The Christmas Dinner is already becoming a distant memory. The tinsel is beginning to look a little sad around the edges, and the chocolates on the tree have all but vanished. The old year is passing, and a new year hovers in the days ahead, waiting to come in.
But the Choc Lit authors aren’t quite ready to welcome in the new year. Sitting back in their comfortable chairs, a box of chocolates on their lap, they’re looking back at 2012…
Kate Johnson, Christina Courtenay, Jane Lovering at the Presentation of the RoNAs.
Christina with Sue Moorcroft at the Festival of Romance
… starting with Christina Courtenay: Although I seem to have been working flat out, 2012 was a brilliant year in many ways and the highlights for me were winning the Best Historical Romantic Novel of the year award (RoNA) with Highland Storms in March and then the Best Historical Read at the Festival of Romance in November with The Silent Touch of Shadows. In fact, Choc Lit had a fantastic year which is wonderful for all of us!
Christine Stovell at the wedding of her daughter
Chris Stovell: In the year of the most spectacular Olympics, my two favourite gold medal moments were my eldest daughter’s wedding day in September and the publication of my second, novel Move Over Darling in October.
Luke & Jake
Liz Harris: Looking back at the year, my professional highlight was launching The Road Back at Waterstones Oxford, in a room crowded with family and friends, and soon after that, seeing Evie Undercover come out on kindle. What a thrill!
My personal highlight of 2012 was at the wedding of my older son, Luke, in October, when in his thank you speech, he turned to pay tribute to his brother, Jake, his best man. Luke choked up with emotion and couldn’t carry on speaking. They both will have a best friend for the rest of their lives.
Margaret James: The awful summer weather made it easier to stay indoors and write lots of words, rather than sidle off down to the beach or lounge around in the back garden. The sun definitely shone on Choc Lit, though – what a fantastic haul of awards this year!
Sarah Tranter: strangest year ever and full of incredible highs and incredible lows. Not much ‘normality’ in between. The highs – such unbelievable highs – all associated with Choc Lit accepting NSTAI. The lows I won’t bore you with, other than to say that during the summer holidays I was forced to seriously consider the existence of voodoo. But … *clutching the wooden kitchen table* – the year should end on the verge of another incredible high. Thank you Choc Lit! NSTAI is officially published on 7 January
Amanda James (aka Mandy): I will always remember 2012, for that was the year that I signed my contract with Choc Lit! I can still feel the incredible excitement, not to say shock when I received the email form Lyn. I have met so many lovely people in the Choc Lit team and feel very lucky. I can hardly wait for next April when I can hold my book for the first time.
James, Sarah and Linda at Linda's launch
Linda Mitchelmore: For me, the most wonderful moment of 2012 was to see just how many friends and family turned up for the launch evening of TO TURN FULL CIRCLE. It had to be the wettest, wildest, June evening on record and yet more than 80 people turned up at The Torbay Bookshop in Paignton to support me. Still got the warm, fuzzy, feeling….:)
And a picture of my son, James, and my daughter, Sarah – my two finest ‘publications’ – looking so pleased for me.
Sue's puppy-in-law, Milo
Sue Moorcroft: Looking back at the last year, a few things jump out at me. One is how much I’ve enjoyed the company of friends – writing friends, gym bunny friends, new friends and old. Kind of linked to that, I stepped out of my own genre to go to a couple of interesting conferences, Alt Fiction and the Historical Novel Society Conference, and thoroughly enjoyed meeting writers of other genres. Here’s a pic of one of my new friends: my puppy-in-law, Milo.
Zana Bell: I kicked off 2012 with a beautiful ring and an unexpected proposal of marriage from my partner of 25 years! I’m a romance writer, I know my cue.
“Oh wow!” I replied. “I don’t know.”
“What? Are you going to turn me down now after all these years?”
What could I say? I accepted.
Later in the year, I was delighted to have my own proposal to Choc Lit accepted!
Beverley Eikli: Winning Choc-Lit’s ‘Search for An Australian Star’ competition brought me on board as the newest recruit and was a fabulous way to wrap up the year. I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.
Jane with her Comedy Award
Jane Lovering:What can I say about 2012 other than…fabulous! Winning Romantic Comedy of the Year and then overall Romantic Novel of the Year with Please Don’t Stop the Music, and the birth of my first grandchild have made it an unforgettable year all round. Although I am trying to forget the speech I made…
An Olympic summer
Kate Johnson: I could tell you all about my new book and my new niece, both of which were 2012 highlights for me, but I think whenever I see the date 2012 I’m going to think of that extraordinary, unexpected, glorious Olympian summer that seemed to have the whole country, especially sport-hating me, literally jumping for joy.
Margaret Kaine:2012 for me will be remembered as the year when despite the recession and floods, our country was uplifted and inspired. Who could forget the Queen’s Jubilee in the rain and the Olympics and Paralympics with their magnificent opening ceremonies.
Juliet Archer: Thoughts about 2012: A huge year for Choc Lit, and a big thank you to Lyn and team! On the personal front, mixed emotions at being ‘almost’ empty-nesters – our daughter has gone to live nearer her work in London, and our son spends half his time at college in the US.
Evonne being congratulated by Christina Courtenay
Evonne Wareham: The highs for me for 2012 have to be holding my debut novel in my hand, then, a couple of months later, winning the Joan Hessayon award, and holding the RNA New Writers’ silver cup in my hand. A memorable year. Sadly, I have to give the cup back next May – but I have my fingers firmly crossed that I might be handing it on to another Choc-lit debut author. Wouldn’t that be nice?
'Up Close' in WH Smith's at Waterloo Station
Union Jack tea cosy
Henriette Gyland: 2012 has been a year of contrasts for me. I’ve watched in mounting horror as atrocities have been committed in parts of the world, and seen people’s lives devastated by natural disasters and an economy in tatters – while I myself have been juggling two jobs besides writing. The awful summer didn’t help, and I wrecked my knee climbing a Welsh mountain. (Why did I climb it? Because it was there!).
On the other hand, seeing the nation pulling together around a jubilee, the spectacular Olympics and Paralympics, and the prospect of a royal baby has been incredibly life-affirming. Social events have cemented my friendships, my youngest child started high school, and my first novel Up Close was published this December.
Liv Thomas – one half of Isabella Connor: 2012 started with the event that would be the most significant in the whole year…it doesn’t seem any time at all since my daughter phoned me in a state of shock to say her pregnancy test had been positive. In the next couple of days, she’d done three more tests and visited the GP, so it was apparent that she was just a tad excited. Being in almost from the very beginning, I thought it would be a long year, but it actually went quite quickly, resulting in the birth of adorable Ben on his due date in October.
Any other time, the outstanding highlight would certainly have been the first email from Choc Lit saying they were interested in my co-written novel, and then the meeting with Lyn – frankly, it still seems very unreal. I’m sure CL will understand that it came a very creditable second.
Val Olteanu – the other half of Isabella Connor:
Darius and Ducks
Darius as a puppy
I’m sad to see 2012 go because it was a golden year for me. The year started with us moving from a cramped apartment into a house with a garden. Then an English Mastiff puppy, Darius, joined our family. Choc Lit signed up “Beneath an Irish Sky”, and I also took a break from work in the summer and had twelve glorious weeks in which to write. Doesn’t get much sweeter than that.