Monday, July 30, 2007

Great Big Blog Party 49 Jenny Haddon/Sophie Weston

I used to think that today's Guest Blogger - was a really scary person. In her persona as Jenny Haddon, that is. A formidably intelligent and capable lady, the Chair of the Romantic Novelist's Assoication no less )for the past two years), she is extremely well read, extremely efficient and very witty with it. Then, as Sophie Weston, she has written some wonderful Romances - Books like The Bedroom Assignment or The Millionaire Affair - and there's another one that I loved - and darn it I can't remember the title. Because I'm in Wales and it's at home in my 'keeper' box, I can't even go and take a look to see what the title is.

Oh, I've found it on Amazon - The Wedding Effect - that's the one.

So there I was, meeting Jenny/Sophie for the first time at a special PR meeting that HMB had organised and I was decidedly nervous - until we started talking about cats - or more properly perhaps - Cats, seeing as we were both under the paw of some very characterful felines - I'll let Jenny tell you all about that in her post. But it's amazing how being subject to something with four paws and fur can unite people. I've never looked at Jenny in the same way.

These days Jenny's two year tenure of the Chair of the RNA is over, and she is about to relaunch her writing career with a romantic comedy that I hope some intelligent publisher will snap up soon. She has also written, with Elizabeth Hawsley, the brilliant Getting the Point - a panic free guide to punctuation for adults. I think ever writer should have a copy of this on their reference shelf - for those dreadful moments when your mind goes blank and you just can't remember exactly where the apostrophe goes!

Jenny is still everything that scared me - but she's also warm and wonderfully generous hostess, a great cook, an even better friend and writer - and a great appreciator of the domineering feline. Sadly, she is currently living in a cat empty house. Jenny - you need some kittens!


BIO Jenny Haddon writes mostly romantic fiction, mostly as Sophie Weston, lives in London and reads compulsively. She has been known to go to Handel opera, Scottish dancing, and South America. With drink taken she has to be restrained from reciting Albert and the Lion.


So here's Jenny - or maybe it's Sophie Weston.


When I met Kate Walker it became rapidly apparent that she and I shared a rare burden - we both lived under the iron paw of a Strong Minded Feline.


Well, several. But in both households there was no doubt who was Top Cat.


Hers was Sir Sidney Portly-Lummox, a gentleman of decided views and considerable acumen, well known on this blog.


In those days, mine was a dim-witted promiscuous fluffball, with a taste for the high life, called James Bond.I say he was dim-witted, and he was certainly slow to learn anything useful like not lying in the middle of the stairs when people were going up them blind, carrying a mountain of washing. But he got his own way quite as much as Sid.

'Does he sit on your manuscript?' I asked Kate.

She nodded.
'When he's just come in from the garden and his paws are muddy?'
'Yes.'

'And then he turns round and round on it, clawing the pages into a comfortable jumble? And leaves unspeakable brown stains all over it? And the smell of wet socks? Old wet socks?'

'Yup.' She paused, coughed, didn't quite meet my eyes. 'Er- how long does James stay there?

Usually.'
I strove with myself. After all, there are things that high-achieving women with enterprise, determination and a good career don't readily admit, even to each other. Like being outgunned by four feet and fur. It was a struggle but in the end I told the truth.

'The rotten toe rag sits there until I either throw his champagne cork for him to play with or coax him off with food. People food, of course. He doesn't get out of bed for Whiskas. Gruyere cheese. Smoked salmon. Or raspberries Romanoff - that's the one with cream spiked with brandy - will usually do it. '

Kate let out a long sigh.

Our eyes met, half ashamed, half relieved to have it out in the open at last. I had found a sister!

Not only a sister, but a kind friend,practical counsellor and all round good egg.
Her Twelve Point Guide to Writing Romance is a wonderful aid to navigation to writers when you've backed yourself down a dark alley. And her glamorous, intense heroes are a dream.


Jenny sent me a link to a pic that looks like her James Bond - but I'm not able to upload it here. But if you want to see it you can find it here

GIVEAWAY QUESTION :
Which hero would you most like to be marooned on a desert island with and why?


GIVEAWAY PRIZE :
Signed copies of my desert duo In the Arms of the Sheikh and The Sheikh's Bride.

21 comments:

Ally Blake said...

Hey Jenny!

So lovely to *see* you here. "The Bedroom Assignment" is one of my fave romance novels ever. Wasn't Jay the hero? With the funky ties? Gorgeous stuff.

But if I don't say I want to escape with the hero I'm currently writing then I think I'm in a spot of trouble ;).

Lovely books on offer too Jenny. Hope they find a good home.

Ally

Jenny Haddon said...

Oh yes, absolutely, Ally. It's always the guy of the current book, isn't it?

Glad you enjoyed "The Bedroom Assignment". That book is very special to me.

And Jay had fabulous silk shirts in rainbow colours. I don't think I'd ever fallen in love with my hero's wardrobe before, but I WANTED those shirts. Heaven knows where they came from!

Good luck with ALL your current productions. Can't wait to read the next book.

Jenny

Joanna Maitland said...

Ally is so right. I really ought to plump for Dominic, the hero of the book I'm currently revising.

BUT Dominic's a Regency alpha male, and a Duke to boot, so I'm not absolutely sure he'd be much use on the desert island. Well, for practical chores, anyway. He might come in handy for one or two other purposes :)

Since I'm still in thrall to my Dominic, I shan't offer any other candidate. I already have both the prize books which I can thoroughly recommend. Best of luck to everyone who enters. The winner is in for a treat.

Joanna

CrystalG said...

If I were on a desert island, I would choose a sexy survivalist to be marooned with. He would know how to live off the land so we could have food and shelter and he would be my hero for saving me from dying. ;)

Anna Campbell said...

Hiya Jenny! I met Jenny a couple of years ago at the Australian Romance Writers conference and we bonded over the fact that I've been a lifelong fan of her writing (Ally, you're right - The Bedroom Assignment is one of the best romances in any genre I've ever read)and a Regency nut, specifically Georgette Heyer. Who would I like to be stuck on a desert island with? My heroes tend to be tortured types and hard on a girl's nerves when she hasn't got any clean underwear to change into. So I think I'm going to go for a favourite from the movies. Nathaniel from The Last of the Mohicans. A girl would never have to go without stylish mocassins or roast wilderbeest if she was stuck in the wilderness with that burnin' hunka lurv!

Anna x

Jenny Haddon said...

Well, I thought I'd left a comment already but it didn't seem to work. So apologies if this comes up twice.

Joanna - hi, don't knock gorgeous Dominic just because he's a duke. The blessed G Heyer's Sylvester was a dook and he could put a poultice on an injured horse.

Crystalg - yup, me too. I'd want someone who knew how to make a fire and find food and preferably GET US OUTTA THERE. Competence and a cool head come high up my list of heroes' essentials.

Mind you, he'd have to make me laugh. I wouldn't want to be in a permanent state of awed gratitude either.

Hi Anna - Thank you. As you know, the enthusiasm is mutual. Anna's 'Claiming the Courtesan' is terrific. When people have stayed in my spare room, I won't let them out of the front door until I've checked that it's still on the shelf.

Nope, Nathaniel doesn't do it for me. Never cracks a smile.

Jenny

Kate Hardy said...

Antonio Banderas. Because I'm currently writing a Spanish doctor (uh, wash my mouth out, Catalan... he's quite bolshy about it) and it would be inspiring.

Or, if I could be mushy... my DH. Being on holiday last week was bliss because we got to spend some quality time together. (Work was banned...)

I wanted Jay's shirts, too. :o)

Anna Campbell said...

Love the idea of the Courtesan frisk, Jenny. Think you might start a new dance craze! Thanks for the kind words. Nathaniel does crack a smile INSIDE! ;-)

Nathalie D. said...

Hi,

the hero would be Ruark from Shanna by K.Woodiwiss, I mean, what is there not to like there... and he will be able to work the fields if we are stuck there ;)

Cherie J said...

Well, since I am married, I have to say my hubby. If I weren't married I would say one of Christine Feehan's hottie Ghostwalker heroes. They would know how to rough it but would be totally chivalrous with serving and protecting me.

Dena said...

Hi Jenny,
So many to pick,so I'll pick two. My literary pick would be Adam Black a gorgeous Fae from Karen Moning's books.Since he is Fae he could magically get anything we needed,of course the one thing he couldn't get us was rescued,lol. My Celebrity pick would be Matthew Maconaghy,he's strong,good-looking and knows how to rough it,so he could take wonderful care of me.

KimW said...

A real hero would be my husband. He's warm, kind, positive and makes me smile. I think I can take anything with him around.

Or maybe Kazim because I could get more than one night with him. lol He sounds hot!

robynl said...

David James Elliot from JAG(TV series) who is Rabb Harmon on the show.
In books, Chase in Sandra Brown's Texas trilogy; cowboy, need I say more.

Virginia said...

Hi Jenny, I would pick my husband, but I think we would starve knowing how he is. So I guess I will go with Kevin Coster. I think he could handle the job. He is easy on the eyes and it doesn't hurt to dream.

Jenny Haddon said...

Wow, what a selection.

Nathalie D - I'd forgotten Ruark - read him when I was a teen, i think. Yes, he'd certainly keep you safe, fed and entertained!

Dena and Cherie j - interesting. I enjoy paranormals but I think all the brooding would hack me off a bit if we're stuck in the jungle. Stylish - maybe too stylish; I don't want to feel wretched about being grubby and unbeautiful by contrast to then; not as well as everything else. But I doubt their practicality. On the other hand, maybe there'd be other compensations.

robyn C - I overdosed on cowboys in my youth, until Anne McAllister brought me back. Chase sounds a real candidate.

Virginia - Kevin Costner looks pretty together, I agree. I reckon he'd stand up to the challenge AND be a stimulating companion.

Kate Hardy - Antonio Banderas, Yum!

I think it's great that so many people would pick their husband. Who says romance is dead? Yay!

Jenny

Jan Jones said...

Well, actually, I wouldn't have a hero at all. I'd have a friend. That way, there would be no demarcation (me-find-firewood, you-cook-three-course-meal), no recriminations (I thought you were going to light the beacon signal), no need for anyone to have headaches after a hard day building a beach shelter.

Also, we'd be able to talk, laugh, problem-solve, discuss favourite books, share the mascara
and divide the coconut milk to the last drop without any hassle.

Anne Gracie said...

Lovely cat tales, Jenny/Sophie. I had a Claude like that, fur of thick black silk, and a Will of Iron.
And then my Harry-cat who taught dogs to nibble her neck.

Now, for a hero...
I dithered over this question for a while. so many heroes... And then I thought, someone who would make me laugh on a desert island -- all that sand and sun and surf... sooo depressing!

But then I thought, someone who was endlessly cracking jokes would become very irritating if I was stuck there forever, so then I realized that who I need is a hero who would get us both off the wretched island, and then I had no doubt of who it would be -- Guy Farne, from Eva Ibbotson's Magic Flutes.

If ever a man of determination and ability was it, as well as being gorgeous -- those eyes -- and kind and loving--and musical-- well, Guy is the hero for me.

Jenny Haddon said...

As a fellow Ibbotson fan, I share your fancy for Guy, Anne. ('Magic Flutes' won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award when it came out, I think.)

But I think I'd rather vote for Quin on from 'The Morning Gift'. After all he's BEEN in the jungle.

Oh I love the idea of a cat training a dog. Well, hell, they train people, so why not? There's a lovely scene of feline canine reconciliation in the wonderful Diana Wynne Jones's 'Dog Star'. (YA, so lots of people won't have read it. But it's on my keeper shelf and I reread it regularly.)

Jenny

Anonymous said...

Jenny - I read the Bedroom Assignment (as highly recommended by a friend)in 2006 and I agree, Jay had something so edgy, exotic and dangerous about him, that I have never forgotten the book.

I remember thinking that it was quite a daring HMB Romance for anumber of reasons. Yum.

Other than that I wouldn't mind being on a desert island with John Thornton from North & South. His moral rigidity would be rather tiring but in that heat, he'd definitely have to take off his cravat and so some smouldering.


Phillipa

jennybrat said...

Hi Jenny from another Jenny. I'd choose Roarke from the Eve Dallas series.

Anne McAllister said...

That's what happens when you go away for a day. Joanna and Jenny BOTH appear!

I'm glad I don't have to pick which book of Jenny's I'd want to be stranded on a desert island with. That would be like having to choose between my children. I have sooo many on my keeper shelf.

But hero on a desert island (husband excluded because he'd have a raft made and us off the island in no time so he could get home to grade papers), I'll take Hugh in his towel. He seems pretty resourceful. He's gorgeous. He can sing and he can make me laugh. And he could bring the towel. I'm sure it would be useful.

 

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