Natasha Oakley - British Romance Author

Writer of tug-at-the-heartstrings, feel-good romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Blind Date Part Two

Where was I?? Oh, yes, at the moment when I learnt that what sounds fun when surrounded by your girlfriends feels less fun when you're 'alone' in front of a studio audience.

Perched on my stool I asked my questions - and I can honestly say that by the end I'd no idea who'd answered what. I went for Number 3 on the basis that Cilla nudged me every time he spoke. That wasn't so very bright, was it???

However, when I met numbers 1 and 2 I felt instinctively I'd not missed the love-of-my-life, so I was stoically prepared for Giles from London. And we picked our envelope ...

We were going ... cycling in Rotterdam. Which might have been fun, but was less so when we arrived in Rotterdam to find it was a drizzly wet day.

Now, I don't know about you but I don't find cycling and talking in the rain particularly easy. Or 'romantic', actually.

Then came lunch. Imagine, if you will, a table set for two with a single flower in the centre ... Picture, too, a much larger table filled with laughing researchers, photographers, interpreters ... Tell me, which table would you have preferred to sit at? (Really??? Yes, that's what we thought.)

Back in London Giles and I were sat in our respective booths and peppered with questions as to what we'd thought about the other during our 'date'. Having no real idea who Giles was or wasn't - and being a very nice person - I tried my best to be kind. Giles, pretty much, did the same. Truthfully, we'd made a pact! Stupid, but not that stupid ...

So, my Blind Date experience was over - until, six months later.

That's when the 'fun' really started ...

Friday, April 28, 2006

Tales of a misspent youth

Hmmm 'Blind Date' ...

Well, it all began as a joke. Obviously. You know, one of those daft conversations you have with your girlfriends?? I can't remember now how we got hold of an application form, but I do remember filling it out. And I remember the audition - which was immense fun.

Over an entire day we were asked in-depth questions like 'if you were an animal what animal would you be?'. I think I must have stood out as a ten-toed sloth because a couple of days later I had a call to say I was 'in'. And not just 'in', I was a 'picker' and could they have my 'questions please?'.

One girls lunch later we'd come up with some fantastic suggestions ... Within a few days I was in Central London, staying in a great hotel and filming 'Blind Date'. I remember walking out from behind the screen, saying 'hello' to Cilla Black, and thinking 'what an earth am I doing here'???

Oh dear, time for the school run .....

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

First you have to find the lady ...

I've just spent far longer than I ought to have done trawling the internet to find a picture of 'my' heroine. It's for a book that won't get written until mid summer - and that's always assuming my editor likes the idea I send her.

To you this may look like a photograph of Rosamund Pike - but to me she's Lady Hermoine Ashmore-Senn. Perfect. It's beyond imagination to think she wouldn't know *exactly* what knife to use.

Caught by surprise at having created a blog in the first place, it didn't even occur to me to show you the heroines I matched with the heroes in my last post. So here they are:

This is Lydia Stanford, the beautiful, courageous, award-winning journalist heroine of 'Millionaire Dad: Wife Needed'. Totally deserving of Nick wouldn't you agree?

There are any number of pictures of Michelle Pfeiffer out there - but not many of Lydia. This photograph is exactly right - beautiful, strong and intelligent.

And this is Eloise Lawton, from 'Ordinary Girl, Society Groom', who is a fashion writer. Think of the UK tv programme 'What Not To Wear' and you've got my starting point.

It was surprisingly difficult to come up with anyone sleekly elegant enough for Eloise - but Jenni Falconer came to my rescue. The ideal heroine to match 'my' Jem.

Actually, I have something in common with Jenni Falconer - we've both been contestants on 'Blind Date'. But that, as they say, is another story ...

Monday, April 24, 2006

I blame Trish Wylie

Having said I wasn't going to do a blog - here I am. Slightly mystified as to how I've got here and it's all Trish Wylie's fault.

Not only has she had to be firmly persuaded to share Nathan Fillion with Ally Blake, but she lied outright when she said setting up a blog was easy. Easy my ...

About as easy as filling out a tax return. On the positive side she has just been on MSN for the longest possible time while I struggled my way through the set-up process. Anyone would think we didn't have books to write.

But ...

Trish said she'd post Patrick Dempsey as a hero on her blog, but not mention he was 'my' hero. Isn't that shabby??? Although to me this isn't a photograph of Patrick at all, but Jeremy Norland. Picture the privileged stepson of an English Viscount. Jem is the hero of my May NA release 'Ordinary Girl, Society Groom' and he's lovely - and mine!

And while I'm at it - here is the photograph of Clive Owen that glinted down at me from my wall during the creation of Nicholas Regan-Phillips. He's the hero of my current UK release 'Millionaire Dad: Wife Needed'.

Now I'm completely exhausted and shall have to go and lie down in a darkened room.