Wednesday, April 23, 2008

News of an exciting project

Well, I promised you some news - here it is.

As you know, I was in London last week for the launch of the 2nd edition of the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance at London Book Fair. That was on the Tuesday.

But just before I left for London, I had an email from Julie Moggan who described herself as “ a UK based documentary maker and a fan of romantic fiction”. Julie told me that she’d just begun development on a new film that she was very excited about. Her plan was to “make a warm, intelligent, entertaining documentary celebrating the success of Mills & Boon novels in their centenary year. The film will feature Mills & Boon writers and their dedicated readers and will seek to explore the secrets of the brands enduring success.”

Julie had found me through my web site, she’d read about the 12 Point Guide and she wondered if we could meet to talk about the project and look into what the documentary might contain and how I could contribute to it.

Julie went on to say: “I'm a freelance director, but I have good connections with commissioning editors at Channel 4 and they are keen to support my next project. My work has been screened on BBC and Channel 4 and at a number of international film festivals. Most recently I directed a film for More4 about last year's Turner Prize and worked on a two-part Channel 4 documentary about post-natal depression. I trained at the National Film & Television School and I like to make warm, sensitive, life-affirming films that are always based on compassionate/respectful relationships between myself and my contributors.”
(You can read more about Julie and her work here )

Channel 4 -‘Compassionate . . . warm . . .life-affirming’ - that all sounded so good. But to be honest, she had me at ‘celebrating’ - anyone who wants to celebrate M&B and category romance rather than knocking and mocking them gets my interest!
So last Wednesday morning I had coffee and a l-o-n-g chat with Julie. She’s really easy to talk to, didn’t once mention the words bodice-rippers or formula or ‘churning them out.’ And believe me, after years of being interviewed, that’s a pretty rare event. I almost think it’s a first.
But of course I’m only one person. And a documentary needs more. A lot more.
Julie has already spoken to Midas, Mills and Boon’s PR company – she’ll be talking to editors and marketing in Richmond but what she needs are more contributions from authors and from readers who love these books. And that, obviously, made me think of all the other M&B writers I know, and of my readers in the UK.
With contributions from as many of us as possible, Julie will be able to collect up the material she needs to give an unbiased, accurate and up to date view of what M&B romance –writing and reading – is all about. We have a chance to put our case and have it heard and reported fairly.As Natasha Oakley says: It’s a big deal if one of the UK major TV channels wants to make a positive programme on us.

So here’s Julie’s letter asking for contributions and for people to talk to her about what they love about Mills & Boon, why you love to read it or write it. I hope that lots of you will volunteer to chat with her so that she can get as wide arrange of opinions, interests, ages etc as possible.

The only limit I have to mention is that, obviously, due to budget restrictions and the fact that most commissioning editors only want UK based ideas, Julie is looking for UK readers and writers for the final documentary:

Hi there, my name’s Julie. I’m a documentary maker and a fan of romantic fiction. I want to make a warm, intelligent documentary that celebrates the Mills & Boon publishing phenomenon in the year of its centenary. I want the film to take us into the personal worlds of Mills & Boon novelists and avid readers, to uncover the secrets of Mills & Boon’s enduring success and find answers to the perennial question ‘What do women really want ?!?!’.

I’m at the very early stages of research and at this point I’m very keen to chat to devoted fans of Mills & Boon novels, to hear what it is about the books that they love so much. I would also really love to hear from Mills & Boon novelists, to learn more about their lives & writing. I had a really exciting and inspiring meeting with Kate last week and she very kindly offered to let me make this posting on her website. So please do get in touch if you would be willing to talk. All discussion at this point would be off-camera and you’d be under no obligation to appear in the final documentary.

I look forward to hearing from you and telling you more about my project.

All the best
Julie Moggan

So if you think you can help, if you'd like to talk to Julie and tell her what you love about writing or reading romance, and why you think Mills & Boon has been such an incredible force in publishing, starting back in 1908 and still thriving, bigger and brighter than ever100 years later, why not get in touch with Julie - you can email her here - and let's see if we can make this the best, the most accurate - and the most celebratory documentary on M&B we can.


Biddy said...

YAY! I have winged an email in her direction!

Anonymous said...

CarolC said...

Very exciting news Kate, I've sent her an email as well.


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