Tag Archives: RNA

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!

Accent On … Lynne Shelby …


Hi Lynne, and welcome to the April edition of Accent On … on this Bank Holiday weekend.

Lynne Shelby with her debut novel French Kissing

Your début novel, French Kissing is the charming story of Anna Mitchel, a young woman who has been writing to her French pen-friend, Alex, since their school days and now meets the adult Alex. What was the inspiration behind the book? Did you have a pen-friend as a child? And if so, are you still in touch?

  • The inspiration for the plot of French Kissing was an overheard phone conversation when I was travelling back from Paris on the Eurostar with my family. A young Frenchman sitting across the aisle spent the entire journey phoning his English friends, informing them he was coming to London and asking if they’d like to meet up. Unfortunately, no-one seemed eager to see him, which made me feel very sorry for him, but also gave me the idea for a story in which a Frenchman comes to London and is very much welcomed by an English girl.
  • I didn’t have a pen-friend as a child, although I would have liked one. I do have an old university friend who now lives the other side of the country and we have been exchanging letters for decades. Somehow we never updated to emails!
  • How lovely to receive actual letters though – I’ve always enjoyed opening a letter, holding it my hand and savouring the anticipation of what it’s about to say!
  • So, French Kissing is set in London and Paris. You live in London, Lynne, and enjoy travelling. Where is your next novel set? And what about the one after that? Do you prefer to create your stories in cities rather than more rural settings? Any particular reason why?
  • My next novel is the first of a series set in the West End of London. I do tend to create stories that take place in cities, mainly, I think, because I live in a city myself, but also because I’ve visited and explored a lot of different cities and am often inspired to write by them. However, the book I’m currently writing is set partly in London, and partly in a quiet village. I’m enjoying writing about my heroine’s reactions to the contrasts between the two places.
  • I can’t wait to read them! I love the West End but I’m very much a country girl at heart, so I shall enjoy reading those very much.
  • Where do you write? And do you prefer to work in silence or are you happy to work with background noise?
  • I used to write anywhere, including the proverbial kitchen table, but when my eldest daughter moved into her own flat, her bedroom became my writing room, which is great because it means I can – and often do – stick post-it notes all over the walls if I want to! I prefer to write in either silence or with instrumental music playing quietly in the background. Luckily, even though I live in a city, our road is quiet!
  • That is indeed lucky – we’ve had a building being knocked down in front of our apartment since the New Year and they’re preparing to build another in its place – it really is a case of not being able to hear myself think!
  • When you’re not writing, what do you like to read, and where is your favourite place for reading?
  • I like to read any sort of fiction: mainstream, science fiction and fantasy, historical detective novels and classics. My favourite genre is romantic fiction, which is what I most like to write. The only factual books I read are history – usually Roman history, which is the era I’m most interested in.
  • My favourite place for reading is in a garden on a sunny afternoon.
  • Sounds an idyllic place to read! Do you prefer a physical book or an e-reader? And why?
  • I do own an e-reader, and I find it great when I’m travelling as it means I can take a whole library with me, but I prefer physical books. There is something wonderful about turning the pages of a book, its batteries never run out, and curling up with an e-reader just doesn’t feel the same.
  • Oh, I’m with you there! Plus, I like to read in the bath and a dropped e-reader would be a costly mistake!
  • I thoroughly enjoyed French Kissing and can see why it won the Accent Press and Woman Writing competition. A publishing deal was part of the prize – an excellent prize! I know you enjoy writing competitions. Can you tell us your favourite things about them – apart  from winning, of course!
  • I’m a great fan of writing competitions, as I believe they are a wonderful way for aspiring writers to hone their craft. Having to keep to a particular word count means a writer learns to make every single word work towards telling the story, while having to meet a competition deadline means no procrastination – you have to get on and write!
  • Absolutely! Now, you’ve already answered my next question – How did you come to be published by Accent Press? So … What can we look forward to next?
  • As you know, in 2015 I spotted that Accent Press and Woman magazine were running a writing competition for women’s contemporary fiction, and I entered ‘French Kissing,’ which won the first prize of publication by Accent Press.
  • My next book, ‘A Stage Kiss,’ is due out in January next year, and is the first in a series of books set in the world of show business.
  • I’m so looking forward to reading that! In the meantime, let’s share the blurb of French Kissing for any of our readers who might have missed it …

Anna Mitchel has been writing letters to her French pen friend, Alexandre Tourville, for fifteen years, but hasn’t seen him since they met as children on a school exchange trip.  When Paris-based Alex, now a successful professional photographer, comes to work in London, Anna fails to recognise him.  Instead of the small, geeky boy she remembers, he is tall, broad-shouldered – and gorgeous.

Anna’s female friends are soon swooning over Alex’s Gallic charm, and Anna’s boyfriend, Nick, is becoming increasingly jealous of their friendship. When Alex has to return to Paris to oversee the hanging of his photographs in an exhibition, he invites Anna to accompany him so that he can show her the city he adores …

Amazon Link:


Book cover:


If you were locked in a well-stocked library overnight, what book would you choose to help you pass the time?

  • I’d re-read ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ by George R R Martin –a hefty tome that would definitely last all night, but a real page-turner.
  • And finally, Lynne, is there anything you’d like to tell our readers about yourself which might surprise them?
  • I first submitted a manuscript (a children’s adventure story) to a publisher when I was fourteen. They didn’t publish it, but a kind editor wrote a letter encouraging me to keep on writing. I’m so glad I took her advice!

How lovely! Well, thank you so much, Lynne Shelby for taking the time to answer my questions. I can’t wait for A Stage Kiss to come out!

And next month I’ll be placing the accent on another Accent Press author … You’ll just have to wait and see which one it is. But before then, I’ll be starting another new post (hopefully weekly, but knowing me it’ll probably be monthly!!!) reviewing and recommending books I’ve been enjoying.  I haven’t settled on a title yet, but when I do I’ll be sure to let you know. And do hope you’ll join me …

What Do Best Selling Author Sue Moorcroft & Great British Bake Off’s Nadiya Hussain Have In Common?


I’m glad you asked that question! Ok, so you didn’t actually ask it, but for the purposes of this blog post, let’s pretend you did.

Well … Sue and Nadiya are the two writers I’m delighted to be sharing the platform with at this year’s Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. And I couldn’t be happier.

You see, I’ve attended Emirates Lit Fest as a member of the audience for the last 5 years, eagerly soaking up every drop of writerly wisdom from visiting authors, in the hope that one day I might actually be one of them myself. And when I found out I was going to be one of this year’s authors, I started wondering who I’d find myself sharing a session with.

I haven’t met Nadiya yet, but, as a lover of cakes – both the baking and eating of – I’m really looking forward to doing so. I’m also hoping to get my mitts on a copy of The Secret Lives of The Amir Sisters before then.

Sue Moorcroft TCP.JPGSue Moorcroft S O.JPG

Sue and I are both members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and have bumped into each other at a few parties and conferences, but haven’t had a chance to get to know each other yet. I can’t wait to rectifying that during the festival. I love her books!

Over Christmas I thoroughly enjoyed her latest, The Christmas Promise. Not only was it a fab Christmas read, I learnt a lot about hats and millinery, an added bonus. In fact I enjoyed it so much I immediately re-read Starting Over, the first novel set in the village of Middledip, where part of TCP is set. It’s a lovely fictional village, reminiscent of Trisha Ashley’s Sticklepond, and peopled with characters you’d love to spend time with. Like a lot of people, and especially authors as we have so many author friends (!), my To Be Read bookshelves are groaning, but I’d love to re-read the whole series.

And, of course, with the Festival coming up, there are going to be more and more books joining those buckling shelves. I hope to be able to tell you about a few more of them between now and the Festival, which takes place from 3rd to 11th March.

Our session, Secret Lives & Summer Love: Contemporary Women’s Fiction, takes place at 4.30pm on Friday 3rd March, at The Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City. We’ll be discussing writing about serious women’s issues with humour, and signing books afterwards. And I’m so excited to be launching the paperback of my second New Forest rom-com, Kind Hearts & Coriander that day. The e-book is already out on Amazon, but I’m an old-fashioned, loves-to-hold-a-real-book-in-my-hands kind of girl. Can’t wait!