RONA Awards 2022 Celebration Drinks with… Bella Osborne

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I’m delighted to welcome another of this year’s RONA Awards nominees to the blog tonight. This guest has been shortlisted for her novel, The Promise of Summer, in the category of the Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy. It is author… Bella Osborne.

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Bella, thank you so much for joining me for a chat this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

Thanks for inviting me! Us authors don’t get out much so when we do we get a little overexcited! So I will go for a mojito, please.

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If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

How about Waterstones, Piccadilly? I thought I was being wound up the first time someone said to meet them in the bar at Waterstones because yeah right there’s a bar in a bookshop. But there really is! It’s the perfect combination – books and cocktails!

This sounds like a store I need to visit! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

Alan Rickman because he was just brilliant and I could listen to him talk all night – that voice ahhhh. And Sandi Toksvig because she seems so lovely, funny and very interesting so conversation wouldn’t dry up.

Such a gorgeous man, in every way. And this is Sandi’s second outing for drinks this week. So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

While I’m waiting for feedback from my agent on a Christmas book I’ve written, I’ve started the first draft of what will be my summer 2023 rom com and I’m gearing up for the publication of The Girls on 14th April. It’s always a juggling act! I would, of course, love one of them to be my break-out novel and go flying up the charts – let’s keep everything crossed just in case.

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Four old friends. Thrown back together after forty years apart. What could possibly go wrong?

In the 1970s, The Girls were best friends sharing a house and good times: Zara the famous diva actor, Val the uptight solicitor, Jackie the wild child and Pauline the quirky introvert. Now they’re in their twilight years, and Zara suggests that they live with her to support each other through old age.

Initially, being housemates again is just as much fun as in their heyday. But then Zara reveals the real reason she asked them to move in with her, and suddenly things take a sinister turn.

As the women confront their demons they come under the spotlight of the press, the police and an angry parrot. With their lives spiralling out of control can they save their friendships and each other?

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

I think my proudest moment was seeing my debut novel in Tesco’s. It really was quite surreal and even more so when a stranger took one off the shelf and put it in her basket. I had to have a stern work with myself to stop me following her round the store saying ‘that’s my book!’

My biggest challenge is always the point in the writing a novel where you go ‘What on earth was I thinking, this is worst book ever written.’ It always passes but it’s never fun and requires a large amount of biscuits to get past.

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I would love to have a cameo role in the film adaptation of one of my novels. How cool would it be, not only to have your book made into a film but, to also be immortalized in it? 

What are have planned that you are really excited about?

At the time of writing I am very excited about The Promise of Summer being shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year Award. There’s an award’s ceremony in London on 7th March and I can’t wait to catch up with my writing friends, most of whom I’ve not seen for two years!

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

Holidays are one of my most favourite things. I love Walt Disney World which is definitely my happy place but I think the Caribbean might top it as my favourite place – the laid back vibes, the perfect weather, picturesque beaches and the loveliest people. Top of my bucket list is the Maldives.

We seemingly have similar tastes. I am off to Florida this summer, first to Orlando for the theme parks, then to Key West, which is as close to the Caribbean as you can get without actually being there. They are two of my favourite places too. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.

I’m a huge Take That fan and have been from the very start.

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

The Tent, The Bucket and Me by Emma Kennedy. Many books claim to be ‘laugh out loud’ funny but I found that this one genuinely had me snorting with laughter as I read it.

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For the 70s child, summer holidays didn’t mean the joy of CentreParcs or the sophistication of a Tuscan villa. They meant being crammed into a car with Grandma and heading to the coast. With just a tent for a home and a bucket for the necessities, we would set off on new adventures each year stoically resolving to enjoy ourselves.

For Emma Kennedy, and her mum and dad, disaster always came along for the ride no matter where they went. Whether it was being swept away by a force ten gale on the Welsh coast or suffering copious amounts of food poisoning on a brave trip to the south of France, family holidays always left them battered and bruised.

But they never gave up. Emma’s memoir, The Tent, The Bucket and Me, is a painfully funny reminder of just what it was like to spend your summer holidays cold, damp but with sand between your toes.

So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

Don’t drink more than three drinks and have lots of water before bed. I rarely get hangovers but a couple of paracetamols, lots more water and golden syrup on toast usually does the trick.

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

A morning walking with my family, an afternoon curled up watching a film with my daughter and an evening of wine and chatter with my friends.

Thank you so much for coming on the blog this evening, Bella, I’ve really enjoyed myself and I wish you great luck in the awards on Monday.

Bella’s RONA short-listed novel, The Promise of Summer, is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.

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Ruby’s life is about to change for ever…

After years of dating losers, cheats and one guy who did something unrepeatable to her kettle, Ruby has all but given up on romance. But then a stranger sits next to her on a train to London and explains his plan to propose to the woman of his dreams. Maybe true love does exist after all?

When the man accidentally leaves the engagement ring behind, Ruby is determined to save the day. But she hasn’t counted on fellow passenger Curtis stepping in and insisting he should be the one to track the stranger down.   
 
As summer closes in, the unlikely pair make a promise to reunite the ring with its owner. But can they find their own happy ever after along the way?

Bella Osborne has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full length novel. Since then she’s written a number of best-selling romantic comedies and book club reads. She’s been shortlisted four times for the RNA Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She likes to find the humour in the darker moments of life and weaves these into her stories. She lives in Warwickshire, UK with her husband, daughter and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. When not writing Bella is usually eating custard creams and planning holidays.

Connect with Bella:

Website: http://www.bellaosborne.com

Facebook: Bella Osborne

Twitter: @osborne_bella

Instagram: @bellaosborneauthor

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