A wedding photographer has won a publishing contract with HarperCollins imprint Mills & Boon after winning Prima Magazine’s Love to Write competition.
Tracy Gow will also receive £500, and the first chapter of her novel will be featured in the magazine alongside an interview. Features editor and fellow judge Karen Swayne said Gow's untitled novel had "intriguing characters, a stunning setting and a storyline which left us wanting to know more”.
It is the second year the competition has run. This year’s judges included Swayne, Prima editor Gaby Huddart, books editor Nina Pottell, Mills & Boon editor Bryony Green and the imprint’s authors Jessica Gilmore and Annie O’Neil.
Entries were judged based on the “entrants’ ability to create relatable characters, a fresh author voice and delivering emotional impact”.
Gow, who will be writing for the romance imprint under the pseudonym Ella Hayes, owns a wedding photography business but “had always dreamed of writing romance”.
The writer, who is based in Kinross, Scotland, revealed she was “still pinching herself” about the news.
She said: “I was utterly delighted to receive the news of my win and I’m still pinching myself. When you have ambitions to become a writer, it can feel like an uphill struggle trying to attract the attention of an agent or publisher, especially when you have a demanding day job which steals so much of your time.
“Winning Prima Magazine’s Love to Write competition has given me a huge boost. It’s hugely important to me that readers enjoy my story so I’m working hard on the rest of the book and I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that it’s a big hit with Mills & Boon readers.”
Swayne said: “Tracy's entry stood out from the rest as it was not only very well written, but had intriguing characters, a stunning setting and a storyline which left us wanting to know more.”
Rachel Dove won the first competition in 2015. Her novel The Chic Boutique On Baker Street was published by Mills & Boon in April last year.
In March the imprint launched Dare, billed as the “sexiest” Mills & Boon series ever.