Now - *cough* - does anyone notice a difference in the approach??? See now that's the price of fame. This side of the planet M&B is an iconic name. And when you're *up there* it automatically means people get to take the mickey out of it. Criticisms like 'it's dated' or 'it's cliched' or 'theyre all the same' or 'the writing is bad' ?!!!$$$%%%& or 'they're anti-feminist' or...well I think we've pretty much heard all the tired lines by now haven't we?
The question is - can we turn the tide in 2008???
We all love em. A Mills and Boon book is sold - wait for it - EVERY FIVE SECONDS in the UK. That speaks for itself. And we've been saying how great the books are and how much fun loud and proud at The Pink Heart Society for a year and a half now. But with the Centenery Celebrations and all the promotional activity can we now get the message out there a little wider? Gosh I hope so!!!
Now my argument would be that there's no age limit on fantasy or escapism. Men get to play video games, mess about on football fields and watch/read cartoons regularly enough (The Simpsons being a classic example). Okay, granted, their model making days may now have larger pieces to play with (car parts, building materials, etc,etc) but they still take time out to remain young at heart. In order to prove myself a fully paid up member of the 21st Century womans club should I read nothing but Philosophy and Self Improvement books while limiting myself to Nigella Lawson type cooking and Supernanny type raising of kids???(If that's the case I should point out I'm failing miserably and should be expelled from the club forthwith!!!)
WHY can't I enjoy the modern day/mature equivalent of a latter day fairy story. WHY can't I read something that leaves you with that guaranteed sense of happily ever after? WHY am I incapable of understanding the difference between real life and fantasy if I read these books? WHY? WHY? WHY? (insert stomping of feet and pouting and can I have a lollipop if I'm a good little girl...)
And WHY can Mills & Boon type storylines appear vaguely hidden in everything from movies to soaps and yet when I make my living being blatantly happy and proud of what I do I'M THE ONE that has to deal with the *look down our noses* attitude of so called *PROPER WRITER'S* and *EDUCATED READERS*?????? Huh? Huh? I just don't get it. Someone help me out here...
I always thought, and maybe this is naive, that part of the great feminist movement that hundreds of thousands of womens still fight for gave us the right of FREEDOM OF CHOICE. Am I wrong about that gang? If I want to indulge in some out and out fantasy and still believe in the power of love in all it's varying forms both on and off the page - am I wrong to want that too?
This year we writers get to talk about Mills & Boon books on a scale we've probably never done before. And already several writers, myself included, have had interviews that have actually been very positive. So is the tide turning? What would YOU say to the critics? Do you think that some of the tired old criticisms just make the people saying them look like the fools? Do the sales and the longevity speak for themselves?
Should we really have to defend what we read and write?
I'm PROUD of what I do. So there! I LOVE that I'm a very very very small part of a century long history in publishing. I LOVE happily ever afters. And as to the heroes... wellllll... like Forest Gump... that's about all I have to say about that.... You guys can fill the rest of the sentence in on your own ;)
So what would YOU say to help turn the tide???