Natasha Oakley - British Romance Author

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

Saturday, November 11, 2006

We will remember them ...

Here in the UK it's Remembrance Day or, more colloquially, Poppy Day.

At 11am on the 11th November 1918 the guns on the Western Front fell silent for the first time in four years. At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month we take a couple of minutes to remember all those who have given their lives in conflicts around the world.

And we all wear poppies as a sign of our remembrance - sold by the Royal British Legion. It has to be one of the most evocative images.

Poppies only flower in rooted up soil. Amid the devastation that was Flanders (the name of the whole western part of Belgium) it was the one thing that survived. The poppy, flowering each year with the coming of the warm weather, came to symbolise hope.

And it was the inspiration behind John McCrae's stunning poem, 'In Flanders Fields', written the day after one of his closest friends was killed. His grave, like the thousands of others, decorated with only a simple wooden cross had wild poppies growing beside it.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
Though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Back at the keyboard ..

Finally, I'm back at work on my latest WIP!!!

I've had a good day of it. Even though I thought I was too busy to give my characters any consideration at all I find I've had them fermenting in my subconscious. And I like them! Always good!!!

All told I'm feeling quite bouyant. My mum is feeling much better after a blood transfusion and only felt unwell for one day after her chemo. My husband's cancer is stable and doesn't require any treatment. In fact, the next scan isn't until June.

Which means I need to get my head down and continue with book I left in limbo. I'm not sure I really like breaking off mid-book. I know some authors say you return to it with fresh eyes but it feels a lot like having dropped my knitting to me! Lots of little thoughts I know I had are just sitting at the edge of my consciousness and refusing to come back in to focus. I'm sure they will if I relax and let it happen.

I've also been really encouraged today to learn that the first four titles of the newly rebranded 'Romance' line sold incredibly well. It's something like a 32% uplift from the previous month. Of course I'm particularly excited because my 'Accepting The Boss's Proposal' was in that initial line-up - but it's also fantastic news for the future of 'traditional' romance.