In honour of the RNA’s 60th Anniversary we’re interviewing some of the many volunteers who work hard behind the scenes to keep the organisation, website and blog running smoothly. Today Bella Osborne, the project manager for the RNA 60th Anniversary celebrations is in the Hot Seat. Can you tell us a little about your role, Bella?
Hi! Well, it is a temporary committee role and until recently was keeping me very busy. However, thanks to Covid-19 that has all changed. We had a full and varied programme of events planned throughout the year to raise the profile of romantic fiction and the RNA as well as some fun things too, but unfortunately they have had to be cancelled.
It’s such a shame, but thankfully there are plans to hold an online conference, which will be exciting. 🙂 I understand that you have a new release out, Meet me at Pebble Beach. What was the inspiration behind your book? Can you tell us a little about it?
I have worked in offices for years and a couple of years ago I had a great relationship with a guy where we had a lot of fun and also used to prank each other on a regular basis. I took that scenario and asked – what if one day a prank went too far?
Regan is holding a winning lottery ticket.
Goodbye to the boyfriend who never had her back, and so long to the job she can’t stand!
Except it’s all a bit too good to be true…
How did you decide on the names for your characters and the setting for your book?
I’ve liked the name Regan for a while and it just seemed to fit this character perfectly. It was used by Shakespeare for one of King Lear’s daughters. The book is set in Brighton which is somewhere I am very fond of. For me, Brighton is everything a British seaside town should be. It seems to have more than its fair share of sunshine, it has a pier and lots of gorgeous little independent shops you can get lost in. I love the Regency buildings and there’s something fascinating about what remains of the West Pier.
What kind of research did you do before beginning the book?
I took a trip to Brighton with my family to refresh my memory of the town and we were lucky to have fabulous weather even in October. I have also done some research with a homeless centre and a mindfulness class as well as becoming a rescue hedgehog rehabilitator. I am very lucky to have some fabulous contacts who also help me out with a multitude of strange questions.
What was your journey to publication?
I joined the RNA New Writer’s Scheme and at my first conference had a 121 with Charlotte Ledger from HarperCollins. She loved my first chapter and wanted to read the rest. I secured an agent and my book went out on submission but when Charlotte offered me a two book contract I knew I wanted to work with her.
Which fictional character(s) would you like to invite to dinner? What would you like to talk about?
I’m a big Harry Potter fan so I would go to Hogwarts and have dinner in the great hall with all the staff and pupils. I would love to know more about Professor McGonagall and her background. I would also like to have a conversation with Arthur Weasley about our muggle world – he’d love space hoppers and potato peelers.
Who were your favourite childhood authors?
The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith was my favourite book as a child and I also loved I Capture The Castle which I read in my teens. I was also a big fan of Enid Blyton and had all of the Secret Seven series. As a teen I was into Agatha Christie in a big way. They are still a comfort read and so brilliantly plotted and all without post-it notes!
Bella 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 five best selling romantic comedies and she’s been shortlisted three 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 lives in The Midlands, 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.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/osborne_bella
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/bellaosborneauthor/
Thanks for dropping by to talk to us, Bella.