My Week: Hugh C Rae, Romantic Novelist, who writes as Jessica Stirling

Sunday

I'm desperate to finish editing part one of my new novel, the third part of The Strawberry Season trilogy. In the afternoon I play tennis at my local club in Killearn but have to quit owing to bad knees. I'm 63 but my knees feel a lot older. I come home and worry about my nomination for the Parker Romantic Novel of the Year award. I get a couple of phone calls from reporters and go to bed early, at 1.30am.

Monday

Decide, with nothing on the calendar, to make a flying start on part two of the book. Just about rolling when the phone rings. It's BBC TV Scotland - they want to come and photograph a writer in his lair. Nobody ever comes to this scruffy bile hazard. I'm a heavy smoker; no other human has been in my study for 20 years. But they duly arrive and insist on coming in. It obviously appals them; the reporter conducts the interview from behind his hand to avoid the smell. The item is for the end of the Scottish News. I phone all surviving relatives so they don't miss my moment of glory.

I continue to worry about the awards. I don't sleep well, but blame my knees not my nervous system.

Tuesday

Catch the train from Glasgow to London. I am staying at a hotel in Euston. Go to see An Ideal Husband with a friend; it is quite relaxing. Talking to another writer helps me calm down. We go for an Italian in Leicester Square. I return to my hotel and call my dearly beloved wife, Liz. After a chat I worry about not getting enough sleep. I read Peter Ackroyd's biography of Thomas More. He's lucky not to have been nominated for the award. Martyrdom looks easy by comparison.

Wednesday

Get up, have breakfast and put on the dreaded blue suit worn only for other people's funerals. I'm doing an interview for Radio 5 Live; John Humphrys is the presenter. I've done quite a lot of radio in Scotland and feel confident. Although in Scotland the BBC stick you in a closet, here the mere cleanliness of the studio makes me feel important.

I'm taken to meet the seven other short-listed writers for a photo shoot. I am the only man - the token doddery male grump. Someone produces a red rose and wants me to put it between my teeth, the height of banality and a line I decide not to cross.

More photos in front of Eros in Piccadilly Circus. I manage to smoke about six fags undetected. Passers-by regard us with mild curiosity: obviously too old for models, maybe a terrorist group?

At the lunch, Derek Parker announces the winner, a young girl called Claire. It's only her third novel. I feel a sense of relief. My only disappointment is not winning the five grand. I've never been interested in fame and glory.

I have a couple of glasses of red wine and chew the fat with some friends. I call my wife to check she has recorded ER. She is mildly disappointed by the results. She enjoyed my crime novels more and is quite sorry that I gave them up. Unfortunately, romantic novels make more money and Jessica has remained steady for years.

Thursday

Buy two bags of Thorntons chocolates, a romantic gesture of a practical nature, and the papers. None carries any news of the awards. Thank God I'm back to work tomorrow. I read the papers, drink coffee and smoke several packets of cigarettes on the train. At home I check no one has stolen the squirrels from the garden. Unfortunately not. I watch ER and unplug the phone.

Friday

Look at part two of my novel. I am feeling rather optimistic as I pick up the 1899 copy of The Forester for my research. It's been a hectic, worrying week. I have enjoyed myself, though I would probably have had more fun if I hadn't been nominated.

Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine