceless moments.

Anonymous said...

I love Kate's book. I think it's impossible to name only one scene, there are so many. In every book.

Lis said...

Favorite book hands down is Bound by Blackmail. :o)

Phillipa said...

The stolen knickers. Definitely. Unforgettable.

Unknown said...

Oooh, THANK YOU for all these! I intend (when deadlines permit) to revisit each and every suggestion-- and in some cases I'll be discovering them for the first time (A big thank you for nominating Man of Shadows Lidia-- that's one I haven't read!)

Kate, I'm so looking forward to re-reading those ones. Even the words 'dining table scene' sound outrageously enticing, don't they? Thanks for the suggestions!

Michelle, I love the way you say 'at the moment one of my faves...' I think that says something about the way Kate's books stay with you and mean different things to you at different times.

Tessa-- I think you hit the nail on the head there! I'd decided this was going to be the moment I wrote about, but once I started looking back over the other books I found so many more (There's a bit in The Twelve Month Mistress which tempted me... I wonder if someone else will choose that one?)

Lis and Phillipa-- you're girls after my own heart! One of the things I love about this book is the English hero - Spanish heroine combination. It's fresh and fun (and verrrry sexy of course....) Maybe we should start a Stolen Knickers Appreciation Society?

(Kate and Michelle, your comments, on top of Kate's lovely introduction, really made my day. (having just made a cake which one of my children pronounced 'yukky' we won't dwell on the Nigella title though..!!))

Sandra Schwab said...

India, first of all: congrats on your first published novel! Sold on first submission, eh? Wow! (I had to switch languages before I sold my first novel -- but then I hadn't read Kate's 12 Point Guide).

My favourite Kate Walker novel is The Temptation Game, which is also the first Kate Walker novel I ever read. I bought it in a UBS in Galway, Ireland on 21 February 2001 because I had fallen in love with the cover. (It's still one of my favourite M&B covers.) Favourite scene: Rachel recreating the evening of her nineteenth birthday party at the end of the book. I cried buckets!

Dena said...

It's too hard to pick just one! My favorite book so far[haven't read THE SICILIAN'S RED-HOT REVENGE yet,
only a week to go]is The Antonako's Marriage,so I would say when Skye and Theo meet again.I could really visualize the surprise and tension.

Unknown said...

Okay, it is almost impossible to pick one moment. I'll have to go with favorite character. Two words, Theo Antonakos, enough said lol.

Unknown said...

Congrats on your first book India.

I guess I'll go with the Married Mistress, The part of the book when Damon goes to London to find Sarah and what he finds when he gets there.

This is a hard one because there is always great moments in all the books that I have read of hers.

Cherie J said...

It is hard to choose just one but I guess my vote would have to be for the dining table scene in Desert Affair. That scene stands out from all the books of Kate's that I have read.

Unknown said...

Great showing for The Antonakos Marriage-- or would that be mostly for lovely Theo?! Either way, good choice, Dena and Bamabelle!

Sandra, thanks for the congratulations and for nominating The Temptation Game, which is another one I've yet to read. It's fabulous to have books from a few years ago flagged up (and I can see my tbr pile is going to be sky-high by the time I get this current book finished!)

The Married Mistress was fab, wasn't it Virginia? But, like you say, it's pretty hard to single out one individual scene. (I guess I'll just have to re-read it all then!!)

Ah, Cherie, another vote for the 'dining table scene' (yum). You have excellent taste (if you'll excuse the pun...)

CrystalGB said...

My favorite book is The Spaniard's Inconvenient Wife. I loved Ramon and Estrella's story

Minna said...

One of my favorited is Bound by Blackmail.

Lois said...

*sniff* I haven't had any yet. :( But hope to rectify that soon! :)


Unknown said...

Lois- loads of suggestions here! (personally, I'm sticking with Bound by Blackmail... I think...!!)

Minna and Crystal, thanks so much for posting your favourites, and I'll be writing your names on my little paper squares to dangle in front of Ruby the Airhead cat. I'm planning to paper clip each bit of paper onto a length of string and dangle them all in front of Ruby to see which one she grabs first. I'm also kind of thinking about capturing this piece of feline ridiculousness on video, which naturally I'll share...

But Kate says that doesn't have to be until Tuesday evening, so if anyone has any more suggestions, I'd love to include them (and so would Ruby!)

Unknown said...

Sorry Lois-- my comment makes it sound like your name won't be in Ruby's silly string toy, and of course, it will!


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