Tag Archives: April Hardy

Accent On … Our 2017 Joan Hessayon Award Nominees …


I’m going to be a bit cheeky now, as I’ve been monumentally disorganised since returning from my travels around UK – even by my own standards! In my defence, I am apartment hunting, and taking care of a poorly cat, whom I’m thinking of renaming Houdini, as she’s become a genius at escaping her neck cone and batting it under the furniture to hide it! So … this month’s post is putting the Accent On this year’s pair of Accent Press nominees for the RNA’s Joan Hessayon Award.  And they are … Kate Field, author of The Magic of Ramblings, and – here’s the cheeky bit – myself, author of Sitting Pretty.

Now before I go any further I’ll explain briefly to those who don’t know, that the Joan Hessayon Award is an annual prize, kindly sponsored by Dr David Hessayon OBE, in honour of his late wife, Joan,  who was a long standing member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a great supporter of its New Writers’ Scheme. The nominees are authors whose début novels have been accepted for publication after passing through the NWS. The award ceremony takes place during the annual May summer party.

JHA Nominees 2017


And here we are, 10 of the 11 nominees at this year’s party … That’s Kate and myself, hiding in the back row, with Vivien Hampshire. Middle row L-R: Lynda Stacey, Victoria Cornwall, Morton Gray and Abbey Macmunn. Front row: Arabella Sheen, Emily Kerr and Terri Fleming. Jen Gilroy couldn’t be with us on the night.

We had a fabulous evening, which flew by all too quickly. Lovely things were said about our novels  while we were handed certificates. We clutched them as we waited for the winner to be announced … KATE FIELD!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Kate’s début novel, The Magic of Ramblings: Ramblingscover

“Running away can be the answer if you run to the right place…
When Cassie accepts a job as companion to Frances, an old lady living in a remote Lancashire village, she hopes for a quiet life where she can forget herself, her past and most especially men. The last thing she expects is to be drawn into saving a community that seems determined to take her to its heart – and to resuscitate hers…
Frances has lived a reclusive life at Ramblings, a Victorian Gothic mansion, for many years. So why now does she advertise for a companion and welcome strangers into her house?
Barney is hiding away at Ramblings, forging a new life as a farmer after his medical career ended in scandal. He doesn’t trust the mysterious woman who comes to live with his rich aunt, especially when she starts to steal Frances’ affection – and maybe his own too…
Can love, friendship, and the magic of Ramblings overcome the secrets of the past and unlock a brighter future?”



Kate Field writes contemporary women’s fiction, mainly set in her favourite county of Lancashire, where she lives with her husband, daughter and hyperactive cat.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

The Magic of Ramblings is her first published novel.

Social media links:  Twitter: @katehaswords

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KateFieldAuthor/

Buying links: http://amzn.to/29ZDTrv


Now I know this is supposed to be an Accent On … both Kate and myself, but you really don’t need to see another picture of my ugly mug! So here’s my début novel, Sitting Pretty:


“Professional pet-sitter Beth believes her Greek boyfriend, Alex is the one. When he’s offered a job in Dubai, he and Beth marry so they can move there together. But on the day they’re due to fly to their new life, Alex says their marriage was a mistake and ends it. By phone. Beth is suddenly husband-less and homeless. Distraught, and with her life in turmoil, when her old boss asks a favour she agrees on autopilot, and goes to feed Talisker the cat, whose handsome but dour owner Henry travels a lot. With nowhere to go and determined not to hear her mother’s “I told you so”, she sleeps on Henry’s sofa. Next day, Beth has her job back and a plan. For the time being, she’ll quietly stay in her clients’ homes until she can convince Alex that this is all a big mistake. She’s pretty sure squatting’s against the law, but if she’s careful, no one need find out … until the mysterious Henry comes home unexpectedly.”

Well that’s it for this month. I believe it’s the end of May Bank Holiday so Happy Bank Holiday weekend!  And next month’s Accent will be On …  nope – you’ll just have to wait and see!


My First Book Deal, and the Authors who Inspired Me to Write … Katie Fforde …


It’s high time I reacquainted myself with my sadly neglected blog. A lot has happened since I was last here! Following last summer’s exciting RNA conference at Queen Mary University in Mile End, East London, I signed a 3 book deal with the amazing Accent Press. That more than merited its own blog post, but I was so overwhelmed as I dived into the world of deadlines, and having to actually finish the books instead of just talking about them, that time slipped away from me – I’ve soundly slapped myself on the wrist for that and I promise to do better!April blogpicwithpencil final copy!

And now I have a publication date for my début romantic comedy, Sitting Pretty, which is due out on 7th July and which I’m still jumping around with excitement about. So, I decided that in the run up to July, I’d write a monthly blog about my favourite authors, who inspired me to start writing. This is my ever-so-slightly-late post for January, and is inspired by the wonderful, Sunday Times Best-selling author, Katie Fforde.

Thyme Out blog pic

The very first Katie Fforde book I bought was Thyme Out. I was working long hours as a chef at the time, and had been dragged along to somebody’s “yard sale”. The only thing that interested me was the table of books, and I left with most of its contents. Of them all, it was Thyme out, the story of Perdita Dylan, a vegetable gardener with an unpredictable ex-husband being groomed as the latest celebrity chef, which cried out for me to read it first. I read the whole book on my day off, then took myself to every bookshop in Dubai to see which other titles I could get hold of. Those I couldn’t find here were soon winging their way from either Amazon or The Book Depository.

Katie’s characters were so real, her heroines so warm and engaging that I couldn’t get enough of them. And there was quite a lot of food in her stories which was, of course, right up my street. The only problem, when the first parcel arrived, was which to read first!

I wondered which of all her novels was Katie’s favourite. Living Dangerously, she told me, because it was her first.  Living Dangerously blog picAnd she said that Living Dangerously‘s Polly Cameron was her favourite heroine, as she had Katie’s own job at that time – cue more food – yay! She also had Katie’s cat and her keep fit class. In fact, she said, Polly was a very much more gorgeous version of herself – very modest, our lovely Katie!

I asked her which novel was the most fun to research and her reply was Summer of Love, where Sian Bishop moves to the country and finds more there than she bargained for.

Katie’s research for the hero, Gus Beresford, took her on a Ray Mears course where, Summer of Love blog picfortunately they didn’t have to kill their food, but they did have to make the fires to cook it with and their own shelters to sleep under. Katie said she just loved it!

Just as Katie was my biggest inspiration to start writing, Georgette Heyer, she told me was hers, with her brilliant characterisation and dialogue. Patrick O’Brian was another author who had Heyer’s knack for bringing characters to life and another of Katie’s inspirations.

Over the coming 5 months, I’ll be blogging about 5 of my other favourite authors who have inspired me to write. I’d love it if you could join me …



April Hardy, writing in the sand about …

The Exeter Novel Prize.

Back in May, I was in London for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s summer party. Checking in to the New Cavendish Club is, for me, part and parcel of the whole event. I love bumping into other RNA members before the party and checking out each others’ shoes!

This year, I found myself gate-crashing the Devon chapter’s afternoon tea – not on purpose – honest! There I met Margaret James, Sophie Duffy and Cathie Hartigan of Exeter Writers and co-founders of CreativeWritingMatters.

We got chatting about the New Writers’ Scheme, of which I’m a member, and writing competitions. That was how I got to hear about the Exeter Novel Prize.

photo (3)

L-R April Hardy, Sarah Tranter, Sarah Newson, Anne Bennett, Sophie King, Cathie Hartigan, Margaret James, Sophie Duffy, Linda Mitchelmore, a lady I can’t recognise, Mandy James. Seated Gilli Allan

Most writing competitions have restrictions. Many are only open to either published or unpublished writers. Then there is the writer’s age, sex and, of course the genre. But Margaret, Sophie and Cathie wanted to create a competition which would be an opportunity for as many novelists as possible.
So, with the exception of children’s books, the ENP is open to all genres.
Entries of up to 10,000 words, including a synopsis of not more than 500 words can be emailed from anywhere – very handy if you live halfway round the world! Details of how to enter can be found at http://www.creativewritingmatters.co.uk

But you’ll need to get a move on …
The competition, which will be judged by Broo Doherty of Wade and Doherty Literary Agency, Wapping, closes midnight, 31st October.
Good luck!

Oh, and if you know who the lady I couldn’t recognise in the photo is, please let me know, so I can add her name!

And with November being National Novel Writing Month, the next post or two will feature the trials and tribulations of Challenge NaNoWriMo. Write a novel in 30 days? Why not – there’s nothing in the rules about it being perfect!

Welcome to My New Blog!


Writing was always something for which I had a great passion. There was just never enough time. Until I moved to Dubai, that is. A combination of staying out of the heat, not being a great mall-hopper, & having the words – galling at the time, but now I’m so glad of them – “Housewife/Not allowed to work” printed on my visa, gave me just what I needed – the gift of time.

But what to write? Well, what did I like to read? I’m an old fashioned girl at heart. I’ve always loved H E Bates’ Pop Larkin stories and P G Wodehouse’s tales of Jeeves and Wooster, but they were published in a totally different time, almost another world. Trisha Ashley and Katie Fforde had long been favourite contemporary authors of mine, so what about trying my hand at romance?

Ok, I’d chosen my genre. Now where was I going to set my writing? Well, it had to be Dubai, didn’t it! But setting romantic fiction in a country where public displays of affection can get you into trouble?

Well, never let it be said I like to make life easy for myself …

A quick word of thanks, before I go, to my blog-fairy-godmother, Morgen, for her help with this first post. I’m a low-tech kind of girl, so hopefully it won’t all be downhill from here – but I’m not promising!