Thursday, 8 November 2007

It's all about the romaaaaaance

I’ve been a judge for a famous book award recently. Yes, me!

What’s that? Which one? Oh, right. Have you heard of the Booker Prize?
Well….not that one. It’s the Romantic Novel of the Year Award, run by the Romantic Novelists Association. Don’t be too impressed with my judgery (great word) – anyone can apply to do it, they didn’t seek me out and beg me to take part (not this year anyway).

So, getting on with the story (finally), I applied and got five books to score. I had six weeks to read them, and had to mark each book on all sorts of elements, such as Romance, Plot, Characters, Dialogue etc. Really interesting experience, all in all. It was v exciting getting my five books – I opened up the parcel to find two saga-y type books, two contemporary novels and one… Hmmm. I guess it’s contemporary too but there was something very oddball about the cover that set it on its own.

As I am incredibly professional about this sort of thing (ahem) I’d better not say much else about what I thought of the books themselves apart from this: I quite enjoyed the books I’d never in a million years have bought/borrowed myself. And to my huge surprise, the book I kept putting off reading because I really didn’t fancy the look of it (the oddball book) was the one I enjoyed the most. It just goes to show, you really can’t judge a book by its cover. Which is a shame, as that’s what I asked you to do in my last post. NEVER MIND.

Still, it was quite a useful exercise seeing how the award scoring works, and imagining my own books coming under such scrutiny. Any Way You Want Me would have failed at the first hurdle as it was not exactly romantic – more lust-driven I’d say – but Over You (second novel) is a bit more of your traditional feel-good story, with a splendidly cheese-tastic romantic ending which I am hoping will provoke much teary sniffling and sighing from my more tender readers. (Gawd, rein me in will you, someone, I’m starting to sound like Babs Cartland.)

So there you go…my dalliance with the Romantic Novelists. Now I’m back to reading all my usual gritty cutting-edge fiction which at the moment is…Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford. Oh.


Vicky said...

aah - i'm a completely hopeless romantic! its almost a good thing its only coming out in august - got 2 other books lying on my bedside table and am getting nothing else done! plus i still wanna look for your first book!

Lucy Diamond said...

Hi Vicky,
Yes, a bit of romance is always a Good Thing. PS I've heard Any Way You Want Me is an excellent fit in a Crimbo stocking, quick put it on your list for Santa!

Anonymous said...

Hi New Girl Anonymous here
It sounds fun being a judge, i read so much, and like a change of plot sometimes a feel good fiction and other times fact. a good bit of romance is always nice to read.
I'm always telling friends to try the last book i finished, but get so carried away telling them the plot they know most of the story before they have even read the first page!!!!oops

Lane said...

ooh I'm impressed with you judgerley ways:-) Big resposibility (not to mention power:-(

Covers are so important aren't they. I loved all the Penguin Orange covers they had in Waterstones this year. It was weird to see a Marian Keyes dressed like that but I wonder how many copies Anybody Out There would have sold if it had this cover when first released?

liz fenwick said...

Lucky you - can't be a judge as I'm a member. Is you publisher going to enter your new book? Are you goin g to lunch in Feb? I'm trying to justify going this year as I don't live in Fulham any more:-) Any desperate reasons would be useful!

Lucy Diamond said...

Hi Anonymous - yes, judging is great - free books and a nice feeling of POWER (insert evil cackle here). Mind you, I must say I'm glad I've finished and can read whatever I want to now...

Hi Lane - yes, my thoughts exactly. I don't think I have enough power and responsibility in my day-to-day life - especially over children. Nice to feel important and useful once in a while, even if it is only once a year!

Hi Liz, I don't know if my book has been entered - it's still a sheaf of papers at the moment, awaiting copy-edit so I'm not sure a judge would take too kindly to that. Maybe next year!
I keep hearing great things about the RNA, keep meaning to join. So you never know, I might see you at their do in Feb!