Excited to be whisking up to London tomorrow. Showtime is upon us: the RoNA Awards will be presented by Richard and Judy in the elegant surroundings of the RAF Club in Picadilly.
I am looking forward to the glitzy occasion, not just because of the whole intake-of-breath thing that happens just before each winner’s name is announced and the treacherous tingle that whispers for a split second, “It could be me. Probably not … but it could.”
No, the reason that I’m really looking forward to it is because when a bunch of writers – who, let’s face it, spend most of their days stuck on their own at a keyboard or writing-pad, scoffing gingernuts and talking to the walls while wrestling mulish plotlines into submission – get together, a special kind of buzz happens.I once saw a string of cows being paraded out into a field of lush spring pasture for the first time after spending the winter months crowded inside a stinky cowshed. Despite being big heavy ungainly matrons, they kicked up their heels and literally jumped for joy like spring lambs. It was a heart-warming sight.
Well, that’s what writers’ gatherings feel like to me. An outpouring of grins and delight. Torrents of words that have been stored away. Wine and nibbles. On-trend frocks and killer heels. The relief of talking to another human being who actually understands the agonies of what you’re going through to meet your brutal deadline. More wine. Old friends, new friends. That sense of belonging, instead of being a weird outsider to the normal world.
It’s good for us. So a big thank you to the Romantic Novelists’ Association for not only gathering us together, but giving us glittering crystal trophies to compete for. I have no idea who does the judging, but it doesn’t matter a hoot. Of course, winning an award is good for sales, and publishers like to gather a few prestigious laurels along the way.
But for me it’s seeing the heels kick up and the jumps for joy that counts, hearing the genuine applause as one of our own gives yet another speech thanking everyone in sight, except the cat next door. It’s all good warm fun.
So tomorrow, whether THE WHITE PEARL takes the Historical Romantic Novel of the Year prize or not, I still regard myself as a winner.