Saturday, 30 July 2011

Adventures in New York - part 2

On Sunday morning I met up with Love Inspired authors Camy Tang and Danica Favorite for a trip to church. We set off from our hotel in Times Square for Greenwich Village. As is always the way on the first day in a new city, we got lost. Thank goodness for Google Maps, Camy's iPhone and Danica's sense of direction!

However, one of the plus points of getting lost is all the wandering you do trying to find your way. We walked past the tea shop called Tea & Sympathy on Greenwich Avenue. Being British, I'm always in need of a good cup of tea, and it seemed I was in the company of two fellow tea-aholics who couldn't resist going back there after the service.

Now, I should have remembered the subtle culture shock a Brit gets from visiting America. We think, because we see American locations on the television all the time that it somewhere familiar, somewhere like home. In some ways it is, but in other ways it is totally different. It's a bit like arriving somewhere and not knowing the rules. For example, for the first couple of days I had a hard time finding the road signs. They weren't were expected them to be. And don't get me started on toilet stalls... Anyway, I'd forgotten that lots of these minor differences (plus the jet lag) add up and give me a vague sense of disorientation for the first day or so that I'm Stateside. However, the moment I stepped into Tea & Sympathy the world turned itself right way up again.

We'd stumbled onto an English teashop, full of union Jack bunting, floral teapots and pictures of the Queen. I could knowledgeably inform my fellow tourists what "bangers" and "clotted cream" were. And I could get a good cup of tea. Heaven. (I am also now busting to write a story set in New York with an English teashop-owning heroine.) Unfortunately, my stomach was to jet lagged to want anything more than a cup of tea, but we had a great time chatting over a very late breakfast.

Then it was time to get back to the hotel and meet my roomie, Donna Alward, who was flying in from Canada that afternoon!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Swept Off Her Stilettos - Inspiration

Sometimes I have to root around in my memory to remember where the idea for a book came from, but not with this one. There was one big polka-dotted inspiration for this book: my heroine, Coreen.

She first appeared in Invitation To The Boss's Ball as the heroine's best friend, and immediately began to steal the show. Alice was a skinny redhead, not confident in her own sexuality, and I decided she needed a best friend and business partner who was her complete opposite, so up popped Coreen.

Coreen accused Alice of being a doormat where men were concerned:

'I do not invite men to walk all over me,’ Alice said in a quiet, but surprisingly defiant tone, well aware that Coreen would have no trouble kicking just about any man into line with her pillar-box red, patent, peep-toes wedges. Vintage, of course.

And with that line, I pretty much had an idea who Coreen was - a vintage drama queen who expected every man she met to fall down and worship at her feet. Of course, when I decided to give her her own story, it was obvious she should run into a man who refused to do just that. I had a rich, alpha hero all picked out for her, and then, somehow, that idea got flipped on its head too. Enter Adam. That's when the fun really began!

I spotted this lovely photo while looking at vintage fashion blogs when I was doing the research that this book. The dark hair, the red lips, the slightly cheeky glint in the model's eye, all reminded me of Coreen.

Many thanks to Rodelle from Adore Vintage for the use of this photo.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Back from my travels: RWA - part one

Well, I've been a busy little bunny, travelling here and there for the last few weeks, and then I got home to find a family that needed some of my time and proofs for the next book to be checked, and a million and one other things on my to-do list. Anyway, I thought I'd belatedly blog about my travels and intersperse those blogs with the 'behind the scenes' info for Swept Off Her Stilettos'.

So here we go - RWA part one:

Heading into New York city for the first time was a surreal experience. I must see a shot of it nearly every day on the television on some show or advert, but I'd never been there in person before. As I sat in the airport shuttle on the way to my hotel, I was feeling a little punch-drunk from the flight, and it was really my bedtime, even though the sun was hours away from setting. Suddenly, the van rose up over a ridge and there was Manhattan in front of me. I could only see the outlines of the buildings in the pollution haze. No details, just layer upon layer of slightly magnified shapes in varying shades of beige. It looked slightly unreal, yet familiar at the same time. There was the Empire State Building - and over there the Chrysler Building. I wish I'd taken a photo.

Had a rather jet-lagged dinner (think I had a burger?) with fellow Brit Kate Johnson and her friend, and then fell into bed, leaving my luggage unpacked and in the bathroom, cos I was having a moment of paranoia about bed bugs.

The next morning I got up and explored Times Sqaure. It was the emptiest I saw it all week, because by mid-morning it's packed and it stays that way until late into the night. And then I found somehwere to have breakfast. Ended up at Junior's, which was right across from the hotel, with a great menu.

It's become a tradition of mine to eat proper American pancakes for my first breakfast when I visit the States (after the 'whipped butter' incident of 07). Junior's didn't disappoint me, with the softest fluffiest pancakes I've ever had, served with a delicious little bowl of stewed apples and raisins with cinnamon. Heaven.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Two conferences and a total collapse

After doing the RWA conference in New York and then heading off to the RNA conference in Wales within a few days, I am officially wilting. And I've got two weeks worth of admin to catch up on too!

Will hopefully get around to posting about both of these events shortly, but in the meantime I have uploaded my photos to my Facebook page:

RWA pics here.

RNA pics here.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

News round-up

Well, so much for posting from RWA! I got so busy I hardly had time to turn my computer on! I'm going to post an update on my adventures in New York in the next couple of days, but first I've got a few bits of news to share:

First off (and I'm really excited by this!) my latest book, Swept Off Her Stilettos, is available now at Mills and Boon! It'll be on the shelves next month in the UK, and also available online at Harlequin too. You can read a bit if you click on the 'browse' widget in the sidebar. (Yes, I know the cover is different, but it's the same book, I promise!)

If you enjoyed either Alice's story (Invitation To The Boss's Ball) or Jennie's story (Three Weddings And A Baby/Millionaire's Baby Bombshell), then you'll have met the heroine, Coreen, before. She's an irrespressible flirt, a vintage-fashion queen and a danger to anything with a Y chromosome. Of course, her no-prisoners approach to romance is going to end her up in trouble eventually....

Second bit of good news is that the middle book in these three linked books, Three Weddings And A Baby is only £1.49 at at the moment - a total bargain! And it's also reduced to $2.38 at

And lastly, my books are now available on iTunes - including the audio book version of Invitation To The Boss's Ball. Just search for "fiona harper" and up my books pop!