I was totally flabbergasted when I got a call from Amazon to tell me that I had been shortlisted for the 2020 Kindle Storyteller Award. When I plucked up the courage to ask how many had been shortlisted, expecting them to say hundreds, I was speechless when they said five.

Sunshine and Second Chances

Sunshine and Second Chances

FIVE! Yes, my heart-warming, feel-good, summer romance, Sunshine and Second Chances had been chosen from thousands of entries and is one of five books that has a chance to win £20,000, a marketing campaign and mentorship from Amazon. And the fact that Claudia Winkleman will read my book, is just mind-blowing!

What an honour and a privilege. I truly wish all the nominees good luck. To even be nominated is amazing and I’m truly grateful to everyone who has read and reviewed my book. Roll on 19th October where we’ll find out who wins!

I wrote the first draft of Sunshine and Second Chances in the latter part of 2019, and I finally got it ready for publication during early lockdown. At a time where we, along with so many others, were cancelling holidays left right and centre, I wanted to create a story that would let my readers feel the sun on their bodies and be transported to the rugged landscape, the charming fishing villages, and beautiful azure blue sea of The Algarve, one of my favourite holiday destinations. Life-long friends Liv, Debs, Samantha and Fiona, had all reached a crossroads in their lives. Inspiring and motivating each other, on a holiday to celebrate their 50th birthday year, they made some pretty life-changing decisions before the flight home took off!

Lockdown was pretty good for me and my 12 year old son and our dog. I gained time in some respects but lost it in others. We didn’t do the daily school run dash, but we did do home schooling. My son and I discovered that I’m really not teacher material. Football training and matches were cancelled, and I didn’t have to travel for work, but I did have to walk my own dog – shocking I know – as my dog walker couldn’t work so I had to factor at least an hour walk into my day. My cleaner couldn’t work, so I had to do my own cleaning too, although the no visitor rule was pretty cool because I could get away with a layer of dust that you could write your name in and no-one could come in to notice.

Daily catch-ups with my neighbour on our respective front lawns, over a cuppa or glass of fizz kept me sane, along with dog walks with another friend, once we were allowed to walk with people. Community spirit, was amazing. One day I posted on Facebook that I was worried I might run out of loo roll, and there was a knock at my door and one of my very kind neighbours had dropped a pack of 18 on my doorstep!

Thursday night claps, turned into Thursday night drinkypoos in the street (there’s a pattern here isn’t there?) and we had a VE Day socially distanced street party which was one of the best memories I shall ever have, not just of lockdown but of my fifteen years of living in our street.

So on the whole, lockdown was awesome. Life slowed down and it taught me how lucky I am to to given the gift of friendship, family and time which is something we can never get back.