RONA Awards 2022 Celebration Drinks with… Karen Dickson

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Tonight I have as my guest an author shortlisted in the Romantic Saga category in this year’s Romantic Novel Awards with her book, A Songbird in Wartime. Please join me in welcoming to the blog author… Karen Dickson.

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Thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

Gin and tonic

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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?

The Grosvenor Hotel in Shaftesbury.  It’s mine and my husband’s favourite place to go for a drink or a coffee.

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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?

The first one would be children’s author, Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I loved her books as a child and have been fascinated by her life growing up as the daughter of a pioneer in America.

Secondly, I think it would have to be Colin Firth.  I loved him as Mr Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and in Bridget Jones’ Diary.  

Thank you for giving me an excuse to crack out the Mr. Darcy pic! 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?

I’m in the process of writing my fifth novel which follows on from my fourth which should, hopefully, be released later this year.

I was encouraged by the feed back I received for my second novel, The Dressmaker’s Secret, to write a novel that loosely followed some of the main characters, which is what I have done with my fourth novel. It follows the lives of a group of friends and is set in the fictional hamlet of Strawbridge.

I am now planning to write a series of novels following their lives up and into WW2.

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

Certainly being shortlisted for the Romantic Saga Award is my proudest moment.  I never imagined I would be nominated, never mind make the short list.

My biggest challenge, I think, was getting an agent in the first place.  I sent off manuscripts to numerous agents over the years with no luck.  So I will always be grateful to my agent, Judith Murdoch, for taking me on.  She has been brilliant.  I had to completely change my writing style and genre in order to get a publisher but now I really enjoy writing romantic sagas.

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 Netflix to make one of my novels into a mini-series.  I think that would be fun.

What are have planned that you are really excited about?

I’m really excited about attending the RNA awards ceremony in March.  My husband and I are traveling up to London on the train and we’ve booked ot stay in a Premier Inn close to the venue. Some of my favourite authors are on the shortlist so I’m looking froward to meeting them.

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?

I love the Greek Islands, especially Kefalonia.  I think I would say that is my favourite holiday destination.  We’ve been there four times and are hoping to go again once Covid settles down.

I think somewhere in the Caribbean would be top of my bucket list.  I enjoy watching Death in Paradise and the beaches and sea in the tv series look absolutely amazing.  I always think I would be able to write brilliantly if I had a little shack right on the beach overlooking the azure ocean.

I’m with you on Death in Paradise. I always wish I was there when I’m watching! Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.

Not many people know that I can only see out of one eye.  It was picked up when I was a child back in the 1970’s when there was nothing to be done about it.  Because my sight in my other eye has always been excellent, it has never posed a problem.

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’?

 If you haven’t already read it, I would highly recommend, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  You’ll need a box of tissues at the end, though.

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Will needed Lou as much as she needed him, but will her love be enough to save his life?

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun teashop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

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?

I always drink a pint of water before bed and take paracetamol.  It seems to help.  If I do wake up feeling rotten, I find a large mug of tea and more paracetamol does the trick.

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

Definitely spending time with my grandson.  He stopped growing at 32 weeks and was born at 36 weighing just 4lbs.  He was diagnosed with Downs Syndrome at two days’ old but, thankfully, has no underlying health issues.  He is 17 months old now and is the apple of his granny’s eye.  

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He is a cutie alright! Karen, thanks for joining me tonight, I’ve had a lovely time chatting to you.

Karen’s RONA-shortlisted novel, A Songbird in Wartime, is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.

Karen Dickson, Romantic Saga, Romantic Novel Awards 2022, A Songbird in Wartime BOOK COVER

Shaftesbury, 1936.

Mansfield House Hotel has been a refuge for Emily ever since she was orphaned at the age of 16. Not only did they give her employment as a chambermaid, but it’s also where she met her fiancé Tom.

When theatre agent Roland stays at the hotel and hears Emily singing, he is determined to take her away to Bristol and make her a star. But knowing she’d never leave her fiancé, he hatches a plan to get Emily away from Tom. 

Six years later, Emily has made a name for herself as ‘The Bristol Songbird’. Her love for Tom is still as strong as ever, but she’s not heard from him since that fateful night so long ago. And with the world enveloped in a war, it seems unlikely the two will ever meet again.

Will Emily and Tom ever find their way back to one another? Or will the war and Roland succeed in keeping them apart?

Karen Dickson was born in England but grew up in South Africa on the beautiful east coast. Her favourite subjects at school were history and English, unsurprisingly.  

She started writing stories as a child and it was always at the back of her mind that she wanted to be a writer one day.  

She’s had several jobs, shoe shop assistant, bank teller, insurance clerk and childminder.  She worked for nine years in her local branch of WHSmith and now works part time as a dog walker which affords her the flexibility to write.

She lives in a beautiful part of north Dorset and most of her novels are set in the south of England, particularly Dorset and Southampton.

She has been married to John for thirty-three years and they have two grown-up children, and one grandson.  She is also step-mum to her husband’s two sons, and step-granny to his four grandchildren.

Connect with Karen:

Facebook: Karen Dickson Author

Instagram: @karen_dickson_author

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