Yesterday, on Friday 19th October, exactly one month to the day that I received The Call, I went to Rom HQ in Richmond. When I reached HQ, I admit to feeling a teensy bit of disappointment. In my head I'd imagined a bright pink building with glitter on the doormat! Instead it was just an ordinary meeting.
I was nearly half an hour early and caught them on the hop (oops) but they were wonderful about it. Honestly, I never noticed the boxes on the floor they had intended to put away before I arrived...
Inside, I met my editor (the lovely Charlotte Ledger) and the rest of the editorial team (pictured below is Carly Byrne, Joanne Grant, Charlotte, me, Lucy Gilmore and Sally Williamson). I couldn't believe how tall and beautiful they all were - I'm really glad I wore my heels!
This picture may show the six of us, but all the other editors and marketing staff welcomed me too, including Linda Fildew and Tessa Shapcott, the latter of whom has just celebrated twenty five years at Mills & Boon. I was given the grand tour of the editorial office (it's open plan for those who like to know these things) and then they opened a couple of bottles of champagne.
After that, I was whisked off to a purple room with Ali from Marketing and Charlotte to do a podcast about being a new Modern/Presents author. If the podcast ever sees the light of day I shall apologise now - I'm a giggler and completely incapable of showing professionalism. I dread to think what the finished article will look like (poor Ali has some serious editing to do).
Charlotte then took me up to the Library. All I can say about the library was 'Wow'. Every category and single title book produced by Harlequin over the past five years or so were on those shelves (once the shelves are full the books are archived, freeing space for the next generation of books). Honestly, it was a romance junkie's idea of heaven.
By that point it was time for lunch, so Charlotte and I said our goodbyes and headed off to a restaurant called Rock & Rose. I swear the owners of this restaurant knew there was a building full of romance junkies around the corner when they opened it. I would go so far as to say it was exactly how I picture Rom HQ itself (I'm seriously considering taking a can of pink spray paint and a suitcase of glitter if I'm ever invited there again!).
The food was wonderful, the cocktails were divine and Charlotte was... I don't think there are enough superlatives to describe how lovely she is.
All in all, it was a fantastic day. The Mills & Boon staff are a fantastic bunch - all incredibly welcoming and lovely, and so enthusiastic about the books they produce. I can never thank them enough for making me feel so spoiled and wanted.
Take care all xxx