CJ Connolly – The Love of My Other Life
Vancouver-based author, CJ Connolly, has been shortlisted in the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award category with her novel, The Love of My Other Life, for the UK-based Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) annual Romantic Novel Awards for 2023. The awards celebrate excellence in romantic fiction in all its forms.
CJ Connolly is a writer and communications professional based in Vancouver, Canada, and originally from the UK. She is the author of The Love of My Other Life, a contemporary romance novel with a magic realism premise, set in present-day New York City. CJ has a background in communications and journalism, with two decades of editing, writing, and marketing experience in the Vancouver and London media and tech industries under her other identity, Joannah Connolly. She has also hosted a real estate-focused talk radio show and has experience reporting on local TV news and speaking on conference panels. In her free time – in addition to writing novels – she is a passionate singer, and a member of a vocal harmony group in Vancouver.
She commented, ‘As a debut author, I never imagined I would be shortlisted for an incredible award such as this one! I couldn’t be more thrilled and honoured that The Love of My Other Life was popular enough among the reader-judges to be placed alongside such great competition. How exciting!’
CJ Connolly is a communications professional and a former business and real estate journalist in Vancouver, under her “other identity” as Joannah Connolly, who has also appeared many times on local TV news shows. She is also the former host of a real estate talk radio show, and has appeared on various conference and judging panels throughout the city. CJ started writing novels seven years ago, at the same time as beginning her local talk radio show – which inspired her novel’s protagonist Josie, also a real estate radio show host. CJ found that her radio gig sparked a new voice inside her that had no choice but to start telling stories!
THE LOVE OF MY OTHER LIFE (Publisher: Joffe Books)
Single Josie wakes in an alternate version of her New York life, married to a handsome, wealthy, adoring man she’s never seen before. But there are some things very wrong with her new reality. Should she embrace this incredible but flawed world — even though it’s not really her life?
Anita Faulkner – A Colourful Country Escape
Gloucester author, Anita Faulkner, has been shortlisted in the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award category with her novel, A Colourful Country Escape, for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) annual Romantic Novel Awards for 2023. The awards celebrate excellence in romantic fiction in all its forms.
Anita writes warm and fuzzy romcoms from her upcycled bureau in the Cotswolds. Described by her agent Kate Nash as ‘a sparkling new voice’, Anita’s debut A Colourful Country Escape was published by Little, Brown (Sphere) in June 2022 and was a contender for the RNA’s prestigious Joan Hessayon award. Her festive novel The Gingerbread Café came out in October 2022 and is simply too delicious to be missed. Anita runs a lively bookish Facebook group called Chick Lit and Prosecco and was shortlisted for the RNA’s Media Star award in 2021. You’ll often hear her chatting about books and quirky news on BBC Radio Gloucestershire.
She commented, ‘The Romantic Novelists’ Association has been such a huge and invaluable part of my writing journey, so it’s a complete honour to be shortlisted for the RNA’s Katie Fforde Debut Novel award. I don’t mind admitting that I was jigging around the house in sheer joy after the news came through! Whatever happens, I wish all of the shortlistees the best of luck. Everyone is always so lovely and supportive, so I know we’ll be raising our glasses together.’
A COLOURFUL COUNTRY ESCAPE (Publisher: Sphere)
A Colourful Country Escape follows vibrant but penniless Lexie Summers as she packs up her orange camper van to escape her messy life. As she clashes with her standoffish new boss Ben in his wealthy world of paint and peacocks, she wonders if love really is so black and white.
Anita’s website: https://www.anitafaulkner.co.uk
Anita’s Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/chicklitandprosecco/
Anita on Twitter: https://twitter.com/anita_faulkner_/
Anita on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anita_faulkner_writer/
Niamh Hargan – Twelve Days in May
Derry author, Niamh Hargan, has been shortlisted in the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award category with her novel, Twelve Days in May, for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) annual Romantic Novel Awards for 2023. The awards celebrate excellence in romantic fiction in all its forms.
Niamh was born and raised in Derry, Northern Ireland, and is currently based in Edinburgh. An entertainment lawyer by profession, she’s been a regular attendee at the Cannes Film Festival over the past decade. When it became impossible to travel to Cannes in May 2020, she began to write about it instead.
She commented, ‘I’m thrilled to be shortlisted for this award. As a debut novelist, it’s lovely to feel part of a community of writers, and I’m looking forward to celebrating all the shortlisted novels and authors in the run up to the RNA awards.’
TWELVE DAYS IN MAY (Publisher: HarperCollins
Lizzy and Ciaran were best friends twelve years ago, but haven’t spoken since. Now, both working at the Cannes Film Festival, director Ciaran’s film runs into trouble, and there’s only one person he can turn to. Is twelve days enough to save the film, and also rekindle their spark?
Julie Haworth – Always By Your Side
Chelmsford author, Julie Haworth, has been shortlisted in the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award category with her novel, Always by Your Side, for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) annual Romantic Novel Awards for 2023. The awards celebrate excellence in romantic fiction in all its forms.
Julie writes uplifting stories about friendship and community, bursting with romance and charm, from the city of Chelmsford, Essex. Her debut novel, Always By Your Side, was published by Simon & Schuster in August 2022. When she’s not busy writing or running her copywriting business, Julie can mainly be found shopping, drinking ridiculous amounts of coffee and hanging out with her two rescue cats.
She commented, ‘I’m still pinching myself that I’ve realised my lifelong dream of becoming a published author and being nominated for such a prestigious award really is the cherry on top! It’s an honour to have been shortlisted and I’m hugely grateful to the RNA for their New Writers’ Scheme and to my publisher, Simon & Schuster, for all their encouragement and support in my debut year.’
ALWAYS BY YOUR SIDE (Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK)
When school teacher Rose loses her dream job, her self-confidence takes a knock. An unexpected phone call, and an elderly aunt hospitalised, means she must drop everything – including her fiancé – and return to Sussex. But when Rose’s London life finally comes calling, she is faced with an impossible choice …
Laila Rafi – From Fake to Forever
Orion Dash author, Laila Rafi, has been shortlisted in the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award category with her novel, From Fake to Forever, for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) annual Romantic Novel Awards for 2023. The awards celebrate excellence in romantic fiction in all its forms.
Laila has a degree in Criminology, which is gathering dust because she would rather spend her days dreaming of her characters falling in love. She has dabbled in finance and education, but realised her real calling was putting pen to paper, or more accurately fingers to keyboard, and getting lost in a world of happily ever afters. She lives in the heart of London with her boisterous family and when she’s not writing or reading romance, she can be found watching almost any sport – though her preference is Formula 1.
She commented, ‘I feel absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted. To have my debut novel published was the stuff of dreams but to be shortlisted for the Katie Fforde award is the icing on the cake.’
FROM FAKE TO FOREVER (Publisher: Orion Dash)
What happens when a confirmed bachelor and a woman focused on her career have their respective parents bombarding them with prospective spouses? Well, they decide to fake a relationship, giving them both freedom to carry on as they were. But what happens when that fake relationship starts to become not-so-fake?