Saturday, September 23, 2006

Michelle Styles: AMBA Day

Friday was the annual Association of Mills and Boon Author Day in London.
Charlotte Lamb started the association more than a decade ago and it is a chance for Mills and Boon authors to meet with management and learn more about the company. In the evening, there is a champagne reception for the authors, attended by all the editors. This year's reception was held at Brook's -- as in the club where the Earl of Sandwich and Charles Fox gambled and the Prince Regent was a member. The Gaming Room where the reception was held has been carefully restored to its Regency splendor.

This year's guests were the managing editors from the UK, Holland and Germany. Unfortunately, Holland no longer publishes historicals, but the historical programmes are alive, well and expanding in both Germany and the UK.

Germany is expanding the length of its Regency line and they also have a separate historical line for other time periods. They are very excited at the prospect of publishing Roman set novels. They would like to see ancient Egypt as a time period as well. German readers have clearly said that they want variety in their reading. For Germany, historicals only go up to the Victorians.

In the UK, the Regency Lords and Ladies collection has been doing exceptionally well. Every single volume has made the Bookseller's Heat Seekers list. The covers are simply beautiful and the public has responded in a very positive way. It is a programme that the editors are looking to expand.
As Jo Carr, assistant editor Historicals later said to me -- Regency is the backbone of the historicals programme and they are still very much looking to publish the full range of Regency from traditional sweet to the darker side.

The reception was lovely and well attended by historical authors. Nicola Cornick, Joanna Maitland, Anne O'Brien, Claire Thornton, Emily Bascom June Francis as well as one of the newest signings -- Elizabeth Beacon. All three historical editors attended, and we were treated a brief lecture about the history of Brooks. It was apparently started by a gentleman's gentleman whose gentleman had fallen on hard times....

Everyone was very proud of Diane Gaston's success at the RITA as well as the other two RITA won for contemporary novels in the London office. A champagne toast was drunk to the health of all the authors. A thoroughly successful but tiring day.
The next morning I woke with a very hoarse voice!


Laura Vivanco said...

I've liked the covers of the Lords and Ladies collection too. They're much more varied than the covers for the previous 'Regency Rakes' and 'Regency Collection' volumes, although I have a feeling that the paintings used are Victorian. I haven't checked them all, but I've got two of the volumes in front of me, and when I looked up the dates for the artists who'd created the paintings used for their covers they weren't Regency-era. They were Edmund Blair Leighton (1853-1922) and Frederic Soulacroix (1858-1933). Still, the paintings give the volumes a historical feel, they are romantic, and at least in the two I've got here the clothing looks Regency rather than Victorian (they've got high waists on the dresses, for example).

Sorry, that's maybe a bit geeky of me.

I'm glad you all had a good time and that the historicals line is doing so well in Germany and the UK.

Terri Brisbin said...

Michelle --

Thanks so much for the report - it is interesting to hear about Germany's wideing interest in time periods. I think that's true for readers here in the US, too. Athough Regencies seem firmly entrenched as the favorite time period, others like medievals, Victorians, and Westerns have also been gaining some ground.

I had the chance to meet some of the Mills and Boon editors at the recent RWA conference in Atlanta and it was wonderful to hear their excitement about historical romances - very promising for writers and readers alike!