Harlequin Author Interview

Read our interview with the Harlequin author
Michelle Reid...

Could you please introduce yourself?
Hello, my name is Michelle Reid, and I have been writing for Harlequin since 1989. Gosh, that's twenty-five years ago! Time flies extremely fast when you're having fun.
How did you become an author for Harlequin?
I was lucky! The first manuscript I sent to Harlequin ("A Question of Pride") just happened to be the kind of modern romance story they were looking for at the time, so Harlequin snapped it up. And they telephoned me to tell me the good news on Christmas Eve - how romantic is that?
What made you want to become a writer? Have you always wanted to be one?
I've always had a vivid creative imagination, but I never believed for a single second that my stories would be published. And even now, all these years later, it still feels like a dream to me.
Who are your favorite authors?
Romantically speaking, Jane Austen, of course. And for sheer passion and fun, you can't beat a Georgette Heyer Regency novel. I still go back and read through the whole series to this day.
What's your favorite book?
I don't have one single favourite book, but I love to read books that make me laugh, cry, hurt, get angry - books that squeeze all those emotional pressure points everybody has.
Which of your books do you like most and why?
I have a few favourites of my own books - stories that I'm proud of: "Gold Ring of Betrayal", which made me weep as I wrote it; "The Ultimate Bride", which was difficult to write and still causes controversy to this day; "The Mistress Bride", which challenged me because the hero and heroine are so deeply in love from the very beginning of the book.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I do not have a clue! It's just out there in the world, in the tiniest sentence in a magazine or a news item, something in a conversation you overhear that sets the creative juices flowing. It's truly baffling what will inspire a story.
How do you choose your characters' names?
Oh, choosing names has always been very difficult for me; it is one of the hardest parts of creating a story, in fact, and I can change characters' names several times as I'm writing, before I find the one that I feel really fits them.
Have you ever read one of your stories as a manga? If so, what did you think of it?
I think mangas are fantastic! It's truly amazing how a manga can condense a whole story into mainly pictures and still make the story work. Very clever.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends on the book. Anything from three months to a year, depending on how difficult the problems are that I've set my main characters. Then sometimes a book will almost write itself! Like "The Bellini Bride", which I wrote in just six weeks, and "The Kanellis Scandal", which took eight weeks. I wish all my books could have been as easy to write as those two!
Do you have any advice to give aspiring authors?
Yes - write from the heart. Write from the gut. Know your two main characters well and let them tell their story, because they are the ones who will add that magical power and passion.
How do you spend an average day?
Lazily, when I'm not writing! When I am writing, I'm very hard on myself and will work ten to twelve hours a day.
Do you have any interests other than reading?
I love my garden, and will spend hours happily digging and hoeing and clipping and pruning, and I've also started to knit again after years and years of never picking up knitting needles and wool.
Do you have a favorite place to write?
Right here, at my desk, where I'm sitting now, with my big-screen iMac in front of me, and the most spectacular and ever-changing view of Morecambe Bay, just over my right shoulder. Oh, and always a full cup of coffee within easy reach!