Still thrilled to bits this morning.
Yesterday morning, I was frantically finishing my latest book, had to do an emergency dash to buy mascara (having learned that not touching it for a year makes it dry out, cough), and was feeling a bit flat because on a normal RNA Awards day I’d be on the train to London, meeting up with my mates for a cup of tea, then lunch with editors and fellow shortlistees, and the group photographs with fellow shortlistees in our categories, and then talking way too much and drinking bubbly.
Lockdown? Nope. Nothing like it. We did have a zoom party for the finalists, and I’m very grateful to the RNA for organising that, but my wifi decided to be temperamental. Y’know where everyone’s pixelated and sounds like a robot? That. Add my hearing difficulty and… just no.
Posh swish lunch? Um, that would be scampi, shared with the dogs.
The flat feeling was back. Along with a large dose of guilt about feeling that way, because other people have had so much worse.
Scruff of neck time. I’d been shortlisted for an award with my 90th book for M&B, in my 20th year of being published by them. Lockdown or no lockdown, that deserved celebrating. Cue opening a bottle of rose Prosecco.
Then the awards do started. I so enjoyed the green room with my fellow shortlistees. We talked about books we’d loved, about how to deal with Lockdown Chins (yeah, OK, so when we were on the screen I forgot everything we’d all said about angles and clever use of hands), and we had a glass of wine ‘together’.
Technical difficulties were overcome — and I’m hugely grateful for the technology that allowed us to still have our awards do (including a ’green room’), and share it with friends and family.
I wasn’t expecting to win because all the books on our shortlist were fabulous.
So when Larry Lamb opened the envelope and said that the Liberta Books award for Shorter Romantic Fiction went to Kate Hardy… This was my reaction!
A Will, a Wish and a Wedding – aka the butterfly book, set partly in my beloved Norfolk – won the award. And I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Thank you to the RNA – an organisation that’s been part of my life for a quarter of a century and introduced me to many good friends; to M&B, my publisher of two decades; to Liberta Books, for sponsoring the award; to my editor, Julia Williams, whose editing is very wise indeed; to my fellow shortlistees on the night (it’s the nomination that counts, and we are ALL winners); to my husband Gerard and children Chris and Chloe, who’ve always been my staunch supporters and to whom the book is dedicated; to my edit-paw-ial assistants, who make me leave my desk and also keep my feet warm; and to my readers, because without you I couldn’t do the job that makes my heart sing.