Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life, Travels Around the World

The joy of research by Kate Hardy

Kate HardyI think my favourite part of writing a book is the research. The book I’m finishing writing right now is a cardiac book, and learning about the cutting edge treatment has been so interesting; my mum was a specialist cardiac nurse, so this one kind of feels special (and I brainstormed it in the British Library with lovely Annie O’Neil, so that was an extra bonus).

My next book is going to be set partly in Florence – so you can guess where we ended up ๐Ÿ™‚ There were certain iconic places I wanted to visit (and I have to confess to becoming addicted to ‘Medici: Masters of Florence’ on Netflix since coming home – we’re dying for the next season to come out). And one of them was a certain art gallery. My research team balked at the idea of going to a modern art gallery; but this is Florence, so ‘modern’ actually means ‘1750 onwards’, which is his favourite sort of art. (I’ve tried to appreciate modern art, but…) So we enjoyed the Pitti Palace, the Uffizi and the Accademia; we also enjoyed visiting a number of palaces and churches, but my two big highlights of the trip were climbing inside the Duomo and visiting the library at San Lorenzo. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.


And we had a bonus at the end – we were flying from Pisa airport. We were pretty sure that tickets to climb the leaning tower would be like the Duomo, i.e. you need to book days in advance, but I was in the queue to buy a ticket for the cathedral when I discovered we could visit the tower in 20 minutes’ time. That has to be one of the weirdest experiences of my life – you can really feel the ‘lean’ of the tower, and as you climb the spiral staircase you straighten up and then lean in the opposite direction. The steps are worn in a spiral rather than in a straight line! And I was very glad of the safety railing at the top ๐Ÿ™‚

What’s been your strangest experience when visiting somewhere?

imageKate’s latest is Unlocking the Italian Doc’s Heart (set partly in Verona and written there last year!), out in UK/Aus shops now and online at the usual places ๐Ÿ™‚ For more information, see her website.


Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels


I have just come back from a lovely holiday in the Italian lakes. I stayed at Garda and it was the perfect spot for sightseeing. My friend and I did a lake tour and visited Sirmione and Limone, Riva del Garda and Malcesine. I know that at some point in the not-too-distant future I shall go back but not next year. After all there are so many other places to explore, so many other places that will provide a setting for a book.

A perfect day

That’s the thing about holidays, I have discovered. Although I always claim that, no, I never work when I’m holiday, I always come home with piles of notes which will provide the background for a book. As I unloaded the envelope stuffed full of maps and menus, clippings from local newspapers and postcards which I’d collected during my trip, it hit me that writing is always on my mind but in a pleasant way.

I have already planned out the book I will write next year and the gorgeous Italian hero (based on the equally gorgeous guide who showed us round Verona!) who will feature in it. The story is humming away nicely inside my head, waiting its turn to be written. It gives me a real buzz to know that once I have finished my current project, I shall be able to immerse myself in the story and mentally, at least, re-visit this beautiful area.

Last year I spent a week in Devon. Amazingly the weather was perfect and everywhere looked so gorgeous. The hotel we’d chosen was excellent too and filled with lots of interesting people. I got chatting to a young couple with a seven year-old boy one night. The child had cut his foot on a rock while playing on the beach so the parents had taken him to the local GP’s surgery. As his mother told me, it must be so much easier being a doctor when you work in a holiday town.
That comment was the trigger for my new Bride’s Bay series, three books about three single mums who all work at Bride’s Bay Surgery and have to balance the demands of their work with looking after their children. Is it easier for them because they work in such a lovely place? It would be nice to think so but I doubt it! They still have to work their way through an awful lot of problems before they find happiness.

Do you have a favourite holiday place? Or have you visited a place that has greatly influenced you? I would love to hear all about it if you have.


The Family Who Made Him Whole: Bride’s Bay -Bk 1. Available October 2012.