Monday was the Big Day – the annual RNA Awards now called the RoNAs (Romantic Novel Awards) – and as you may have heard already once or twice (or maybe more?), Choc Lit had a triumphant afternoon!
Jane Lovering won the Romantic Comedy category with Please Don’t Stop the Music, Christina Courtenay won the Historical Romantic novel category with Highland Storms and Kate Johnson only just missed out in the Contemporary novel category with her wonderful The Untied Kingdom. As she lost to Katie Fforde, the RNA’s lovely President, we didn’t mind too much, and two out of three is a pretty good ratio any day! And as Peter James, the chairman of the Crimewriters’ Association said before he handed out the prizes, all the shortlistees were winners – we totally agree with that.
Rather than boring you with endless trumpet-blowing though, we thought we’d give you Jane’s, Christina’s and Kate’s take on some other aspects of the awards ceremony. Here is what they had to say and please let us know if you agree with them:-
There were some fabulous outfits on display, which was your favourite?
Jane – Well I was lusting ever so slightly over Katie Fforde’s full-length coat/dress thing. I’d have looked like a bag of elderly onions in it, but she looked gorgeous.
Kate – There were so many lovely outfits, it’s hard to choose! Christina’s own lovely mauve jacket and boots – ooh, those gorgeous boots! – probably take the prize for me. Marina Fiorato gets Best Hair, Katie Fforde wins Best Cape, and of course our host, Jane Wenham Jones, for her platinum frock, gets Best Dress.
Christina – I was very taken with Jean Fullerton’s emerald green suit as I love bright colours, but I also coveted Liz Fenwick’s fabulous purple jacket.
And then there are the shoes – not counting your own, which ones did you wish you’d been wearing?
Jane – Um. Is it wrong of me to say that I wasn’t looking at people’s feet? Although, Christina, I did notice your rather lovely lilac boots…
Kate – I’m not sucking up here, but when I invited my mum her first thought was which shoes to wear. I covet her gold sandals terribly; it’s probably just as well we don’t take the same size!
Christina – My feet wished they’d been wearing Jane’s boots, but Bex Leith’s black shoes were wonderful so I’d probably have thrown caution to the wind and picked those.
The ‘bubbly’ was flowing, do you prefer it pink or normal?
Jane – As long as it keeps flowing I am really not bothered. Give it fizz and keep it coming!
Kate – Well, if there’s bubbly going I’m not picky about the colour. Although I will say that the first time I tasted Bollinger was the first time I “got” champagne!
Christina – Neither – hate the stuff! Unless you put peach juice or Kir in to make it ultra sweet.
Which was your favourite canape?
Jane – I didn’t eat any. I was too terrified and then too shocked. And ever so slightly too busy drinking…
Kate – I’m not large on the canapés, being that it’s often hard to tell whats in them (I don’t eat meat or shellfish). But the salmon ones were nice. And matched the champagne.
Christina – Salmon, definitely, although I was in such a state of shock I can’t actually tell you what the others were!
Most amusing comment of the afternoon (either in a speech or normal conversation)?
Jane – Hazel Osmond and I had a discussion about weeing in handbags in extremis. It amused us and probably disgusted onlookers, particularly when I did the actions. Not the real actions, I hasten to add. Although it was a long way to the toilets and I feel that no-one would have blamed me. Except Hazel, obviously.
Kate – Should I drop Jane in it for her split crotch/handbag comments? [Looks like she'd done it herself, Kate!] No, okay. I heard someone say that the Ladies bathroom was bigger than the Blue Banana. (It was. It really was.)
Christina – The whole of Peter James’s speech was great, but I can’t recall the specifics – fortunately Emma Lee Potter has mentioned it on her blog.
Finally, we heard Kate’s hero Harker mentioned quite a few times during the event (in fact, if there had been a ‘best hero’ award, we reckon he would have won it hands down!) – who was your favourite hero out of the ones in the shortlisted books? (If you can’t choose, we’ll allow you two)
Jane –Nope, sorry, I refuse to acknowledge that any hero exists except for Harker. Apart from maybe Gus, from Katie Fforde’s Summer of Love. He’s cute too. And my Ben… in fact, all of them are pretty phwoooaaar-worthy, now I come to think of it.
Kate - Aw, yes, Harker is grumpy he didn’t win anything. He’s not used to losing: where he comes from you win, or you die. I do recall Jan Jones’ Hugo from The Kydd Inheritance being rather heroic when it came to highwaymen, and of course, the lovely Brice Kinross in all his intelligent, brave, kind and handsome glory. Now … which book was he from, Christina?
Christina – Apart from Harker? Well, Ben in Please Don’t Stop the Music is definitely my kind of guy – former rock star, slightly moody, handsome in a grungy kind of way. And I loved Riccardo in Marina Fiorato’s Daughter of Siena – wow, gorgeous Italian with an amazing sense of honour, and also very kind and considerate!
So there you have it, our brief take on the RoNAs. Now comes a nail-biting wait to see who of the five category winners will take home the overall “Romantic Novel of the Year” title – if you’d like to help vote for any of them, please go to the Awards Website.