A Very Warm Welcome to my Website!
Like most writers, I have been an obsessive reader all of my life.
In fact, I loved the local public library so much, that I decided at junior school that my dream job was to be a librarian. To be surrounded by so many books all day would be total heaven and I could read them whenever I wanted!
But it was the siren call of science that drew me first to Science Fiction Adventure, then Science Fact, and I became the first person in my family to go to university where I trained to be a pharmacist.
Since then I have been a student tutor, technical writer, university lecturer, volcano walker, and Industrial pharmacist, before fighting my way out of company team-building sessions in the Pharmaceutical Industry to focus on writing full time. No salary. No contract. But following my heart. Creating contemporary romance and crime fiction.
Fifteen years after taking that decision, over one and a million copies of my books have been sold worldwide in more than 30 countries. Some of them have even won international awards.
This site is all about sharing and curating aspects of training for a career as a professional novelist and sharing information about my books.
It is my sincere hope that other writers may find my musings useful on their journey and my wonderful readers will enjoy looking behind the scenes at my books.
So thank you for your time and for giving me the opportunity to share my work. Nina.
Nina Harrington grew up in rural Northumberland, England, and decided age eleven, that she was going to be a librarian, because then she could read all of the books in the public library whenever she wanted!
Since then she has been a community pharmacist, technical writer, university lecturer, volcano walker, and Industrial scientist, before taking a career break to realise her dream of being a fiction writer.
Since Nina’s debut romance in July 2009, her warm and witty books have been translated into 23 languages and are released in 30 countries worldwide.
When she is not creating stories which make her readers smile, without the aid of pharmaceuticals, her hobbies are cooking, eating, enjoying good wine, and talking, for which she has had specialist training.
Awards and Accolades
*THE LAST SUMMER OF BEING SINGLE
Dear Author Online Magazine Pick of the Month March 2011
*TIPPING THE WAITRESS WITH DIAMONDS
Winner: CataRomance Magazine Reviewers Choice Harlequin Romance of the Year 2010
Winner: Romantic Times Magazine Reviewers Choice Harlequin Romance of the Year 2010 and Pick of the Month January 2010
*ALWAYS THE BRIDESMAID
Shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists Association: Love Story of the Year Award 2010
Interviews and Articles
Some Questions and Answers
On Writing and Reading
*What do you love most about being a writer?
The idea that someone who I have never met, is going to take precious time out of their life to go on a journey with the characters I have created.
For me, reading a book is a one to one relationship between the author, the characters, and the person holding the book and experiencing the story inside their head. And that is so very special, because every single reader will come to any book with expectations founded on their unique lifetime of personal experience.
My goal is to create stories filled with hope and love wrapped up in a warm smile. Stories which are worthy of my readers.
*What do you like least about being a writer?
The very short distance between my home office and the refrigerator and my chocolate stash.
*Do you have a favourite locale or setting for your novels – What is it and why is it your favourite?
Although I live in a rural part of the South of England, I am only 60 miles from London. English village life plays a large part in my work, but I also love the energy of city life and find London to be a constant source of inspiration for settings.
*Which of the books you have written is your favourite?
My very first Mills and Boon Romance book ‘Always the Bridesmaid’ was published in July 2009. I hope that readers love the story as much as I do.
*What is your favourite recent Mills & Boon or Silhouette or MIRA title by another author?
I pounce upon anything written by Ally Blake and I loved ‘The Magnate’s Indecent Proposal’ so much that I actually sent her my first fangirl letter.
*What are your five all-time favourite books (with authors)?
Oh. This is such a difficult question to answer – I have bookcases crammed with Romance, Crime and Science Fantasy, as well as science and reference books.
All time favourites include:
‘Bet Me’ by Jennifer Crusie
‘The Miles Vorkosigan’ series by Lois McMaster Bujold
‘Absolute Power’ by David Baldacci
‘The Crystal Singer’ by Anne McAffrey
‘Natural Born Charmer’ by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
*What one specific piece of advice would you give a would-be writer trying to kick-start a career?
If you want to write for Harlequin Mills and Boon it is crucial to identify which of the many lines is the best home for the kind of stories that you want to write. In this way you can focus on the guidelines provided for that line, so that your book can be as compelling as possible.
*Describe the ultimate romantic meal.
Freshly caught fish in a Greek Island harbour taverna, with a glass of local wine.
*What is your all-time favourite romantic movie?
*What is your all-time favourite romantic song or composition?
‘Kissing you’ by Des’ree
*What is the most romantic gesture or gift you have received?
I love to watch the hedgehogs which visit my garden each summer evening, and my husband presented me with a set of silver hedgehogs for my 25th wedding anniversary.
*How do you keep the romance alive in your relationship?
Laughter and shared simple pleasures such as cooking a meal together or a stroll.
*What tip would you give your readers to make their lives more romantic?
Romance does not have to be grand show-stopping events. The small, intimate things of everyday life can be the most precious of all.
*Where is the most romantic place you’ve ever travelled?
It has to be Paris.
All About me…
*Besides writing, what other talent would you most like to have?
I would love to be able to design and create my own clothing.
*Who is someone you admire and why?
The British mountaineer Joe Simpson, who survived against the odds after a horrific climbing accident.
*Do you have a good luck charm or superstition?
I am not superstitious, and firmly believe in the old saying that hard work brings its own luck.
*Share one of your favourite indulgences with us.
I love the Soft Amaretto biscuits that are available at Christmas time in the UK.
*What quality do you most admire in a man?
Humour combined with positive thinking and personal integrity. Stunning!
*What is the one thing you’ve always wanted to do, but never had the courage to try?
Swim. Years of lessons have yet to cure me of a healthy respect for open water.
*If you were not a writer, what would you be?
A professional scientist. In fact I gave up my career in the Pharmaceutical Industry to become a fiction writer.
*What quote or personal saying do you live by? Who said it?
“Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead.” Scottish proverb
HARLEQUIN NEWSLETTER ON WRITING FOR MILLS AND BOON, 2009
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to publication, including the call from your new editor!
My history with Harlequin began when I discovered that the Romantic Novelists Association in the UK ran a scheme for New Writers where an experienced author will critique your manuscript before you submit to a publisher.
I was delighted when my romance was recommended to Mills and Boon. The editors were kind enough to critique the manuscript, AND best of all, said that they liked my voice. In January 2008 I submitted my manuscript for the Romance Line.
When the revision letter arrived, I was delighted to see that an editor thought that the story had potential, and the revised manuscript was mailed in the last week of August. On Monday morning 1st September the telephone rang. The editor wanted to buy my book in a two-book deal! And as an extra bonus? It was my birthday the following day.
Can you tell us a little about your first book?
‘Always the Bridesmaid’ [ Harlequin Romance, July 2009] is the love story of a damaged young woman who has created a new home for herself after a life-changing event. Six days before her best friend’s wedding, the bride’s millionaire brother turns her new life upside down, and in the process she rediscovers that there is someone who believes in her and wants to share his life with her, no matter what. I love this story, and hope you do to.
What inspired you to pick up you pen and start writing?
Reading has been my passion since before I started junior school! As a reader, I want to be entertained, and there is no better way of doing so than through the characters and relationships in the pages of a book filled with warmth, hope, love and laughter.
Have you always read Mills & Boon?
My mother loved romance fiction, and I grew up surrounded by Mills and Boon novels. Forty years later, romance and crime are my favourite genres, and I re-read some of my favourite Mills and Boons so many times that the pages fall out!
What tips would you give to aspiring authors?
*Ask yourself some tough questions! Why do you want to write? Are you writing for your own pleasure? Or, do you want your stories to be published and enjoyed by other people? If the answer to this second question is yes, then the next step is to look at your favourite books. Which Mills and Boon line do they fit into? This is the line – or lines – where your own stories could find a home.
*Read all of the recent books that have been published in the line you have chosen. Read them first time for your own pleasure, then read them again to see how these authors create such compelling stories. The Writing Guidelines for each Mills and Boon line are published on the E-Harlequin.com website – which is a brilliant resource on all aspects of the Craft of creating fiction. AND there are wonderful forums where you can ask questions and talk to other writers.
*There is no way to avoid the fact that writing takes time and dedication. You have to want to write, more than you want to do anything else, and it may seem like a solitary task. Thankfully, we now have the Internet. There is a wonderful On-Line community of published and unpublished romance writers who are very supportive. Your favourite author will have a website with articles on writing romance. This is a great place to start on your journey.
For any more information, you can get in touch by email.