Top Ten Things For Every Romance Novel

Let’s admit it.  Even if some of us (er, like me) are a bit ‘bah humbug’ about Valentine’s Day, we all love a good romance. Imagine life without Gilbert and Ann, or Rochester and Jane, or Heathcliffe and Catherine.

To honour St Valentine, Melbourne author Heidi Catherine unveils the key ingredients to the perfect romance novel.

Heidi gives us hope

I have a deep sense of pride that an actual person that I know has won a writers’ prize in a hugely competitive and highly esteemed writing competition. The person I am referring to is, of course, Heidi Catherine.  Heidi has won herself, and her story The Extra Piece, a commendation in the Hope Prize short story competition and therefore a place in the very recently published Hope: An Anthology.

heidi-0990The Hope Prize was held for the first time this year by the charity the Brotherhood of St Laurence to encourage Australian writers to tackle the subject of poverty. It’s a vital topic that simply doesn’t get enough coverage in our press, despite the alarming statistics: one in eight people and over 600,000 children are living in poverty in Australia.

I spoke to Heidi about how it feels to win a national competition centred around such a vital topic and to be commended by a judging panel which comprised actress Cate Blanchett, author Kate Grenville and the Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce.

Are you Team Edward or Team Darcy?

Melbourne writer, Heidi Catherine joins me on Words and Leaves and we agree to disagree about the best kind of books.


Not long ago I met Weezelle through a group of book lovers who gather once a month to discuss all things books, and many things that have nothing to do with books.

Despite having a long list of things in common, we’ve quickly come to recognise that our taste in books isn’t one of them. Fortunately, we enjoy a friendly debate.

We recently caught up in a Melbourne café. As I sat with my latte and Weezelle clutched her English Breakfast tea (our taste in hot beverages is not synchronised either), we realised there was a speed dating session in progress at the next table.

Double take! Mr Darcy, wealthy gentleman and owner of the Pemberley estate and Edward Cullen, the world’s most sought-after vampire, were sitting but metres away – both with vacant seats before them. (N.B. Some license may have been taken for artistic purposes).

As you can imagine, we promptly forgot our drinks, and our husbands, and sashayed over to the speed dating session. Fortunately there were no arguments about which literary heart-throb we chose to sit with.  Here’s a recap of how our dates panned out.