You might just have noticed that it’s been a little bit busy around here recently, but I’ve been particularly remiss in not posting to congratulate and celebrate the winners of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Novel Awards which took place on 8th March – with a special hug for all those who didn’t take away the prize, but were winners just by being on the shortlist. There was no glittering party this year, but an online event – and although it wasn’t without its early glitches, it still felt like the very special night the annual awards always are.
Last year, I had the great pleasure of attending as a guest of the lovely ladies at Libertà Books – as well as being an unforgettable night, it was (as I suspect it might have been for many others) the last time I actually dressed up and appeared in public. I vividly remember our amusement at needing to bump elbows and forego the usual hugs – we really had no idea what was coming, did we?! You’ll find reports and features on this year’s event on the RNA website (there’s an opportunity to watch the highlights again too), but for a more personal view and experience I’d really recommend the excellent article by Sophie Weston over on the Libertà Books website.
The RNA asked if I’d like to help celebrate some of the successes, and in an excess of enthusiasm I confidently declared I’d interview all the winners – something I soon realised was rather more than I was able to deliver. So instead, I thought it’d be a nice idea to interview three of the winners you might know rather less well, who I haven’t featured before, and whose books I haven’t reviewed.
That feature starts tomorrow (Monday 22nd) with a conversation with Catherine Tinley, winner of the Goldsboro Books Historical Romantic Novel Award with Rags-to-Riches Wife. On Tuesday we’ll meet Kate Hardy, winner of the Libertà Books Shorter Romantic Novel Award with A Will, a Wish and a Wedding: and on Wednesday, it’ll be Shirley Mann, winner of The Romantic Saga Award for Bobby’s War.
I’d like to thank all three of them for taking the time to answer my questions (so wonderfully!), and to Katrina Power at the RNA for setting things up. I thoroughly enjoyed putting these conversations together – I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading them every bit as much, although I’d suggest that you get ready each day by settling down with a cup of coffee (once you get a romantic novelist talking…!).
Here are details of all the other winners – and I’m so sorry that I just couldn’t get round to talking to you all…
The Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award (for the best romantic novel by a first-time author): The Authenticity Project, Clare Pooley, Bantam Press
The Romantic Comedy Novel Award (for the best romantic novel with consistent wit and humour): Sunny Days and Sea Breezes, Carole Matthews, Sphere, Little, Brown
The Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award (for the best romantic novel with thriller, mystery, crime or suspense elements): The House by the Sea, Louise Douglas, Boldwood Books (I’ll admit to a particularly loud cheer for this one, one of my 2020 Books of the Year, and one of my very favourite authors – you’ll find my review here)
The Fantasy Romantic Novel Award (for the best romantic novel that includes paranormal or speculative elements): Echoes of the Runes, Christina Courtenay, Headline Review (And another cheer – I loved this one, and you’ll find my review here)
The Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award (for the best romantic novel set in the present world or society): My One True North, Milly Johnson, Simon & Schuster
The Sapere Books Popular Romantic Fiction Award (for the most commercially successful and popular romantic novel of 2020 as voted for by book bloggers, librarians and booksellers): Sing Me a Secret, Julie Houston, Aria, Head of Zeus (Another resounding cheer, a real personal favourite, and another of my 2020 Books of the Year – you’ll find my review here).
Outstanding Achievement Award: Mike Gayle
I do hope you’ll be able to join me again tomorrow…