Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Sunday 12 February 2012

Today I am mostly Sanguine

When I entered the Mslexia prize, I honestly thought no more about it. That was way back in the spring of last year, and I had lots on my mind, not least renovating the house. Anyway, when the long list was announced, late in October, I suddenly got quite excited. I even kept the e-mail in my ‘saved’ box so that I could read it again.
I didn’t think for a moment that I’d be on the short list. I didn’t know, then, how many books were on the long list, but I did know that I’d been invited to submit my entire novel. So, I’m sure I can be forgiven for the little ripple of excitement that tickled my spine as I dropped the fat envelope, containing my manuscript, into the post box. 

Then, without actually counting the days, I did become aware of the passage of time, and I waited with keen anticipation for the short list to be announced. I didn't expect "Naming Names" to be on it, but I was thrilled that it was.
Even then, knowing that I'd made it into the final twelve, I  still didn’t think about winning the Mslexia competition, until, that is, I began talking to someone about the experience. He told me, in no uncertain terms, that of course I wanted to win. 
He was right.
And that is when the fear began to set in.
I had been terrified for about a week when the husband gave me a stiff, but kindly, talking-to.
I hope that whoever wins the Mslexia wrote a thoroughly good book. I hope that they are nice, hardworking and talented. I’m sure that they are all of those things.
But here’s the thing. This is, of course, a competition, but if all of the dozen books on the shortlist are worthy of being published, there’s a pretty good chance that all twelve will find their ways onto the shelves of our book shops and libraries.
I might not win the prize, but that’s ok, because I have faith that the practices developed over the years by writers, agents and publishers will work in my favour, and, one day, I will see my work in print, whether it’s this book, or the next, or the one after that.
Sanguine, you see, not fatalistic at all.


  1. That is, I am sure, absolutely the right way to be. Good luck! I hope the judges make the right decision, and look forward, in any event, to reading the marvellous final result in print.

  2. I've read nearly everything your brilliant husband has ever written for the Black Library. He is, by far, my favorite horse in that stable. You should know, however, that I am keenly aware of the fact that behind every great and brilliant man, there is an even greater and more brilliant woman. That being the case, I have no doubt that your work is light years beyond excellent.

    Whether you take the prize or not, you can rest assured that I will be buying your book and reading it cover to cover. Best of luck!

  3. Hello Nik! It's your American follower, Priscilla. I just wanted to say congratulations on making the short list!! It must be an incredible feeling to have achieved something so great. I hope you're handling it well. I would be a wreck from the anticipation of it all, haha. I'm confident that you will are a strong contender. And I too would love the opportunity to read your work! Make sure you let us know when it hits the shelves, si??

    Anyway, good luck to you and all the best!!

  4. I'm not expecting to come anything but 12th because I wrote a very genre novel - but 12th out of 1800 entries and 100 longlisted? That's a huge achievement right there, and will help my manuscript at least be read by agents and publishers. It's nerveracking, but I just want to be able to move on and look forward, myself. Like you, I'm sure all twelve books are much more likely to be published because they were shortlisted, and I loom forward to reading them all. Personally, I hope they don't keep us waiting!

    1. Do you plan to go to the meeting in the summer?


    2. I am planning to, but it's a bit of a trek! I think it makes good business sense to. How about you?