This week I’ve had some very lovely news:
DEAR DAD has made it onto the shortlist for the prestigious RNA Romantic Novel of the Year 2017 award.
Every so often a story you’re working on will grab you on a deeper level and you’ll know you’ve found a ‘book of your heart.’ Dear Dad was one of them. I’ll admit, I struggled with it. I lost my way several times. Deceptively simple as the story seems, at times, it felt devilishly difficult to write.Some of the main characters hid away from me and I had to spend ages coaxing them out. I am not a man and I am not a dad and I have never been anybody’s son. I never even had a solid relationship with my own father to use as a point of reference … so, what did I know? Many times, I wanted to give it up because it felt too hard, and it was all taking tooooo long (two years, in the end).To cap it all, writing a women’s contemporary fiction novel with such a strong male point of view felt risky. Would my female readership identify with my hero Nate? Would anyone pick it up, let alone want to read it?
Still, I persevered.
Because, as I said, it was a book of my heart. Never mind that it had a male protagonist, I wanted to write a novel about Hope and Kindness. I wanted to write about good, old-fashioned Love! In these dark times I still think it’s what the world is crying out for. I am so glad that I stuck it out. And finally, this week, I am so very happy to have been validated in my choice.
I know that all the novels on this short-list are going to be fabulous, enjoyable reads, and I’m honoured my story was chosen to be one of them.
Now it just remains for me to wish the best of luck to all of my fellow ‘Contemporary Romantic Novel’ category contenders … Monday 13th March is going to be an exciting day for all of us!