We caught up with Medical authors Kate Hardy and Scarlet Wilson to discuss their new link duet, Changing Shifts, which includes the books Fling with Her Hot-Shot Consultant and Family for the Children’s Doc.
Kate: Scarlet and I have known each other for at least a decade, and for ages we’ve wanted to write a duet together. We’re both fans of a certain Christmas film, and we loved the idea of having our heroines swapping lives for six months – so that’s why we came up with the idea of starting our duet with our heroines looking at a job swap website (and it’s why our duet is called ‘Changing Shifts’).
Scarlet: We both wanted a paediatric department setting – and with me living in Scotland and Kate a couple of hours’ drive from London, that made our cities easy to swap, too. Kate’s hero is my heroine’s best friend (and helps him out by letting him move into her cottage). My hero is Kate’s heroine’s brother. So we have that lovely double bond to start with.
Kate: When you swap London for Edinburgh, you’re expecting to move into a city, right? So we decided we’d put my heroine completely out of her comfort zone and in a remote country cottage. (I found the *perfect* cottage on the internet as a holiday cottage, and we were both cooing over how lovely it was.) And Scarlet reminded me that a sat-nav doesn’t always work in remote places – what if Georgie reversed down a narrow country road three times in the rain?
Scarlet: And Kate pointed out how noisy the city is if you’re used to the country. So both of them would have a real shock to start with – Georgie will have to drive miles if she runs out of milk, and Clara gets no sheep at her window in the morning. (She does have an amazing view of the Thames, though…)
Kate: We had a lot of fun working out the problems each other’s heroine would face. And if you’ve never lived with a dog, it can be a shock to find yourself having to hide your shoes and remembering to shut doors. (My real-life dog learned to open doors early on, so our door handles are mostly upside down. Dog-owners understand immediately, and people without dogs tend to be mystified…)
Scarlet: I wanted to explore the effects of depression. It’s rarely seen in romance books and I was keen to show a positive approach. My heroine has suffered from depression since her teenage years and learned how to deal with it. She is a successful paediatrician but accepts she will have ups and downs and has learned how to cope with her long term condition.
Kate: I wanted to explore what families mean to someone who’s never had one (my hero), and how they react to someone who’s close to their family. And what happens if there’s one night with consequences and for the first time in years there’s someone who’s actually related to him?
Scarlet: My hero is a single dad who lives in a gorgeous flat overlooking Canary Wharf, thanks to some inheritance from an elderly relative. He’s a great doc but is pretty closed off to life around him as he focuses all his energy on his young daughter. His biggest fear is that he lets his daughter down and when he meets Clara, and sees the connection between her and his daughter, it makes him doubt himself all the more.
Kate: I wanted my hero to be all Scottish and brooding in a kilt. (Only in one scene, and sadly it didn’t make the cover, but I enjoyed writing it!) I also wanted them to go to a proper Scottish castle (yes, of course Doune) and Porty Beach (I love the idea of a city actually having a beach – I have to drive 40 minutes from my house in the city to our nearest beach).
Scarlet: The most romantic bit of my story is a scene in the bedroom of a country hotel where Clara and Joshua have attended the wedding of one of Joshua’s long term friends. It’s the first time he’s attended an event like this since his wife died and it makes him realise there is a chance of happiness again. There’s dancing, a dark room lit only be moonlight and…..a very large bed!
Scarlet: The title of my story, Family for the Children’s Doc, highlights my heroine Clara, who always wondered if a family would be for her and contemplated trying for a family on her own. Joshua and his daughter make her realise that anything is possible.