Monday, October 19, 2009

AMBA 2009

Each year the Association of Mills and Boon Authors get together for a posh lunch in London.  Editors and other guests from Mills and Boon also attend and it's quite the event.  This year Romance author Fiona Harper attended and has been gracious enough to give us a full account!

Every year I look forward to the Association of Mills & Boon Authors lunch. It’s a chance to get out of my writing uniform (tracksuit bottoms and old T-shirts, or possibly pyjamas), dress up and meet other people who love doing the same thing I do – writing for Harlequin Mills & Boon.

This year we met up at Tutton’s restaurant in Covent Garden. Since I was a bit early, I wandered round the shops for a bit (how much for a cup of coffee!?) and then made my way to my destination. I found fellow authors Kate Hardy, Caroline Anderson, Michelle Styles and Josie Metcalfe drinking coffee and chatting outside and joined them. It was a great way to start the day, sitting in the warm sunshine of a September afternoon, watching the people bustle around one of London’s top tourist spots, and discussing heroes and plots and generally having a good old gossip.

This year we had some extra guests for the event. Documentary film-maker Julie Mogan has been working on a programme about Mills & Boon for well over a year now and she and her camera operator and sound technician were busy filming snippets of the action. It was rather disconcerting to be screeching greetings to friends I hadn’t seen in ages, only to discover a fluffy boom microphone above my head. I do hope I didn’t say anything too daft. But, well, it was me, so I probably did.

Here’s some of the ‘Modern Heat’ girls: Heidi Rice, Kate Hardy and new signing Lucy King.

I foolishly also agreed to do a ‘vox pop’ for the film crew while we were all greeting each other and chatting before lunch was ready. Just tell us the name of your latest book, the name of your hero and what the book’s about, they told me. Now I know how people on those blooper shows feel. Honestly, how could I forget the title of my own book? My only prayer is that my bit will be totally unuseable, or that everybody else was much more eloquent and breezy than I was, and I won’t have to watch myself on TV sometime next summer with a cushion over my face. (I’ll be watching with a cushion over my face, I mean. They didn’t film me with a cushion over my face, although I’m wishing now they had…)

After that trauma, I was pleased to go downstairs into the vaulted dining rooms in Tutton’s cellar for lunch. I have to say, the food was gorgeous! The starter was gravadlax with potato salad and a honey and grain mustard dressing. The main course was a delicious chicken breast in a lovely sauce with Greek salad, and the pudding was strawberry and vanilla crème brulée. Sigh. My tummy was very happy after all that lovely food.

After dinner Guy Hallowes, M&B’s Managing Director, who is retiring, gave a short speech and received a small gift from AMBA for speaking. We also had reports from Claire Sommerville giving us the heads-up on all that’s been happening in the marketing department and Tim Cooper telling us about Mills & Boon’s progress in the digital arena. Apparently, Mills & Boons are the best selling eBooks in the UK!

It all wound up with the Mills & Boon champagne toast to the authors...all in all a lovely day to put on a bit of glamour!

1 comment:

  1. Great reportage, Fi. Fabulous day, lovely food, good company. Pretty much perfect.

    Oh, and having been asked to name my hero and tell me about him, I gabbled on about heroine instead. Useless!