I’m thrilled to announce that Time’s Echo is a finalist in the prestigious RITA® contest run by Romance Writers of America®. The RITAs are the romance writing world’s equivalent to the Oscars (or so I’ve always considered them), so it is a huge honour to be short-listed. Time’s Echo is in a category called Novel with Strong Romantic Elements and will be up against some stiff competition at the awards ceremony in Atlanta on 20th July. The complete list of finalists can be found on the RWA website.
All this excitement only happened yesterday, but as is the way with social media, it already feels like old news. (However, not so old that I wasn’t going to leap at the chance to put some news on this blog!) I was in London, wearing my project editor hat, and I didn’t have a chance to check my email or think to look at my phone. It was only when I had half an hour before my train that I switched on my laptop, and the first thing I saw was a tweet sliding across the screen: it mentioned my name and I glimpsed something tantalising about congratulations before it disappeared.
After that, of course, I couldn’t wait to get into my email, and sure enough, everybody seemed to know before I did … including the news my book We’ll Always Have Paris, written as Jessica Hart, is a finalist in the Short Contemporary Series Romance category – which means I now have two good reasons to go to Atlanta in July and to hell with the credit card bills.
Competitions and awards are always subjective. There isn’t really any way to judge whether one book is ‘better’ than another and one person will loathe a book someone else will go to their death defending. So winning a RITA is a long shot. But there is no denying that a shortlisting does wonders for an author’s ego that gets battered around in the writing process. It goes along with good reviews or – best of all – when a reader takes the trouble to write when they’ve enjoyed a book. It can be hard to keep believing in yourself when you’re lashed to a keyboard and struggling to get the words down, and moments of validation like these are all the sweeter because they’re so rare. The memory of the last couple of days is going to keep me going next time I’m facing a looming deadline, or frantically trying to dig out a plot that has run into the sand!