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
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

booksReview: Lena Dunham, Not That Kind of Girl
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
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.

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments