Archive for April, 2008

When I saw this headline in yesterday’s Times, I was intrigued! 

Coincidence 1: The book I’m about to publish is called The Importance of Being… Emma, a modern take on Jane Austen’s Emma. The headline above refers to Gwyneth Paltrow – to an interview that’s in today’s Times magazine, which I will be rushing out to buy.

Coincidence 2: Gwyneth played Emma in the 1996 film version by Columbia/Miramax.

Coincidence 3: In the same newspaper there was a photo of Gwyneth at the London premiere of Iron Man, showing off her great legs in a very short skirt and high heels – see photo below left by WENN on www.celebitchy.com (a lot clearer than my scanned effort from the Times!). Reminds me – well, it would, wouldn’t it? – of my book cover…

Photo by WENN on www.celebitchy.com 24 April 2008


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I recently watched the entire series of “City of Vice” starring Ian McDiamid and Iain Glen. The series was on channel 4 last year.

It was an entralling program or 5 episodes covering the birth of the “Bow Street Runners” the first ever police force. What I didn’t know was the Bow Street Runners were the brainchild of Henry Fielding (author of Tom Jones).

The series is quite dark, and covers the rough side of life – prostitution, gangs, robbery and a myriad of other crimes that London was home to and how Fielding and his brother tried to stop it.

What has this got to do with romantic fiction? Well, not a lot – but that’s my point. As a writer I tend to shy away from the hard side of life. Is this a romantic view of the world? Yes! Is it unrealistic? Yes I suppose it is. But I see nothing wrong with escaping the real world and into a book where the hard side of life exists but isn’t dwelt on or only used to further the plot or challenge the characters.

It is “fiction” after all!


Jenna Dawlish

PS City of Vice is out on DVD now.

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I recently visited the North York Moors and found plenty of romantic inspiration there.   The stark beauty of the famous Haworth moors is absent, but the stunning scenery of the Hambleton Hills and surrounding countryside has a serene, timeless feel – just one reason why the area was popular with the medieval monks who founded several monastic dynasties there.  


Rievaulx Abbey, Fountains Abbey, Byland Abbey, Kirkham Priory and Whitby Abbey are all worth a visit and it’s easy to see why over 800 years ago St. Aeldred described Rievaulx as ‘Everywhere peace, everywhere serenity and a marvellous freedom from the tumult of the world.’ 


Rievaulx Abbey


There are plenty of historic houses in the area too, including Castle Howard, Beningborough Hall and Newby Hall (setting for the recent ITV production of ‘Mansfield Park’).  The spa town of Harrogate has a pump room museum and great shopping.  Given my fascination with all things Georgian/Regency, I particularly love Fairfax House in York – the finest Georgian townhouse in England….

Fairfax House, York

Fairfax House, York


There’s a virtual tour here to enjoy but if you’re in the area, make sure you go along and soak up the atmosphere!



I caught up on some editing and scribbled down ideas in my ever-handy notebook during my stay.  However, I failed miserably to resist the lure of Betty’s tea shops – their fat rascals are to die for!   

Betty\'s fat rascals 

Most exciting of all, my complimentary author copies of The Paradise Will were waiting for me when I returned home….I really love the cover by David Young!

The Paradise Will


 The Paradise Will is published by Robert Hale on 30th April 2008 – for more details and to read an excerpt, go to my web-site www.elizabethhanbury.com


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Romance Matters

Yep, I know that’s the name of the Romantic Novelists Association’s newletter – so it’s taken. But I think it’s so true.

Because romance does matter. Whether it’s real or imagined, it meets a basic human need. That’s why readers – and writers – of romance are so diverse.

I mean, look at us three!

We have some things in common – we’re all female, married with kids, living in England. But we’re from different decades (1950s, 1960s, 1970s), prefer different genres of romantic fiction (modern, Regency, Victorian), write in different styles, etc.

Anything else?



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