I'd really like to say thank you. To...
1. The RNA ladies who worked so hard to plan, organise, publicise and host a mammoth and memorable event. Total respect and huge thanks (from someone who's struggling to arrange a birthday treat involving 4 girls for daughter #1 this weekend...)
2. Fellow shortlisted authors Fiona Harper, Kate Hardy, Jessica Hart and Beth Elliot-- brilliant authors of some really stonking, emotional, lump-in-the-throat books who, even though we were all nervous, made Tuesday such fun. (The other shortlister, Lucy Broadbent, apparently lives in California so although it was a really fabulous occasion, I absolutely do not blame her for staying away from the sleet and snow that made getting there such a nightmare. But it would have been cooool to meet her because her book is great!)
3. Everyone who left congratulations comments here and emailed privately. I knew that the award winner got the lovely silver rose bowl, but I never expected to get the astonishing flood of generosity and downright loveliness too. Yes, I’m talking to you Michelle, Meljean, The Lizs Fielding and Fenwick, Margaret, Anne, Trenda, Karen, Katie, Kate H and Kate W, Rachel, Ray-Anne, Julie B and Julie C, Donna, Barbara, Fiona, Debs, Marilyn, Helen P and Helen R, Sarah, Sue Rix, Phillippa, Jane, Nina, Annie, Ania and all the forum gang. If I could, I’d give you all a hug whether you wanted one or not and I’d let you share my Krispy Kreme doughnuts. (Of course they had to figure in the celebrations...)
4. Lucy, my M&B editor, who is as clever and incisive as she is gorgeous and funny.
5. Julia Gregson, author of East of the Sun and winner of The Romantic Novel of the Year. Warm, friendly, down-to-earth and with the most beautiful taste in clothes, during the flurry of photos after the awards she made it feel like we were co-conspirators on an exciting adventure. I'm an instant fan.
6. James D’Arcy, obviously, for being so damned inspiring.
7. Abby Green, for being so damned great.
8. All the Presents authors, because writing for this line is like having lots and lots of lovely sisters looking out for you and giving you support. And that's in the bad times as well as the good ones.
9. My stylist, my astrologer, my personal trainer, my publicist, my feng shui consultant...
(Oh dear, I think perhaps I'd better better stop there, put on another lumpy old jumper and scuttle back up to my ice-cold office in the attic before the delusions take over...But really-- thanks to everyone.)
(I'll shut up now.)