I don’t need to tell anyone that 2020 has been a difficult year. On a personal level, like many of you, I’ve had challenging times with my health and with not being able to visit relatives, and restrictions here in the North West have lasted for months… but I’m exceptionally grateful to have got through it without loss, and heartfelt condolences to those who are bereaved and missing loved ones.
I’ve been able to work from home, have a secure roof over my head, my family is safe – I can’t complain. Yes, it’s been tough but this pandemic has made me even more grateful for the ordinary things like laughter over a board game, a walk in the park, a good cup of coffee.
A sense of community has come to the fore. Like many others, I’ve given to a food bank and enrolled in a pen pal scheme to connect with those who are alone. A sense of kindness has emerged, perhaps stronger than when, under usual circumstances, we are all wrapped up with leading our busy lives – along with huge appreciation for keyworkers, like those in the NHS and schools, and for the people who deliver our post, work in shops and empty our bins, out there on the frontline. And I’ve seen, first hand, the amazing work happening in care homes.
If something good comes out of this it will be that we’ve connected with who – and what – in our lives is truly important. Let’s hope we don’t forget.
Professionally speaking it has certainly been a good year, even though I’ve really missed meeting up with my agent, publishing team and writer friends. I’ve had four books published, The Summer Island Swap and The Winter We Met, along with the Czech versions of Game of Scones and its sequel My Big Fat Christmas Wedding – that’s been very exciting!
Also, back in March, I was thrilled to win the RNA’s inaugural Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award for Knowing You, at a glitzy ceremony in London, the last time I went out to a big social gathering.
And I’ve finished writing my next novel, Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage, out on April 15th.
It’s been another wonderful year for connecting with readers – thank you for your support, the great reviews and messages have meant the world. I’ve felt humbled that my stories have provided a form of warm, cosy escape, especially this year.
It’s also been a great year for discovering fabulous books and I’ve got to know more authors. Check out the beautiful contemporary romances by Katie Ginger, Jessica Redland and Sandy Barker to mention but a few. Oh, and the awesome Zoe Folbigg!
Here’s to 2021 and eventually finding a higher degree of normality. Every year has its good, bad, and ugly moments and this year that has applied a thousand times over.
However, I’m four years sober soon and I can promise you two things:
bad times DO always pass
you come out of them stronger than before.