This morning the Romantic Novelists’ Association announced the shortlist for their forthcoming awards in March. Rather incredibly, my novel ‘The Silk Weaver’s Wife’ has been shortlisted for the Historical Romantic Novel award.
To say I was surprised would be an understatement. I was amazed to be selected from such a strong list of contenders.
The nomination was just the boost I needed – as I’m currently editing my fourth novel while coping with a broken wrist! On Christmas Eve, I was just heading into the house with a bunch of leeks I’d dug up from the garden, when the accident happened. The presents were wrapped, the house was tidy, the stuffing was in the fridge…and I was feeling just a tiny bit smug. Was it some sort of karmic justice that caused me to slip on a brick path? As I landed on my outstretched hand I realised something nasty had happened.
The radius bone snapped audibly and I lay on the ground nauseous with shock, and with a sinking feeling that I’d just ruined Christmas for everyone. Three hours and a serious amount of manipulation later I was heading back home with my lovely son who had manfully looked after me in A & E, my arm plastered to the elbow.
It was annoying, painful and extremely bad timing - especially with a house full of relatives for a week. But supported by my lovely family (and a bit of gin!) Christmas turned out to be pretty enjoyable. The second week wasn’t too bad either: the guests had gone, the house was a tip and I could concentrate on my annual post Christmas clear up. Just having one working hand made it a bit tricky, but it’s amazing what you can achieve with just one hand.
Seven weeks later, and the cast is off, and throughout it all, the thing that really kept me going was editing my latest novel. It’s quite hard typing with a cast on your arm. The broken limb aches and has a tendency to rub against the cast. But if you rest periodically, it can be done. I have managed to edit a chapter each day and am now two thirds of the way through. The novel comes out this summer and, as usual, I am in a state of nervous tension as to whether readers will enjoy it. It’s a little different to my previous three novels –with the historical story set relatively recently – ie in the middle of the 20th century. It’s been an interesting experience writing about a time period that I can ‘just’ remember. And one thing is for sure – this novel – whatever we finally decide to call it, will always be the ‘broken wrist’ novel to me…
In the meantime, I shall raise a glass to the Romantic Novelists’ Association this evening with my ‘good’ hand, and thank them for selecting The Silk Weaver’s Wife.