Tuesday, August 13, 2013

40 for 40 - Sophie Weston

The romance writing world is an interesting network.  So often I've found that if I've read and enjoyed someone's books, then I usually like them when I meet them. This rule of thumb applies to today's guest -  Sophie Weston . And it's intriguing to see that in her post she mentions  the same sort of thing  - reading my books before she met me.

If I'm honest I can quite recall exactly when I met Sophie - she seems to have been part of my writing life for so long. We've connected at so many RNA events - conferences, award lunches . . . and then there are the AMBA lunches.   I've been lucky enough to visit her in her London home and meet her cats. Though I haven't met the present feline incumbent Tom Kydd who like Flora and Charlie  is a glorious Maine Coon.  

I had to smile reading Sophie's post - it brought back such  memories of the time I ran the Conference Virgins - ahem - Conference First-Timers network.  I made so many friends through that. You've met several of them here in the 40 for 40.  Thanks so much for the memories Sophie - and welcome to the blog.
Here's Sophie -
I cannot say what a pleasure it is to congratulate Kate and Steve on achieving their 40th. We have shared a lot over the years – the anxieties of professional authorship, the delights and woes of living with cats (we are now both under the paw of Maine Coons), the frustration when a book hits a snag and, lo, the euphoria when it shakes free and heads to the end at full speed.


Before I met Kate I already knew and admired her books, with their enviably passionate heroes.  But I really got to know what a thoroughly good egg she is when I ran my first (of three) conferences for the Romantic Novelists’ Association.  The conference had been growing in scope and popularity for some years and that year a high proportion were going to be attending for the first time.  Kate, bless her, volunteered to be den mother of all the first timers.


And what a service they got! Her pre-conference briefings were so informative and, above
all, so friendly, that those first time attendees – conference virgins as they called themselves – knew each other well before they even arrived on campus.  They had come from all over the country and never met before. Many, though by no means all, were unpublished. One, dear Bev, was very ill. She told me that she had almost not come because she would know no one, had not been writing much recently, and was feeling down about her treatment. But she knew the others, after Kate’s first timers’ loop, and they all urged her to give it a whirl. I remember the hug Kate gave her when Bev arrived;  we sorted out disabled parking for to get about campus;  Steve was always unobtrusively on hand with calm, unhurried support if she needed it; the whole group – Kate’s group – buoyed Bev up the whole weekend, so that she went home zinging with enthusiasm on fun and friendship, as well as writing. Magic!


So Happy Anniversary, Kate and Steve, life enhancers both.    



Sophie Weston has written lots of Harlequin Mills and Boon; GETTING THE POINT, basically punctuation for the petrified as Jenny Haddon with Elizabeth Hawksley; and  TO MARRY A PRINCE, as Sophie Page for Arrow books. She is currently 100,00 words into the Book of her Heart. She has been running away from it for 10 years and is scared to death.       

OOPS - sorry - I forgot to post Sophie's question  - so here it is:

Question - I've got a sequel to TO MARRY A PRINCE in mind. I keep asking myself, how much of your own life would you be able to hang onto, once you'd married your prince? What do you think? 

Prize: signed copy of TO MARRY A PRINCE


Anonymous said...

I smiled too when I read Sophie's blog post. I remember that RNA conference, though I wasn't a virgin (ahem).

When I was a writing virgin, before I was published , I had reason to be very grateful to both Sophie and Kate. I had been offered my first ever contract (by Mills & Boon Historicals) and I didn't have a clue what to do next. So I sent out a plea for help on the RNA members' loop, and guess which two wonderful ladies offered me help and guidance? Yup. The Maine Coone fanciers.

So I have all sorts of reasons for being grateful to both of them, including over 10 years of friendship, and I'm raising my cyber champagne to Kate and Steve, to congratulate them both and to wish them many more happy years together. And happy writing, too.

love from

Sophie Weston said...

Goodness,Joanna,I'd forgotten that. I must have been feeling very confident - or maybe you asked a nice simple question. I do love people who ask me questions I can answer!


Kate Walker said...

Me too, Joanna. I'd forgotten too - but I'm so glad that I was able to help. I agree with Sophie - you must have asked a nice, answerable question. Which is obviously why I could answer it.

Kaelee said...

Sophie Weston ~ Another name I recognized at once. Kate has the best friends.

I think that if you were a commoner and married a prince you would not be able to hang on to much of your life. You might be able to do some of the stuff you enjoyed doing before you got married but in today's world you would always be under the camera threat. It's so sad that with celebrity comes lack of privacy.

Sophie Weston said...

I think you're probably right, Kaelee. In the sequel I wanted my new princess, a committed ecologist, to hang onto a proper job. But I don't think she (or I)is going to make it work.

bn100 said...

maybe some of it

Janet Gover said...

I remember that conference - I was indeed one of Kate 'virgins' (cough cough)
At that time, I had published only one short story, and wasn't at all sure I belonged there... among people - like Kate Walker and Sophie Weston - whose books had given me so much pleasure as a reader.
You all made me so welcome.
I also remember - and still often wear - the glass heart-shaped necklace Kate gave me at a later conference to celebrate the publication of my first novel.
Sophie - you ask how much of yourself can you retain if you married into royalty - I say whatever happens, you can retain all of yourself when you have friends such as these.

Anne said...

Sophie, I would buy a sequel to TO MARRY A PRINCE in a heartbeat! Please write it -- I lOVED that book.

Waving also to Joanna Maitland, and especially sending hugs across the ocean to Kate and Steve. Kate, I'd met on line, through the M&B authors' loop, but I met them both in the flesh at a conference downunder, at Sydney's Coogee beach, along with Anne McAllister. It was fabulous. And I've kept meeting up with Kate at conferences ever since.

Happy anniversary Kate and Steve— big hugs to you both!

Jean Fullerton-East End Girl & Author said...

I'd like to add my congratulate Kate and Steve for their 40 years. I was one of Kate's virgins at my first ever RNA conference at Guildford Uni. I turned up as a very very newbie not knowing anyone and feeling a little lost but Kate kindly took me and the dozen or so other virgins under her wing and made us very welcome. I met my long-term friend Janet Gover, who was also one of Kate's virgins. Many of Kate original virgins are now published authors and she has to take some credit for that because right from the start she encouraged us to believe in ourselves. Happy 40th Kate and Steve.

Mary Preston said...

As a reader I find the goings on in the world of Romance writers to be so warm & generous. It's what I would expect though from those who give us stories full of love and hope.

If you married a Prince with a capital P, I think you can pretty much kiss your former life goodbye. If you have a strong personality you may be able to hold on tight to aspects, but in general...

Sophie Weston said...

Janet and Jean, isn't it great that you both lost your innocence and gained a publisher or several. I love your NURSE MILLIE books, Jean; can't wait for the next. And Janet, latest overnight visitor didn't get to sleep until the small hours because he wanted to finish you GIRL RACERS. Loved it, too.

Anne, so looking forward to Freddy's story. You shall have TMAP2,I promise.

Isn't it great that Kate and Steve have sowed so many good feelings round the world?

Sophie Weston said...

Mary, I fear you're right.

My sequel which was supposed to be an on-going Happy Ever After has turned into a woman-losing-her-identity story. Still, characters will do that to you sometimes. I'm going to have to walk round the block and work out what she does to get herself back. Just hope it doesn't turn into TO LEAVE A PRINCE!

Yes romance writers are pretty supportive of each other in my experience. Some of my best mates are.

Eli Yanti said...

Just hope I'm the one on the conference virgins :D.

Love the cover of the Marry the Prince :)

Kate Walker said...

Anne, Janet Joanna and Jean - I know this is Sophie's blog but I just have to butt in here and say a quick thank you for the lovely things you've said. It's true, Mary that the world of Romantic Novelists is a network of great woman (well - usually women!) who know how to support and encourage each other. And that way great friendships are made. Perhaps it's something to do with the fact that we all understand what it feels like to have those voices in our heads that demand we tell their story. But as Janet so wisely put it:
you can retain all of yourself when you have friends such as these.

Well Said, Janet - you should be a writer! ;o)


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