What a super jamboree the RNA can throw! Champagne at 10 o'clock in the morning in the simply stunning setting of the RAF Club in Piccadilly, London, to announce the RNA Awards shortlist. And what better historical venue in which to be selected for the shortlist for the Best Historical Novel of the Year, as well as for the Best Romantic Novel of the Year.
The Jewel of St Petersburg is flashing its scarlet skirts in celebration.
What I love about meeting other writers is their boundless enthusiasm for their books, like mothers with precocious offspring, which meant the party in the President's Room buzzed with energy. When you get a host of writers, publishers, agents and media together - as well as trayfuls of champagne flutes - you get so much fizz your ears start popping. I think writers just don't get out enough!
I am impressed by the competition that Jewel has to face, a formidable line-up of talent, but I was particularly drawn to a book that for me stood out from the rest - titled Amazir and set in Morocco. It enchanted me. Okay, I admit it might be the gorgeous author, Tom Gamble, who did a bit of the enchanting, but I promise you he's one to watch.
Lunch with my agent afterwards at the V&A gave the celebration even more zip, though the subject of what my Next Book will be about raised its querulous head! But the day belonged to The Jewel of St Petersburg and we raised glasses to wish it success on March 7th when the winners will be announced.