Today on my month-long Romantic Novelists Association feature. Each day in February I will have a different author on the blog, talking to me about their books. It is to help celebrate the sixtieth birthday of the RNA and to raise awareness of how it might be a great fit for you if you are an author. I hope you enjoy the features over the next few weeks. Be sure to give the authors a follow on social media and add the books you fancy from the selection of great authors to your own TBR.
❤️Romantic Novelists Association
The Romantic Novelists’ Association was founded in 1960 to both celebrate, and demand respect for, romantic fiction. Founder members included Denise Robins, Barbara Cartland, Elizabeth Goudge, Netta Muskett, Catherine Cookson and Rosamunde Pilcher. The first President of the Association, Denise Robins, noted that although romantic fiction gave great pleasure to many readers, the writers almost felt they had to apologise for what they did. The RNA was going to put a stop to those apologies and, instead, celebrate and promote romantic authorship.
In 1966, an early Vice President of the association, Elizabeth Goudge, commented that ‘As this world becomes increasingly ugly, callous and materialistic it needs to be reminded that the old fairy stories are rooted in truth, that imagination is of value, that happy endings do, in fact, occur, and that the blue spring mist that makes and ugly street look beautiful is just as real a thing as the street itself.’
Today, the RNA continues to support and champion the authorship of romantic fiction that shows the value of imagination and the possibility of a happy ending and also celebrates the broader spectrum of romantic fiction that explores the more challenging aspects of relationships and human experience.
❤️ Meet Me In Cockleberry Bay
Nicola May is the author of ten romantic comedies, all of which have appeared in the Kindle bestseller charts. Two of them won awards at the Festival of Romance, and another was named ebook of the week in The Sun. The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay, the first in the Cockleberry Bay series, became the #1 best-selling Kindle book in the UK, across all genres, in January 2019 and was the second most sold eBook in 2019.
The cast of the runaway bestseller, The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay, are back – including Rosa, Josh, Mary, Jacob, Sheila, new mum Titch and, last but by no means least, Hot, the adorable dachshund.
Newly wed, and with her inherited corner shop successfully up and running, Rosa Smith seems to have all that anyone could wish for. But the course of true love never did run smooth and Rosa’s suspicions that her husband is having an affair have dire consequences.
Reaching rock bottom before she can climb back up to the top, fragile Rosa is forced to face her fears, addiction and jealousy head on.
With a selection of meddling locals still at large, a mystery fire and Titch’s frantic search for the real father of her sick baby, the second book in this enchanting series will take you on a further unpredictable journey of self-discovery.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey, please?
It has taken me twenty-three years to become an overnight success. I started writing that many years ago, but after receiving many rejections from traditional publishers, in 2011 I decided to self-publish. I did OK as a self-published author but wasn’t earning enough to write full time; which had always been my dream. I was delighted to find myself an agent and a publisher in 2015, however this did not appear fruitful either.
So, in 2018 I decided to self-publish The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay and that is when my writing journey changed significantly. When it made it to #1 across the whole of Amazon and had sold over 180,000 copies, I could, at last, realise my dream of writing full time. This book continues to amaze me, as as I type, 21 months after publication, it is sitting at #1 in the Amazon Holiday Fiction Chart.
Can you tell us how you became involved with the Romantic Novelists Association and what it means for you to be part of it?
In 2003, my beautiful editor, Joan Deitch; who is still my editor today, took me the RNA Awards ceremony; which back then was a fancy lunch at The Dorchester and the top author received £10,000 in prize money. Alan Titchmarsh was sat near to me and Joanna Trollope headed the top table. Playing James by Sarah Mason won that year and I vowed that one day I would stand on that stage and be the recipient of one of those prestigious awards.
Sixteen years later, it’s still great to be involved with a community of authors who continue to champion the romance genre and who support each other at every stage of their writing journey.
What was the inspiration behind your latest release?
Meet Me in Cockleberry Bay is the sequel to The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay and carries on the lives of the characters in the fictitious Devon seaside town, including Rosa, (the heroine) who bravely tackles with her low self-esteem and addiction issues.
Do you find it hard to let your characters go when you finish writing the book?
I’m currently writing book 3 of the Cockleberry Bay trilogy, so I am still living and breathing the characters. But yes, previously I have carried the characters with me for a while after I finish each book.
What was your favourite read of 2019?
Us by David Nicholls
Do you read other romance authors and who would you recommend?
Yes, I love Milly Johnson, Kim Nash and Drew Davies
If you had the power to give everyone in the world one book, what would it be and why?
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.
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Thank you to Nicola for taking part in my special feature.
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