In my reader newsletter last month I mentioned casually I’d been shortlisted at the Romantic Novelist’s Association awards, which were taking place at the Gladstone Library in London in March. I didn’t ever expect to win anything and was merely anticipating a lovely night in which I got to catch up on gossip with lots of author friends. Well, I DID catch up on gossip and I DID have a great evening. But I was flabbergasted when You Me Everything only went and won! My 2018 book won the Sapere Books Popular Romantic Fiction Award and I got to collect a rather lovely crystal trophy for my troubles, which now takes pride of place in my writing room next to the house plants I can’t seem to keep alive. It was a gorgeous evening. I was up against a very strong shortlist including Jill Mansell, Isabelle Broom, Louise Beech and Laura Wood (all pictured with me, above). It was such an unexpected boost to win an award for the first book I’ve written as Catherine Isaac that I’ll treasure it forever. Though my 6-year-old – who was initially fist-pumping at the news that I’d scooped a trophy – was rather disappointed when I got it home and he discovered that it wasn’t the FA Cup.
Come along to one of my events this month
It’s no exaggeration to say that ninety per cent of my working life is spent alone in my writing room, head buried in a Macbook. While I love losing myself in my work and feel privileged to earn a living from writing stories, the one thing I’ve always missed since this became my full-time job is meeting people. I was a journalist before I became an author and loved the buzz of a busy newsroom, as well as getting out and about to interview people. It’s perhaps because of this that I’ve relished taking part in the Read Regional campaign run by New Writing North since it started in earnest in March. My first stop was Prudhoe Library in Northumberland, then it was onto Prestwich in Greater Manchester. It was lovely to see such a great turnout and there was a terrific crowd at both of the events. The next events coming up are at Brighouse Library in Calderdale, on Friday 5thApril at 2pm, then I’ll be at Hull Central Library on Wednesday 10th April at 6.30pm and finally this month there’s Halewood Library on Tuesday 23rd April at 2pm. I’d really love to see you there. If you live in the North of England there will more than likely be a Read Regional event near you coming up – and whether it’s me or one of the other authors that you’re interesting in seeing, they make for a great couple of hours. Click here for a full list of Read Regional events.
I’ve been on my travels again
As well as gearing up for publication of Messy, Wonderful Us, I’m currently in the thick of writing another novel. I can’t tell you too much about it just yet, but I can say I’ve just returned from the most fascinating research trip to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. What an incredible place it is.
Drenched in history, the city has a laid-back atmosphere and a real mixture of cultures, especially in the lovely streets of the old town. It still bears its war wounds after being bombarded during the long siege in the early 1990s and bullet holes can still be seen in plenty of walls around the city. But it is a place that is richly atmospheric and I am thoroughly enjoying being able to write about it.