Today is my final post in my celebration of the 2022 Romantic Novel Awards and I am delighted to be joined by joint winner of the Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy, author… Bella Osborne.
Bella, congratulations on your award for The Promise of Summer and thank you very much for agreeing to appear on my blog again!
What does winning this award mean for you and what do you think it was about this book that spoke to the judges?
I was over the moon to win! It is particularly special because it was chosen by readers.
It’s very hard to guess what they particularly liked about it as we don’t get any specific feedback. I would hope it was the feisty heroine and unconventional hero who appealed to them.
What is it that draws you to writing romantic comedy rather than any other genre?
It’s naturally how my writing comes out. Like everyone I’ve had ups and downs in my life but even at the darkest moments I’ve still managed to find some humour and I think that’s what gets you through. I have also written two uplifting book club reads where there was no romance but there was still a sprinkling of humour.
How important is membership of the RNA to you, what does it give you and what is your favourite thing about it?
The RNA is my tribe. I love that it is an incredibly supportive group and everyone gets a kick out of each other achieving things – they are a very special bunch of people. They also have a fabulous conference and the best parties!
How did you get in to writing and how long did it take you to get published? What advice do you have for aspiring writers just starting out on this path?
I’ve always written but it was a life coach that suggested that I try to see if I could complete a whole novel. I was lucky enough to meet my first editor at an RNA conference and from there I signed a two book deal. So the answer to how long did it take to get published depends on your starting point – either 45 years or eighteen months!
My advice to aspiring authors is to find other writers either locally or through bigger organisations like the RNA – their support is so valuable.
Where did the inspiration for this story come from and how do you go about developing a book from that first spark to the finished novel?
I wish I knew! These characters just appeared when I was finishing off another story.
I am a big planner so that’s my first stage. I spend time just thinking about my characters and getting to know them. I make character bios, work out their backstory and what their goals and issues are. Almost simultaneously the plot will be developing. Once I know the story has legs I will get out the brown paper and post it notes and start making a plan. Once I’m happy I’ve nailed all the key points that’s when I start a first draft. I do a few rounds of self edits before it goes to my agent. I do her suggested changes before I submit it to my editor. We then go through structural, line and copy edits. The final stage is a proof read after that the next time I see it it’s an actual book.
What do you think awards like this do for the image of books in your genre, and the image of romance novels as whole, which sometimes are unfairly dismissed? What are readers who would not normally pick up a romance novel missing out on?
Anything that can shed a spotlight on romantic fiction is a positive thing. It baffles me that a high percentage of popular music has themes of love, romance and relationships and that is embraced by everyone but when the same thing is written down the attitude towards it changes.
If you’re not reading romance you are missing out on well written, thought provoking reads with engaging characters, that tackle some difficult subjects and dilemmas before giving you an uplifting ending.
What is coming next from you and when can we expect to see it?
My next romantic comedy is A Wedding At Sandy Cove which is out on 21st July.
Escape to Sandy Cove, where the scent of summer and the sound of wedding bells are in the air!
Ella makes brides’ dreams come true – there’s no dress she can’t make perfect with her sewing skills and some sparkle. But Ella’s own love life is no fairy tale. Recently dumped, surrounded by fussy brides and with the prospect of wearing a hideous brown bridesmaids dress to her friend’s wedding, Ella feels more alone than ever so agrees to go on a blind date.
A mix up on the night introduces her to Kit.
Kit is definitely not the man she was supposed to meet, but he could end up changing her life in ways she never thought possible…
Bella, thanks for chatting to me today, it has been fascinating. Good luck with your new book.
Bella’s RONA short-listed novel, The Promise of Summer, is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.
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:
Facebook: Bella Osborne