Doncaster-based author Lynda Stacey is among the contenders for The Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) prestigious Joan Hessayon Award for new writers, for her novel, The House of Secrets, published by Choc Lit after it won the publishing house’s Search for a Star Competition in 2015.
The shortlist is made up of authors whose debut novels have been accepted for publication after passing through the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers Scheme. Each year 250 places are offered to unpublished writers writing in the romantic fiction genre. As part of the scheme, they can submit a complete manuscript for critique by one of the Association’s published authors as well as attend RNA events which offer opportunities to meet and network with publishers, agents and other published authors.
The novel follows the story of Madeleine Frost, who fears her controlling partner Liam, so takes her young daughter Poppy to the hotel owned by her estranged father – the extraordinarily beautiful Wrea Head Hall in Yorkshire. There, she meets Christopher ‘Bandit’ Lawless, an ex-marine and the gamekeeper of the hall, whose brusque manner conceals a painful past. After discovering a diary belonging to a previous owner, Maddie and Bandit find themselves immersed in the history of the old house, uncovering its secrets, scandals, tragedies – and, all the while, becoming closer.
But Liam still won’t let go, he wants Maddie back, and when Liam wants something he gets it, no matter who he hurts.
Commenting on her inclusion in the shortlist, Lynda said: “I’m delighted to be shortlisted for the Joan Hessayon award, and to be surrounded by other amazing nominees. I’m wishing everyone the very best of luck.”
Eileen Ramsay, current RNA Chairman, said of the 2017 shortlist, “This year’s list of contenders once again demonstrates the depth and breadth of the work produced by RNA authors and I am absolutely thrilled that we have another superb group of graduates from our New Writers’ Scheme. The New Writers’ Scheme is unique to our association and it’s wonderful to see that it really works. Congratulations to everyone on the list!”
The award will be presented at the RNA Summer Party on Thursday May 18 at the Royal Over-Seas League, Park Place, London.
The Joan Hessayon Award is generously sponsored by gardening expert Dr David Hessayon OBE, in honour of his late wife Joan, who was a longstanding member of the RNA and a great supporter of its New Writers’ Scheme.
The full shortlist for 2017 is:
Victoria Cornwall The Thief’s Daughter Choc Lit
Kate Field The Magic of Ramblings Accent Press
Terri Fleming Perception Orion
Jen Gilroy The Cottage at Firefly Lake Forever, Grand Central, Hachette
Morton Gray The Girl on the Beach Choc Lit
Vivien Hampshire How to Win Back Your Husband HQ Digital
April Hardy Sitting Pretty Accent Press
Emily Kerr Who Does He Think He Is? Crooked Cat
Abbey MacMunn Touched Tirgearr Publishing
Arabella Sheen Castell’s Passion Beachwalk Press Inc
Lynda Stacey House of Secrets Choc Lit
The New Writers’ Scheme has been run by the RNA since 1962 and is unique among professional writing associations. It 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 invaluable feedback. Any manuscript that is subsequently published as a debut novel is eligible for the Joan Hessayon Award. All eligible books are judged by a panel of experienced RNA members who are already published authors.
Lynda’s second novel Tell Me No Secrets has now been released. Her first, House of Secrets, got to number eight in the amazon Romantic Suspense best sellers list.