Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Current work: nonfic
Listening to: Kathryn Williams
Reading: Sharon Penman, The Sunne in Splendour

Yesterday was one of those days where I was busy all day but didn’t have words on the page to show for it. Mainly admin – but then lots of PR stuff. As in calls from the press to discuss the new book. (And lots of apologies from me for coughing down the phone. At least my head’s clear today. Please, please, let the cough go by Friday. Or I’m going to be apologising to a roomful of romantic novelists as well.)

Actually, I love chatting to journalists, especially freelancers. I do miss my old freelancing days, particularly interviewing experts. I used to talk to such interesting people. And although this is my dream job, it can get lonely from time to time. Ha. Says the woman who’s been desperate for five minutes’ peace and quiet to work. ‘Be careful what you wish for’, indeed. I did consider trying to get a hot date for lunch, but DH is too busy this week. Most of the conversation I get during the day consists of ‘woof’ – admittedly, I then have to interpret that as ‘oi, the postman’s just knocked, answer the door’ or ‘there’s a sparrow on my lawn’ or ‘there’s a C-A-T on the other side of the street’, but at the end of the day it’s still ‘woof’. So I am really looking forward to the RNA conference this weekend, despite the fact I’m getting butterflies about my talk.

I’d also been catching up with various bits when it also occurred to me that maybe I ought to tell the University of Leicester about the RNA Romance Prize, just in case they wanted to mention it in the annual alumni magazine.

This is the difficulty of PR for the novelist – particularly for an English one. The natural English reserve means that telling people about something you’ve done feels pushy and as if you’re boasting. But if you don’t tell people, you don’t get the publicity and it doesn’t give your career the boost said achievement is supposed to give. Maybe I need some lessons in How To Do Chutzpah. (Offers, anyone?)

Anyway, the staff in the alumni office were really delighted for me and sent me some lovely emails. They also mentioned it to their colleagues in the library and the press office, and then suddenly it went from being a fairly quiet little off-the-cuff email to a fully blown press release. Kate Hardy, Meeja Tart.

But I’m really chuffed that my old uni feels proud enough of me to do a press release about me. I loved my time at Leicester. Best decision I ever made, to go there – even though my school was cross with me for putting Leicester above Cambridge on my UCCA form. ‘It’s not done.’ Ha. I did it for a reason: I wanted to go there. The staff and the course were fantastic. My only regret is that when it came to the specialist subject in the third year, Dialect wasn’t one of the options (it had been, the previous year), and the one I chose originally didn’t run because not enough people signed up for it. (It was on the ubi sunt motif – well, yeah, you knew I’d pick something obscure, didn’t you? Something that involved, um, history?) But hey, I got to spend a year studying Thomas Hardy in depth. And yes, that is indeed why I am Kate Hardy, romance novelist.

This summer, it’s half my lifetime ago since I graduated. Scary. Doesn’t feel like five minutes. Also doesn’t feel like five minutes since the children were babies (note I didn’t say tiny – neither of them were), and my eldest has recently discovered that if he stands on tiptoe he’s an inch taller than I am. Ha. Now that’s cut me down to size :o)


Anonymous said...

You are clearly far too modest Kate.
If I won that level of prestigious award, my home town would have street banners and a brass band.

On the other hand, my old uni would probably just laugh and shake their heads.

Hope the lurgy clears. Have a good one in the sunshine. :-)

Shirley said...

Far too modest. You deserve fanfares.

Hope that lurgy soon goes.

Anonymous said...

You could do things the American way, and boast about it until people get sick and tired of hearing about it.

Or..yeah..maybe Americans can take a page from the English for a change..

Either way, you need to be less modest and more proud of your accomplishments.

Melissa Marsh said...

"The natural English reserve means that telling people about something you’ve done feels pushy and as if you’re boasting."

This is me! Ha! I KNEW I had a bit of English in me!

I'm modest, too. Nothing wrong with it. Though yes, you do need to toot your horn sometimes. :-)

Kate Hardy said...

Ray Anne - thanks. Lurgy is clearing (touching wood madly)

Shirley - thanks.

Lou - LOL! Thanks.

Melissa - there you go :o)