Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Whoop! What She Saw is Finalist in Joan Hessayon Award.

Am I looking rather proud? Well that's because this photograph was taken at the RNA York Tea where I accepted my certificate for being a finalist for the Joan Hessayon Award.

Actually, I feel a bit of a fraud calling myself a finalist because, in reality, everyone who was up for the award was a finalist. Still, it's what it says on my certificate so I'm using it!

So, what is the Joan Hessayon Award? Well, its a competition for a debut author who has had their novel accepted for publication after passing through the Romantic Novelists' Association New Writers' Scheme. 

Each novel submitted on the scheme gets a critique from a published author. When I received mine for What She Saw, it was the confirmation I needed that my book was ready to be submitted to a publisher... Bookouture obviously though so too, as it was published by them in May!

I live on the South Coast and, as most of you will know, I'm not a keen traveller, but my husband very kindly suggested we turn the visit to York into a mini break. I LOVE mini breaks!

Unfortunately, due to lots of holdups on the motorway, the drive up took a lot longer than we'd been expecting. But, when we eventually arrived and saw the lovely Airbnb we'd booked (with it's beautiful garden) we knew it had been worth it. Here's a picture of Bonnie enjoying the sunshine. 

The following afternoon, my husband dropped me off at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall where I collected my name badge and had my photograph taken, along with the other Joan Hessayon contenders. Then all the guests sat down for a delicious afternoon tea. I can't begin to tell you how lovely it was (how did the organisers know they'd picked my favourite sandwiches?).

The good thing was, I could relax and enjoy the afternoon as I didn't think my psychological thriller (with a romance entwined) could stand a chance when competing with the twelve fabulous 'true' romances that had gone through the scheme. Although, a little nervous when the time came to collect my certificate, I was delighted that the judges thought What She Saw 'hooked the reader and kept them wanting to read on'.

The ultimate winner was Lorna Cook, with her novel, The Forgotten Village. Lorna was sitting at my table and it was lovely to meet her for the first time. I can't wait to read her book. 

The next day, my husband and I explored York and also Castle Howard where the original TV series of Brideshead Revisited was filmed. The weekend had been a great success. My novel may not have won, but I had a wonderful time meeting old and new friends and going back to a city I hadn't visited in over thirty years.

You can find out more about me and my Joan Hessayon Award nomination on the RNA website here.


  1. How fabulous for you. Congratulations. Your weekend away sounds wonderful too.

  2. Lovely write-up of a cracking day!! Do come back and see us up here again.