Today, instead of rambling on about myself, or what I think, or how I work, I'm going to use this space to spread the word about one of our own, the lovely Christina Courtenay, who's just achieved something rather wonderful and special, and who's far too shy and modest to say anything about it here. So I will say it for her:
Her first novel — and let me repeat that: her FIRST EVER novel, the beautifully-written Trade Winds — has just made the shortlist for the Romantic Novelists' Association's 2011 Historical Novel Prize!
That's Christina, standing second from the left, above, with fellow nominees Elizabeth Chadwick, Joanna Fulford, Kate Furnivall, Rebecca Dean and Jane Jackson.
The shortlist of six, which like all the RNA's Pure Passion Awards is selected by actual readers, now passes to a final panel of three judges: Richard Lee, founder of the Historical Novel Association, Elizabeth Hawksley, author and creative writing teacher, and Diane Pearson, president of the RNA since 1987. And the winner will be announced, along with the winners of the other awards (for the Romantic Comedy Prize, the Love Story of the Year, and the Romantic Novel of the Year) at a champagne reception at One Whitehall Place, Westminster, on Monday, March 7th.
Christina is one of those quietly generous people who's always the first to help somebody else, so it's lovely to see all that good karma flowing back at her. She was, in fact, one of the very first friends that I made in the RNA, and it was because of her that I met Julie Cohen, so without her we might never have begun this blog at all.
When I suggested she post something here about her nomination, true to form she shied away from the idea, not wanting to brag...but since an occasion like this seems to warrant a wee bit of bragging, I'm happy to do the deed for her!
We're all so very proud of you, Christina, and we have our fingers firmly crossed for Trade Winds.
(You can read the full list of award shortlists here, and be sure to come back again Thursday to read Julie Cohen's next post).