Seven of the 17 titles shortlisted [see below] for the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Joan Hessayon Award for new writers are from e-only or e-first imprints or publishers.
Digital publisher Carina UK has two books shortlisted – The Ghost House by Helen Phifer and Desperately Seeking Heaven by Jill Steeples.
Meanwhile Ireland based Tirgearr published Jennifer Young’s Thank You For the Music in e-book, as did UK-based Endeavour Press with Yes Chef, No Chef by Susan Willis, and MuseItUp with Helena Fairfax’s The Silk Romance. Myrmidon's e-first imprint Pulse has one book shortlisted: Gracie’s War by Elaine Everest.
To be eligible, books have to have been submitted for the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme and then have been published. RNA chairman Pia Fenton said, "As always, the list of contenders shows the incredible diversity of RNA authors and I am absolutely delighted that there is such a bumper crop of graduates from our New Writers' Scheme this year. It shows that romantic fiction continues to go from strength to strength and that our mentoring really works."
The Joan Hessayon Award is sponsored by gardening expert Dr. David Hessayon, in honour of his late wife Joan, who was a longstanding member of the RNA and a supporter of its New Writers' Scheme. The award will be presented at the RNA Summer Party on 22nd May at the Royal Over-Seas League, Park Place, London.
The New Writers' Scheme, run by the RNA since 1962, aims to encourage fresh talent in the writing of romantic novels that reflect all aspects of love and life, contemporary or historical.
Manuscripts submitted under the scheme are from unpublished authors and are read by an experienced writer or editor who provides feedback.
The full shortlist is:
Sweet Proposal by Celia J Anderson (Piatkus)
Gracie's War by Elaine Everest (Pulse)
The Silk Romance by Helena Fairfax (MuseItUp)
United States of Love by Sue Fortin (Harper Impulse)
Too Charming by Kathryn Freeman(Choc Lit)
The Return of Mrs Jones by Jessica Gilmore (Harlequin Mills & Boon)
Truth or Dare? by Laura E James (Choc Lit)
The House on Burra Burra Lane by Jennie Jones (Harlequin Australia)
Sweet Nothing by Alison May (Choc Lit)
Plus One is a Lucky Number by Teresa F. Morgan (Harper Impulse)
Once a Bad Girl by Jane O'Reilly (Escape)
The Ghost House by Helen Phifer (Carina UK)
Desperately Seeking Heaven by Jill Steeples (Carina UK)
The Oyster Catcher by Jo Thomas (Accent Press)
Goodbye Henrietta Street by Lin Treadgold (Safkhet Publishing)
Yes Chef, No Chef by Susan Willis (Endeavour)
Thank You For the Music by Jennifer Young (Tirgearr)