Guildford Book Festival… and a bit of grit in your romance

To Guildford last Friday to take part in the epic (nine days!) Book Festival there. I was appearing at the Girl’s Night event with bestselling writers Katie Fforde, Matt Dunn and Polly Williams, among others, and sat in on a very enlightening session on Mills and Boon.

It’s not all Barbara Cartland, that’s for sure. I had no idea, for example, that the M and B panel of experts are prone to disapprove if the moment of passion does not encompass the use of a condom. I also hadn’t known that one of its bestselling writers was not just male, but used to write combat books.

It reminded me of a story I was once told at the Romantic Novelist’s Association about a best-selling romance author, another gentleman who writes as a woman. I will spare his (her) blushes, and call her Charlotte Spencer. The author had one too many drinks one evening and got into an altercation, which landed him in the police station. The local newspaper took great delight the following day in reporting that Miss Charlotte Spencer, author of romance novels, had been arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct.

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