The last few weeks have brought plenty of excitement…
Firstly, the RNA’s Joan
Hessayon Awards. What a lovely evening that was! In front of a room full of
romantic novelists, enjoying wine and nibbles, my fellow nominees and I had our
photos taken, our books praised, and then, having waited in line like a group
of naughty schoolgirls outside the Head’s office, we all received a certificate
and cheque as we were loudly cheered and made to feel very special. No, I didn’t
win, but huge congratulations to Kate Field, who did. And it was great to meet
so many writers, and to see my editors there enjoying the moment too.
Joan Hessayon Award contenders with me 4th at the back
And then, a week later, after an early meal with friends in
Shaftesbury Avenue, it was on to Romance
in The Court, a very warm, relaxed and enjoyable evening at (and outside)
Goldsboro Books near Leicester Square, mixing with authors, editors and
readers. Another event involving free wine (what a shame I don’t drink the
stuff!), with the added bonus of being able to buy newly published books and
have them signed there and then by their authors. I couldn’t resist coming home
with the new Jean Fullerton novel, which even she was surprised to see on the shelves
so far ahead of its official publication day!
Next stop: The SWWJ’s
Summer Gathering. After the annual general meeting, at which I hope to be
re-elected to the Council, we will all be enjoying afternoon tea and an
interesting speech from the ALCS, that wonderful organisation that hands out
money to grateful writers without any of us really understanding exactly where
it comes from! Maybe after this event we will know a little more.
And so it’s now back to the proper work of a novelist: writing
and promoting, in roughly equal measure. With How To Win Back Your Husband’s five minutes of fame at the awards
evening now behind me, it’s all systems go for Lily Alone, due to be e-published in just eleven days’ time. I have
been busy designing some eye-catching ads and promoting the book on facebook
and twitter, and it is already available to reviewers and book bloggers, so I
am hoping to see some early reviews for it very soon. I also had an unexpected
email from The People’s Friend
magazine who are planning to feature the book, and me, in their October ‘Special’
issue alongside a specially commissioned short story. As My Weekly are already planning something similar, I will be getting
lots of much-needed coverage just as the paperback edition hits the shops.
By the time of my next post, Lily will be out there in the
world and being read by thousands… I hope!
Spring is here at last, and May seems to be all about celebrations!
First of all, the publication of my friend Elaine Everest’s
new novel The Butlins Girls, and the wonderful ‘launch day’ afternoon tea party
I attended with other writer friends on Thursday 4th, at The Twig
and Spoon restaurant, a hidden gem, tucked away behind the Woodlands Garden Centre,
in Ash, Kent. A great time was had by all, with food, chat, a bubbly prosecco
toast, bunting and gifts for all. I wish Elaine every success with this book,
which I am confident will do just as well as her previous bestseller, The Woolworths
Here are two lovely pictures showing some of the fantastic goodies on offer...
... and Elaine Everest (right) celebrating with friends and fellow RNA and SWWJ members, Francesca Capaldi Burgess and Elaine Roberts.
Next week, SWWJ members should be receiving the Spring issue
of The Woman Writer magazine, and tucked inside it a lovely souvenir supplement
celebrating all the competition winners and runners up from the Society’s 2016
and early 2017 competitions. I have really enjoyed overseeing the
administration of these competitions, especially notifying the winners of their
success and then meeting them at the awards ceremony and hearing them read
their entries a few weeks ago. We have lots more competitions coming up over the
coming year, and I can’t wait to do it all again!
up will be the Romantic Novelists Association’s annual Joan Hessayon Awards,
where all those aspiring novelists (including me!) who took the journey through
the RNA’s New Writers Scheme and made it to publication over the last year or
so are going to be celebrated, with one of us receiving the coveted award,
along with the generous cheque and all the kudos that goes with it. The
ceremony is in London on 18th May, when we will all be in our best
dresses and new shoes, and having our photos taken for the RNA’s Romance
Matters magazine. Here's my baby... sorry, I mean book.
While I continue to write romantic comedies and magazine
short stories as Vivien Hampshire, the brand new ‘other me’ is now writing too…
and as Vivien Brown my books will
tackle more serious themes and in a much more tense and gripping way.
First of all, an update on ‘How To Win Back Your Husband’ by
Vivien Hampshire. My first rom-com novel was published as an ebook in January
and I held a great online launch party on Facebook. Friends, readers and
complete strangers dropped by and joined in the fun, helping me to celebrate
and taking part in some light-hearted games and competitions. I had pens specially made, with the book’s cover printed along the side, and these made lovely prizes, as well as promotional tools. The book sold well in the first few days, but sales are dropping off now, so while it’s still only 99pence, a few more buyers, and reviews, would be very much appreciated. You can view it, and buy it, from Amazon by clicking right here.
On the short story front, my output has dropped quite
considerably while I have been concentrating on novels, but ‘The Sky Blanket’ was
published in The Peoples Friend Special in January. This one was inspired by a
fantastic knitting project that my friend Sally told me about last summer while
we were both enjoying our Writers Holiday in Fishguard, Wales. You simply knit
one or two rows every day, matching your wool to the colour of the sky. Result:
a unique striped blanket in all manner of blues, whites, greys, pinks, etc. No
two ever the same!
My story ‘Star’, giving a young girl’s view of the loss of
her dad and her mum’s remarriage appeared in Woman’s Weekly on 10th
January, and I then sold them a twist-ending story about an old lady enjoying the
tennis at Wimbledon, fully expecting them not to use it until June, but no… it
appeared in the March issue of their Fiction Special. They have since bought
another of my stories, all about the importance and meaning of names, but I am
still waiting to find out when it will be published.
A fun story about all the superstitions tied up with
weddings was my first sale to My Weekly in a long while, and that one will
appear in the magazine on 20th May.
In other news... On 15th March I put on my 'competitions co-ordinator' hat and attended the SWWJ Spring tea, where all the Society's prize winners received their trophies and cheques from the fantastic judges. Here's me with Sylvia Kent who took all the lovely photos on the day. Find out more on the SWWJ facebook page or take a look at their website here.
So, moving on to the biggest news of all…
I am now very proud to announce that ‘Lily Alone’ by Vivien Brown will
be published, first as an ebook on 15th June, and then as a
paperback on 5th October. You can read all about it and pre-order a
copy by clicking here.
I am absolutely thrilled with the wonderful cover that Harper
Collins have commissioned for this book. To me, it captures perfectly all the
poignancy and heartbreak of a tiny child who finds herself left alone with only
her teddy for company. If that cover doesn’t draw readers in I don’t know what
Re-connecting with the fiction editor at My Weekly has turned
out to be a very timely and rewarding experience as she has booked me to write
a short story for the magazine to tie in with the publication of the paperback
in October. It will be my first ever short story written as Vivien Brown, and in
that one I intend to use a couple of the characters from the book and reveal a
little of their past as a taster of the main event. I’m not sure what will
happen in that story yet, but I can’t wait to find out!
It’s been a long old journey from first short story sale
twenty years ago to first commercially published novel, but I’ve finally done
How to Win Back Your Husband hits the Amazon kindle store on
Wednesday, and I will be celebrating with a little online launch party on my Vivien Hampshire Author
facebook page for most of the day. Updates on its progress through the rankings,
reviews and reader comments, some virtual cake and bubbles, and a few prizes
along the way.
And, as soon as the fun dies down, I will be head-down
working on the edits for my next book, due out in the Summer under my ‘other’
name of Vivien Brown. Details of the title and a sneak peek at the cover coming