Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Hi, I’m Louisa Heaton and I’m the newest author for Harlequin Mills and Boon Medical. I’ve been thinking a lot about how my writing has changed over the years and how my writing habits have changed too.

Writing used to be a nice hobby. I dreamed of making it big one day and getting that magical ‘Call’, but as all my submissions never-quite-made-it, I’d resigned myself to being a hobbyist writer. I took it seriously, but the writing was mainly for me. I enjoyed doing it, I enjoyed crafting stories and thinking up gorgeous heroes my heroine could fall in love with. But I discussed my writing with no-one. Nada. Not even my husband when he kept asking me what I was working on.

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But now I’ve had the call and got the contract and suddenly, I’ve changed. I don’t mean I’ve turned into a diva! I now tell my hubby what I’m writing to see if he has any insights. I walk my dogs on the beach every day, muttering out loud snippets of conversation and wrestling out plot points and hope that people don’t think I’m some sort of weirdo as I talk and argue with myself. (I always hope they think I’m talking to my dogs!)

But the thing I’ve realised the most is that it’s hard. It’s hard to be creative every day, it’s exhausting sometimes and the only thing that seems to make it easier is to make sure that as a writer, you have ‘down time’. I don’t mean those periods when you’re sat at home doing nothing, but those times when you actually leave the house and go out and do something. I find I’m much more creative if I’ve gone out and focused on something else.

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It doesn’t have to be a planned outing to a historical house or a museum, it can be a simple walk somewhere you’ve never been before. Recently, I walked the Hayling Island Billy Trail. It’s a path that runs down one side of the Island and takes in the old oyster beds and a nature reserve. It was a beautiful sunny day, warm and soothing. There were clear blue skies, a myriad of birds in the shallow waters and I even saw a dormouse just sitting out on the pathway.

I came back from the walk brimming with ideas and this so worked for me, I try and make sure I get out of the house and away from the laptop at least twice a week. What do you do to fill the well? What gets your writing flowing again? Apart from staring at gorgeous hunks on Pinterest?

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16 thoughts on “”

  1. Congratulations, Louisa and I just LOVE that, “I’m writing a novel” poster, especially today when I am starting a new book and I don’t start well. I am definitely the person tearing their hair out. Please may I borrow that poster?

  2. Louisa, I so agree that you need time away from your computer when you are writing. For me, though, it’s a visit to the shops rather than a long country walk that helps. I need to see other people and interact with them to fill my well. I can’t count the number of times that an idea has been triggered by some conversation I have overheard. (Yes, we writers are extremely good at eavesdropping!)
    Jennifer

  3. Oh yes, I love a bit of people watching at the shops. And listening! I tend to settle down at a coffee shop and watch them go by, guessing at who and what they are.

  4. Love people watching/eavesdropping too, Louisa! I fill the well with reading and watching the tele 🙂
    Welcome to the family – cant wait to read your debut!

  5. Thanks Amy! I can’t wait to see my first book on the shelves. I keep wondering what the cover will look like most of all. And you’re right, watching television can provoke ideas and solve plot problems too.

  6. Louisa,
    It is wonderful to have you with us. I fill my well by doing other creative things. I sew, make things with my hands. I also love to travel so I get a change of scene and that helps me clear my head.

  7. Hi Louisa! So lovely to have you here! I fill the well with lots of different things- zumba, time with family, reading and watching films…and I’ve just been away with a group of girlfriends and had a wonderful time chatting and catching up-but they (non writers) also helped me devise a story while I was there. Basically we met a man who really needed a happy ever after so we devised one for him and even managed to visit an open home for a house for sale that would be just perfect for his heroine! What fun!

    Can’t wait to read your debut! xxx

  8. So happy you’re a member of the medical romance ‘tribe’ Louisa! I, too, love your novel-writing poster, and plan to snitch it, since you told Fiona she could! But I promise to keep my hands off Benedict…honest 😉

    I’ve needed some serious well-filling the past months, myself. As a newbie also, I hadn’t appreciated how hard it is to consistently write and work to pull stories together, as you said you’ve experienced. Brainstorming with a few writing friends often works wonders to spark a new idea that is exactly what I need to get the engine pumping again.

    Reading gets me going, too – sometimes fiction, but especially when I read bits of my favorite writing craft books. It never fails that an exercise or question in one of those books gives me an ‘ah-ha!’ moment in regard to one of my characters or a story problem.

    Thanks for the post, Louisa. Can’t wait to see your cover and read your debut!

  9. Hi Louisa, and welcome! Can’t wait to read your debut! It’s an odd feeling, when suddenly a hobby turns serious. Writing used to be the thing that I did when I needed a bit of well-filling, and in many ways it still is – but along with all the excitement of dreams coming true when I first got The Call, I did have a tiny trace of regret because my own, very private, way of making sense of the world had turned into a budding career and it was time to get real with it! These days I no longer have to wait impatiently for my holidays, so that I can tuck myself away from the world and write – but am more likely to take a break from writing to do other things.

    But doing something I love as a job, is the ultimate privilege – and there is so much else to be done, too. Playing with new writing projects – quite different from the ones I’m ‘working’ on. I also do a lot of reading when I take time off, and I like to walk, go to the theatre and the cinema, and tackle the never ending list of places I really must visit when I get the chance. (And, of course, a few sessions of slumping in front of the TV with chocolate 🙂 )

    Love your posters! I’ll borrow the one at the top, if I may 🙂 (Why do I always get my best ideas when I’m doing something else…?)

  10. Thank you, Ladies.

    Robin – I’m always afraid if I read fiction whilst crafting my own stories, I’ll somehow copy their work, so if I do read fiction, it tends to not be romance.

    Annie – please pinch away. And chocolate with the TV? Of course. But it has to be Green and Blacks white vanilla chocolate for me.

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