Two days on and I’m still on cloud nine! This inaugural award was in memory of the marvellously funny and feisty Jackie Collins – and was one of the awards up for grabs at the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s yearly awards ceremony in London on 2nd March… a special one this year, as the association is celebrating its 60th year.
When I found out, a while back, that my book Knowing You, from publisher Canelo, had been shortlisted that was exciting enough. I genuinely never expected to win as all the other contenders in this category were so strong.
It was a glittering event, with sparkles on dresses and in glasses, held at the Leonardo Royal London City hotel in Tower Bridge, London. I got there very early with my husband, so in my black faux fur coat I headed off to Starbucks for a fortifying hot chocolate. We got back to the hotel at 5 and I headed upstairs for the formal photographs. Then my husband, along with everyone else, came up at 6.30.
What a wonderful ceremony. Charming Anton du Beke from Strictly Come Dancing was there, as a nominee, along with author legends Sophie Kinsella and Carole Matthews, and comedian and author Jenny Eclair presented the awards. The wonderful Jane Wenham-Jones, looking amazing as usual, hosted.
My award was handed to me by Jackie Collins’ granddaughter – an absolute honour. I am so thrilled (no pun intended), however tenuous the link, to be connected to her inspirational grandmother.
The ceremony passed in a daze – I sat there, feeling a little tearful I admit, and just so happy, wondering how this could have happened. Writing is an up and down career and the moments like this make it worthwhile. Here I am with my husband, and agent Clare Wallace from the Darley Anderson agency.
Then we enjoyed a lovely buffet and everyone mingled, catching up with friends.
I’m so grateful to my agent, husband and children for the support they’ve shown me over recent years. It’s been a difficult time. As regular readers of this blog know, I’ve faced and tackled mental health issues since 2016 – and the eating challenges I’ve struggled with still rear their head from time to time, especially around events like this which, whilst exciting, tap into any body image/dysmorphia insecurities.
But I forced myself to face my fears, just like I did for the event last year when I was shortlisted, and I’m so glad I did.
And you can too as long as you keep telling yourself the truth – that fears are just that, and not actual fact 🙂