Saturday, April 28, 2007

RNA Awards lunch catch up

I am back – really I am. I was back home on Saturday actually, but a migraine that hit hard on Saturday morning and made the journey home pretty difficult , stayed around on Sunday too and so I’ve had to avoid working and looking at the screen until it eased. So I’m late reporting back from all the glamour and glitz of the Savoy and the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards.
Many other authors who were there have already reported so most of this isn’t news – but I promised I’d tell you so . . .
<- Jenny Haddon & top table

First of all, London was fun – and warm, with lots of sunshine The BM headed off to research the City of London police and connections with Jack the Ripper and other things grim and gruesome on the Thursday and I got plenty of exercise along Oxford Street while doing a little Retail Therapy. I managed to avoid the fire that broke out there just after I left to head back to the hotel. I suspect it was my credit card catching fire!

Friday was the Awards Lunch so we dressed in our best and headed to the Savoy. Arriving is always a bit of a muddle – so many familiar faces – people to say hello to – and as you’re hugging someone, you miss someone else. The first person I met was Jenny Haddon (Sophie Weston) elegant in mocha lace, and from then onwards it was ‘Hello . . .’ And ‘Hello . . . ‘ and ‘Hello .. .’ Luckily the HMB group and drinks table was just inside the door so I was able to find them quite easily. The Editor looked stunning (no I’m not just saying this because she’s got my tweaked Spaniard on her desk – she really did) with a brand new hairstyle and weight loss. Very glamorous. Other editors – lots of authors – Julie Cohen, Catherine George, Susan Stephens, India Grey, Sharon Kendrick who managed to make even the plaster cast on her broken wrist look elegant as its purple covering toned with what she was wearing. I introduced the BM to Guy Hallowes the HMB Managing Director and then was caught up in congratulating and wishing luck to all the Romance Prize nominees – Jessica Hart, Catherine George, Michelle Styles. I missed Natasha Oakley until the end and Nicola Cornick was on holiday in Scotland so she wasn’t there. Michelle Styles receiving her rose ->

Lunch was served at 12.30 – if you’re interested in the food, the menu was –
Onion tomato tart tatin with orange and melted goat cheese

Stuffed breast of chicken with wild mushrooms, potato cakes with almonds, mousseline of spinach and baby winter vegetables

Or – for vegetarians like me and the BM
Riccota-spinach ravioli with mushroom cream and parsley salad

Treacle and raspberry tart with vanilla ice cream

Heidi and India

Our table was at the front but a long way away from the part of the platform where the main speaker was and where the announcements were made, so most of my pictures came out rather dark – sorry. At the table, were Guy Hallowes, Sharon Kendrick, Susan Stephens, editor Jenny Hutton, Writers’ Forum’s John Jenkins and two of the brand new jewels in HMB’s stable of authors (hmm – can I have jewels in a stable? Perhaps I should say brand new thoroughbreds in the stable?) India Grey and Heidi Rice whose first book Bedded by A Bad Boy is out this month. India's first book, The Italian's Defiant Mistress is out in July.

Rosie Thomas accepting her prize ->

The announcement of the Main Award followed immediately after lunch with the award going to Rosie Thomas for her book Iris and Ruby. Every author short listed was presented with a cream rose – as were the runners up for the Romance prize. The main speaker was Dame Tanni Grey Thompson – who has 16 Olympic medals. 16! She gave a lively, witty and thoughtful speech and talked about how important reading was to her as she travelled so much for her sport.

Finally the Romance prize was awarded – the adjudication narrowing the short list down to a final three books – The Millionaire’s Runaway Bride, Accepting the Boss’s Proposal an

d the eventual winner Marrying Max by Nell Dixon – published by People’s Friend Library. It was wonderful to see Nell win – and to see just how stunned by disbelief she was that she could hardly move from her seat. Nell was one of my ‘RNA Virgins’ a couple of years ago and I’m so pleased that she is now not only one more of that special group who is published but also the RNA Romance prize winner. –

Nell Dixon and me

Many many Congratulations, Nell – and good luck with the M&B Medical submission that you’re working on.


Anonymous said...

You look gorgeous!

Nell Dixon said...

Hope the headaches better. It was lovely to see you again.

Unknown said...

It was great to see you and hope you are feeling better :-)

Kate Walker said...

Abby my dear, I wish! But it's lovely of you to say so

Nell - it was very special to see you on such a wonderful occasion for you.

And Liz - both of you thank you yes the headache is now gone. It was great to see you Liz


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