Friday, March 11, 2016

Alison May: A Magical Journey to the RoNAs!

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be nominated for an award? Once we float down to earth how do we plan for the big day and what happens when the day finally arrives? 
We welcome Alison May to the blog to tell us all about her exciting experience.

Being shortlisted in the RoNAs is at least seven different forms of awesome. It’s awesome to be appreciated by readers. It’s awesome to be recognised by the RNA. It’s awesome to get all the lovely congratulations messages on social media. It’s awesome to get to get yourself all gussied up and have
Alison and EngineerBoy
a big night out in London town, with canapes and fizz. (And yes, I know that that is only four forms of awesome, but there are definitely at least three others; I just can’t remember them right this very second – please feel free to suggest your own in the comments.)

Anyway, the RoNA shortlists were announced in February and, for this first-time shortlistee, the month between that announcement and the awards ceremony was a lovely blur of congratulations, excitement and planning for the Big Night Out. I made the unprecedented decision to bring my beloved EngineerBoy ( with me for his first ever RNA event. I made him buy a new tie and everything. I wanted to bring him along for two reasons. Firstly, I do tend to get a tad tipsy at RNA parties and have been known to miss the last train home when I’m left to my own devices so I thought he could be my responsible adult for the evening, and secondly, because without his support I don’t know how I’d have made it to this point in my writing career and it seemed like a nice opportunity to show a unsung writer’s supporter some appreciation.

On the night shortlistees are asked to arrive early to be photographed in their category groups. The RoNA Rose writers were an impressively punctual bunch so we were up first. The photographer was fabulous, and pleasingly sympathetic to my claim that I couldn’t possibly sit down because of the danger of fat rolls over my waistband.

And then it was on to the champagne drinking and the mingling which form the pre-cursor to the main event. EngineerBoy had a lovely time, fitting in so well that a number of people asked if he was a romantic novelist himself.

Soon it was time for the awards themselves, in the fantastic surroundings of the William Gladstone library. The fizz continued to flow freely which, given that canapes, although delicious, are also canape-sized, leads to a high risk of giddiness relatively early in proceedings. Every winner on the night looked more astounded and delighted than the last. My category was won by Annie O’Neill – huge congratulations to her, and to all the other winners, particularly Iona Grey who took home the overall Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

For me the highlight of the evening was the presentation of the two Outstanding Achievement Awards to Claire Lorrimer and Anita Burgh. Both women are absolute inspirations, and both brought gales of laughter to the hall with their acceptance speeches. Claire’s goat/false teeth story will stay with me for a long time to come.

And that was that. There was nothing more to be done other than letting EngineerBoy sweep the room for uneaten canapes (yes, that was him, grabbing leftovers off the trays of departing waiters, which was most uncouth – I definitely wasn’t doing a similar trick with half-full champagne bottles) before we finally wound our way home, a jolly good night having been had by all.

About Alison

Alison is a novelist, short story writer, blogger and creative writing tutor who grew up in North Yorkshire, and now lives in Worcester. She worked as a waitress, a shop assistant, a learning adviser, an advice centre manager, a freelance trainer, and now a maker-upper of stories.
She won the RNA’s Elizabeth Goudge trophy in 2012, and her short stories have been published by Harlequin, Choc Lit and Black Pear Press. Her romantic comedies, Sweet Nothing, Midsummer Dreams, and the Christmas Kisses series are published by Choc Lit. The second novella in the Christmas Kisses series, Cora’s Christmas Kiss ( was shortlisted for the 2016 RoNA Rose.

You can find out more about Alison at, on facebook, or by following her on Twitter @MsAlisonMay

About Cora’s Christmas Kiss
Can you expect a perfect Christmas after the year from hell? 
Cora and Liam have both experienced horrible years that have led them to the same unlikely place –  
spending December working in the Grotto at Golding’s department store.
Under the cover of a Father Christmas fat suit and an extremely unflattering reindeer costume, they find comfort in sharing their tales of woe during their bleak staffroom lunch breaks. 

But is their new-found friendship just for Christmas? Or have they created something deeper, something that could carry them through to a hopeful new year? 

Thank you for sharing your story with our readers, Alison.

The RNA blog is brought to you by,

Elaine Everest & Natalie Kleinman

If you would like to write for the blog please contact us on


Rhoda Baxter said...

It's nice to see a pic of Engineer boy. So, perhaps 'it's awesome to be able to take your partner along to meet your writer friends'.

Sounds like was a fab party.

Sheryl Browne said...

Could it be that you were nominated because you are an awesome writer, Alison? Well done, lovely fabulous achievement. :)x

angela britnell said...

Loved sharing the special evening with you both and we certainly did our best with the champagne!