The 2022 Romantic Novel Award Winners’ Interviews with…. Kathryn Freeman


Today I am delighted to be joined on the blog by one of the joint winners of the Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy. Talking about her award-winning novel, Mr Right Across The Street, it’s… Kathryn Freeman.

Kathryn Freeman, Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy, Romantic Novel Awards 2022

Kathryn, congratulations on being one of the joint winners of the Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy in the Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards 2022 and thank you very much for agreeing to appear on my blog.

It’s absolutely my pleasure, Julie. Thank you so much for inviting me. I had such fun answering your questions ☺

How surprised were you to hear your name announced as one of the winners on the night of the awards and have you come down off the ceiling yet?

I was utterly gob smacked to hear my name! I’d been sure I wasn’t going to win – I’d seen the other short-listed names – so I didn’t bother writing a speech. Something I instantly regretted as I made my way to the stage and saw the big microphone… 

The award sits proudly on the shelf behind my desk and makes me smile every time I look at it, which I do a rather embarrassing number of times a day. So yep, I’m still on the ceiling!

Can you tell me a bit about your writing career so far and what has brought you to the point of being a RONA award-winning author?

Mine is definitely not an overnight success story! I started writing my first book in 2009. Undeterred by rejections from every agency and publisher in the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, I wrote a second book and this time sent it off to the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme (something I would recommend for all budding romance novelists). Acting on their feedback I then wrote a second. And a third. It was this third book that gained me my first publishing contract in 2013. After that, I gave up my job to become self-employed so I could juggle work with my dream of writing books. Nine years and eighteen books later I’m now with One More Chapter and have this fabulous award sitting on my shelf ☺ 

What inspired the story in Mr Right Across The Street and why do you think it particularly appealed to the judges?

The story was inspired a little by lockdown. My editor would stare out of her window as she worked from home and started to wonder who was living in the flat opposite her. What if he was attractive? What if he started sending messages to her via a note in his window? I think this unusual way of communicating appealed to the judges and certainly it was something I had huge fun writing. I loved the idea of my hero, Luke, using images as clues to where he was taking Mia when he asked her out on dates. A bit like a romantic Pictionary!  

What is your favourite thing about being a writer and what do you find the hardest part of a career in writing? What advice would you give to any aspiring authors reading this piece?

My favourite part of being a writer of romance is that I get to fall in love all over again as I immerse myself in my characters. The hardest part was the initial four years – all those rejections. All that self-doubt. All those words written, wondering whether anyone else would read them. Some of that self-doubt remains and the hardest part now is waiting for the reviews to come in each time a book is published. 

My advice to aspiring authors is to write, write, write. Get that first book written and send it out for feedback. Then write the second. If you want to be a writer badly enough, it will happen – it’s just a question of never giving up. 

Authors often describe their characters taking on lives of their own and changing the direction of the novel as it is written, how much control did you have over the characters in this book, or did they insist on going their own way once you released them from your imagination on to the page?

Great question! I start out with a biography for my characters and an idea of the key turning points of the story which doesn’t change. However the detail within that, how the characters get to these turning points, comes as I write and become more familiar with them. In Mr Right Across the Street, Luke was always going to send messages to Mia via his window, but the more I got to know him, the more he took control of what those messages said and how he was going to use them to woo Mia. And though in my outline he always owned a bar, I didn’t realise how much fun he was going to have with cocktails!

Are you a plotter or a pantster when it comes to your writing? Do you have a particular approach to getting the words on the page, a favourite time and place to write, or do you have to squeeze it in where you can?

I think I’m part way between the plotter and pantster – an outliner! I write a four to five page outline upfront, and a detailed biography of the main characters. Then I dive in. I think it’s important not to get too bogged down with finessing in this first draft; I prefer to get the words down and worry about sharpening them up on the next read through. I write in my study and it’s my job, so I do it every day. It’s just that unlike a lot of jobs, I happen to LOVE mine ☺

Much as we all like to celebrate past successes, our focus soon has to turn forwards and on to the next project. What do you have in the pipeline and what influence do you see winning this award having on your writing and future career?

My next book is called The Italian Job and is out in May. It features Anna and Jake, ex neighbours who rub each other up the wrong way but find themselves pretending to be a couple so they can apply for the dream job of managing a castle on Lake Como, accommodation included. Little do they realise when they jet off to Italy, how difficult that pretense will prove to be.  


As for if the award, it’s certainly helped with some of that self-doubt I mentioned and has made me even more glad I pursued my own dream job ☺

Kathryn, thank you for chatting with me, I’ve really enjoyed listening to you talking about your writing and wish you luck with the new book.

Kathryn’s winning novel Mr Right Across The Street is available now in all formats and you can buy your copy here.

Kathryn Freeman, Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy, Romantic Novel Awards 2022, Mr Right Across the Street BOOK COVER

Mia Abbott’s move to Manchester was supposed to give her time and space from all the disastrous romantic choices she’s made in her past. But then the hot guy who lives opposite – the one who works out every day at exactly 10 a.m., not that Mia has noticed thank-you-very-much – starts leaving notes in his window…for her.

Bar owner Luke Doyle has his own issues to deal with but as he shows Mia the sights of her new city he also shows her what real romance looks like for the first time. And when he cooks up a signature cocktail in her honour, she realises that the man behind the bar is even more enticing than any of his creations. And once she’s had a taste she knows it will never be enough!

For as long as she can remember, Kathryn Freeman has always wanted to write a book. It may have had something to do with her obsession with reading romance. Real life interfered and she headed off in a different direction, becoming a pharmacist before joining the pharmaceutical industry. She did end up writing, but it was about disease and medicines. Decades later, she’s finally doing what she always wanted to do. With a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), all the romance in her life is in her head. Then again, his unstinting support of her career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

Connect with Kathryn:


Facebook: Kathryn Freeman

Twitter: @KathrynFreeman1

Instagram: @kathryn.freeman_author


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