Saturday Spotlight – The Romantic Novelists’ Association Summer Party 2014

RNA Party

I have been very fortunate that two years ago I got a place on the RNA New Writer’ Scheme. Last year when my book was published I was entered into the Joan Hessayon New Writer’s award and on Thursday May 22nd I set off to London for the first time since I was seventeen years old.
As my train pulled out of Barrow and went past the beautiful Abbey ruins and Abbotswood which had been the inspiration for my novel The Ghost House it actually sunk in that I was now a published writer and on my way to celebrate my success. It was an amazing feeling sitting on that train and I felt very lucky and humbled that after all the years of trying and the rejections that I had done it. I had made my dream come true and there is no finer feeling.

I was very excited to be meeting so many of the lovely writers that I speak to on a regular basis on Facebook and Twitter, especially our very own Deirdre and Rachael. I was also a nervous wreck. I’m not very good in social situation’s but I was determined that I was going to enjoy the day and night for what it was.
I had booked a room in The Royal Overseas League where the party was being held so I didn’t have to worry about being late or finding my way back. I spent an hour giving myself a pep talk before going down to meet up with all the other lovely Joan Hessayon Contenders. It was a pleasure meeting so many fellow writers, especially Jill Steeples and Annie Lyons who also write for Carina. Jill bought the first drinks to calm our nerves before the dreaded official photo, which actually wasn’t that bad and the photographer was lovely. Once the photo was over I could breathe a sigh of relief and relax a little, it was nice to meet so many fellow writers and soon my editors from Carina arrived with a couple of bottles of Prosecco which was the first time I’d ever tasted it and it certainly won’t be the last, how have I not discovered this before I asked myself?

Eventually Pia Fenton the RNA chair took to the podium and we all raised a toast to the lovely Joan Hessayon and her husband Dr Hessayon who sponsors the award every year in memory of his wife. We all lined up in front of the projector and listened as Pia read out everyone’s blurb; it was lovely cheering and celebrating so many début authors’ success and very inspiring. Of course there could only be one winner and that was the lovely Jo Thomas for her novel The Oyster Catcher as we all whooped with delight and applauded I couldn’t help but feel a touch relieved it wasn’t me. I hadn’t even thought about a speech and by this stage I was positively melting and a little bit tipsy.
It was a wonderful night and I felt so privileged to have been a part of it, the organisers worked so hard to make it very special and I would like to thank them all from the bottom of my heart.

I’m looking forward to next year’s party already where I will be able to raise a glass or two of Prosecco to my fellow Write Romantics who are on their way to making their own dreams come true 🙂

Helen xx


10 thoughts on “Saturday Spotlight – The Romantic Novelists’ Association Summer Party 2014

  1. What a lovely account Helen, I almost feel like I was there with you, maybe one year I will be. I would have been the same as you, terrified about having to give a speech, its really not my thing either. I loved hearing that Abbotswood was the inspiration for The Ghost House & will visit it next time I’m up that way. Isn’t that where John Ruskin lived?
    Take care, Lynne

  2. It sounds like a fabulous party and wow, what an achievement to be nominated. Lovely photograph too 🙂
    Helen R x

  3. It was a fantastic evening Helen and I was so proud to be cheering you on as the blurb of your book was read out and you were presented with your certificate. It was also great to meet Deirdre and I’m so looking forward to the conference when we can all meet up!

  4. Huge congratulations Helen on what has been an amazing year or so for you on your incredible writing journey. How fitting that the next stage not only involved a journey but a journey past your inspiration! Love that! You’re a lovely person and an inspiration to us all and I would love to be beside you one year soon toasting more Write Romantics success
    Julie xx

  5. Wonderful post, Helen. I could really feel the excitement and the nerves. It makes me wish even more that I’d been able to be there to help you celebrate. You’re a very special lady and I’m so proud to know you!

  6. I was there, too, Helen, cheering on Edinburgh writer, Jennifer Young and fellow MuseItUp author, Helena Fairfax – and you all. I was a nominee last year and I second a lot of what you say. I had such a super evening and the organisers do manage to make everyone feel a winner. I was also struck once more by how really approachable and friendly even the most published writers are. We do have something unique in the RNA. Anne Stenhouse

  7. Pingback: Joan Hessayon Award Winner Jo Thomas triumphs

  8. Well done Helen, you know you are a winner in our eyes and I think this is just the start of everything for you and you will have a mantelpiece of awards before you know it! Jo xx

  9. Thank you so much for all you’re kind words. Jo, Julie, Rachael, Alex, Helen and Lynne. It was Sir James Ramsden who lived in Abbotswood Lynne and I also thanked him for building the beautiful house in the woods which inspired my book 😉

    Thank you Linda 🙂 Anne you will have known exactly how it felt and congratulations to you as well for last year.

    The organisers are fantastic and it’s so nice to finally have it sink in that we’ve done it, we’re actually published writers. I didn’t really believe it until the train pulled out of the station and the enormity of it all struck me.

    Helen P xx

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