The RWA's Rita® Awards are the romance novel equivalent of the Oscars, and a pretty big deal in my world. I've entered two years running and had high hopes for this year's entry, Not a Fairy Tale. Since the announcement of the shortlisted novels was due out yesterday (Good Friday, and what a good day it was!) I expected nominees to be contacted on Thursday. Thursday passed by without an email, so I shrugged my shoulders and forgot all about it. After all, it was a long shot anyway - what were my chances realistically in placing in such an exalted competition?
So when, half way through a marathon of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries on Friday afternoon, I went to check my cell phone and saw a missed call from a US number, my heart stopped.
I don't know a lot of people in the US who would call me rather than email. It could only mean one thing...
I listened to the voice message that had been left, did a dance, then composed myself to return the call. Thank you Damon Suede (a member of the RWA Board of Directors) for making my dream come true. As I paced up and down the front garden, hearing him say the magic words "You have been nominated for a Rita Award" I still couldn't quite grasp that this was really happening.
Since I'd taken so long to return Damon's call, it was mere minutes before the RWA announced my name and the congratulations started flooding in. I've been overwhelmed by all the support and wishes I've received!
Last night we cracked open a bottle of champagne, but today it's back to business as normal. I have two young daughters who have very little respect for romance novels and writing awards and as a result refuse to stop fighting in honour of the occasion, and who still expect to be fed, watered, taxied and entertained.
One thing has definitely changed, though. After a desultory writing year, I feel very, very motivated to throw myself back into writing. After all, if my peers think I'm good enough to be nominated for a Rita Award, I'd better prove that I'm worthy of it!
If you haven't already read Not a Fairy Tale, this is the story of stuntman Dominic Kelly (who first made his appearance in To Catch a Star, where he very nearly stole the show!) and actress Nina Alexander, a woman who has already lost everything once and who refuses to get attached to anything or anyone.
Not a Fairy Tale is available from all major online retailers, in paperback from Amazon UK, and in book stores around South Africa.