Romantic Novelists' Association

Joan Hessayon Award Contenders 2018: Kate Ryder

9 May 2018

We are delighted to introduce you to the seventeen authors contending for the coveted Joan Hessayon Award in 2018. Before the winner is announced at the RNA’s Summer Party in Oxford in May, you can find out more about each of the authors here.


Welcome to the RNA blog, Kate, and congratulations on being one of the contenders for this year’s award. How long have you been writing? Is this your first published piece?

I have been a keen reader since childhood and during my early teens this evolved into writing poetry and short stories for my own pleasure.  In fact, a friend and I – horse mad teenagers at the time – wrote alternate chapters to complete our first novel (never published).  The hero, then, was always a dark, brooding, magnificent stallion!

Writing has also featured strongly in my career. Over the years I have worked in a number of industries, mainly in PR and marketing (all those press releases!) and I was also employed as a proof-reader/copy editor and writer for a specialist newspaper, during which time I had several articles published.  I also self-published two fictional novels, one of which was shortlisted for Choc Lit’s 2016 ‘Search for a Star’ and awarded a Chill with a Book ‘Book of the Month’.

I like a challenge and tend to write about flawed, complex characters facing moral dilemmas.  It’s hard to pinpoint an exact genre, but I would describe my writing as ‘romance with substance’.

How many years were you a member of the NWS and did you submit a manuscript each year?

I was a member of the NWS for 3 years and submitted a manuscript each year.

What came first, agent or publisher?


How did you find your publisher?

I researched the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook as well as social media and submitted my manuscript to several publishers.  One day, I saw a post on Facebook from a fellow writer announcing she had recently signed with a new digital imprint publisher, Aria Fiction.  As I knew her books and respected her judgement, I submitted my manuscript to the same publisher and was overjoyed when they understood and believed in my writing!

Do you have a contract for one book or more?

I have a contract for 4 books.

When was your book published?

My book was published in April 2018.

Tell us something about your book.

Summer in a Cornish Cove is a contemporary novel set against the ruggedly beautiful backdrop of The Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall. Not only is it a poignant love story but also it explores some difficult themes, such as mental health and stalking.  One Amazon Vine Voice Top 1000 Reviewer said of the novel: “A heart-breaking love story and an edge-of-your-seat thriller that had me gripped from the moment the focus for action hit Cornwall. This book attempts a lot, and in my view it most definitely succeeds.”

What are you currently working on?

The sequel to Summer in a Cornish Cove, which has a proposed publication date of September 2018.

What piece of advice would you give current members of the NWS?

Don’t lose heart and never give up.  A good habit to get into is to write something every day.  Writing is a journey and sometimes it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Also, take advantage of the professional critique service offered by the NWS.

Find out more about Kate:






Congratulations, Kate, on graduating from the New Writers’ Scheme. Wishing you all the best in your career.