Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Brand new Romance author Nina Harrington has her debut coming up, so we thought it would be fun if she popped in to talk a little about herself and her very first Harlequin Romance, ALWAYS THE BRIDESMAID! Take it away Nina!

Nina Harrington grew up in rural Northumberland, England, and decided age eleven, that she was going to be a librarian, because then she could read all of the books in the public library whenever she wanted!

Since then she has been a shop assistant, community pharmacist, technical writer, university lecturer, volcano walker, and Industrial scientist, before taking a career break to realise her dream of being a fiction writer.

When she is not creating stories which make her readers smile, her hobbies are cooking, eating, enjoying good wine, and talking, for which she has had specialist training.

Nina’s first book for the Mills and Boon Romance Line is called ‘Always the Bridesmaid’, and will be published in July 2009.

Tell us about your road to publication.

If you are sitting comfortably, this story begins three years ago.

My history with Harlequin started in 2005 when I discovered that the Romantic Novelists Association [RNA] in the UK ran a scheme for New Writers where an experienced published author will give you a critical critique and revision notes for your manuscript before you submit to an agent or publisher.

I had just complete a witty Romantic Suspense story aimed at the Silhouette Bombshell line, with a very Lara Croft heroine and exploding yachts and motorcycle chases. I knew that it was heavy on the action adventure and light on the romance, so this was an ideal opportunity to have some feedback before submitting to Silhouette.

I was surprised and delighted when the manuscript was recommended for a ‘second read’ where stories, which are almost at publication quality, are reviewed by another author before being recommended to a publisher.

In January 2006 I revised the text and sent the story off to the Richmond office.

Unfortunately my timing was terrible, and the Bombshell line was not taking new submissions at that time.

However, the editors were kind enough to critique the manuscript, AND best of all, said that they liked my voice, and offered to work with me to a new book. I had been working on another romantic book, and the best fit for this story was the ‘Tender Romance’ Line.

My first attempt in 2007 had WAY too many secondary characters and subplots to meet the guidelines and I quickly decided to move to a new idea where I could start fresh. I studied the line, analysed the work of my favourite authors and restructured the draft so that the emotional journey of the characters came first.

Congratulations on becoming a Mills & Boon author! How did you feel when you received the call?

Thrilled. Excited. Happy. Terrified!

I think that my road to that moment was more of a steep learning ramp rather than a curve, but in January 2008 I submitted a manuscript for the Romance Line to HMB Richmond office.
When the revision letter arrived in June, I was delighted to see that the editors thought the story had potential and the suggestions they made would clearly make it a more compelling book.

The revised manuscript was mailed last week of August and on Monday morning 1st September the telephone rang.

The HMB editor I had been working with from the Richmond office wanted to buy my book and a second!

And as an extra bonus? It was my birthday the following day.

Exactly six years and one day since I gave up my paid job as an Industrial Chemist to write full time.

I was alone in the house at the time, but before the day was out, I think my news was circulated across my pals in the Romance Community worldwide.

What can readers look forward to from your first Mills & Boon Romance ?

Always the Bridesmaid’ [ Romance, July 2009] is the love story of a damaged young woman who has created a new home for herself after a life-changing event. Six days before her best friend’s wedding, the bride’s millionaire brother turns her new life upside down, and in the process she rediscovers that there is someone who believes in her.

The story is set in a London bakery and includes a lot of delicious patisserie and chocolate!
I love this story, and hope you do to.

Always the Bridesmaid’ will be published in July 2009 from bookstores in the USA. In the UK and elsewhere is it available Online and through the Reader Subscription Service.

What’s next for Nina Harrington?

My second book for Harlequin Mills and Boon Romance is called ‘Hired: Sassy Assistant’ and will be published January 2010.

Sneak Peak?

I love cooking, so here is the recipe for my second book.

Take one rugged handsome doctor who has just flown in from the Himalayas.

Add a pretty country artist who wants nothing to do with him or his lifestyle.

Mix together at a prestigious London venue, then bake in front of a warm log fire for ten days in a small English village complete with thatched cottages and dogs. And cake.

Going forwards, I want to continue to write women’s fiction filled with warmth, hope, love and laughter. I want to entertain women like myself, who are working hard in busy lives with families of all kinds to support.

As a reader, I chose to watch romantic comedies on TV and in the cinema, and read about love and life in the limited personal time I have. I want to laugh and have fun, and for me, there is no better way of doing so than through the characters and positive relationships in the pages of a book.

As a writer, I know that in this modern world, we are bombarded daily by the media through TV, radio, mobile phones, DVDs, CDs, cinema, newspapers, magazines, gaming and of course the siren call of the internet. For someone to choose to pick up a romance novel, or in fact, any work of fiction, that novel has to be special – is has to offer the reader something that they cannot experience through any other medium – and that includes your favourite soap operas!

When you watch TV with your family, I feel that you are inviting the stories into your personal home through the medium of that TV screen.

But a book? Unless you are reading aloud, a book is a one to one relationship between the author, the characters, and the person holding the book and experiencing the story inside their head. And that is very special, because every single reader will come to that story with expectations founded on their unique lifetime of personal experience.

I would be thrilled to think that anyone who reads my work comes away with the sense of hope and love, all wrapped up in a warm smile.

That is my objective.

But then again, nobody said that this was going to be easy!


  1. A HUGE thank you to all of the amazing Harlequin Mills and Boon Romance authors who have welcomed me as a debut author.
    If you would like to learn more about my work and my journey, I have just launched my own Website and would love to welcome visitors to the site.

    Thanks again, Nina Harrington

  2. Welcome -- again -- to Harlequin Romance, Nina. New authors are the lifeblood of a series. They keep it fresh -- something that HMB have been doing for a hundred years.

    "Bridesmaid" books are a personal favourite and I can't wait to read your book.

  3. "Always the Bridesmaid" sounds really interesting. I will be looking for it in July. I hope it is being sold in the US.

  4. As a subscriber to the Romance line I get all six titles/month. I don't usually pay much attention to the the titles, but I was intrigued with, Always the Bridesmaid, since I went through that period in my life. I must have been a bridesmaid half a dozen times or more before I became a bride. I'm looking forward to reading this book.

    I love reading about authors paths to publication.

    Welcome Nina!

  5. Welcome to the Romance line, Nina. Your debut book sounds great. I can't wait to read it.


  6. Congratulations, Nina!

    I've been lucky enough to read a copy already... and it's just lovely. (If I couldn't do what I do for a living, I'd want your heroine's job!)

  7. Thank you- again - Liz. I do hope that you like it.
    Hello Ellen - 'Always the Bridesmaid' will be in bookstores in the US in July this year and online elsewhere. Thank you for your kind thoughts.
    Hi Sheanddeen, the book will be with you very soon - do stop by my website and leave a comment if you enjoy it. Thanks.
    Claire and Kate - thank you for your welcome and kind words. Kate you know me too well.LOL.

  8. Nina, congratulations on your sale and welcome to Harlequin Romance - popping cyber-bubbly in your honour as we speak!

    Your debut book sounds wonderful and I can't wait to read it.

  9. Coming in late as usual, but welcome to the wonderful, sometimes crazy world of publication, Nina.
    Already, your books sound lovely -- like sitting down for a cuppa with a really good friend

  10. Oh thank you Michelle and Barbara -what lovely compliments.
    I am told that my style is warm and witty with emotional heart - so
    I do hope that you love this story as much as I do, and yes, warm to it like a good friend over a cuppa. LOL :-)

  11. Congratulations, Nina, on your upcoming debut! I look forward to reading it!