Romantic Novelists' Association

Joan Hessayon Award Contenders 2018: Tanya Jean Russell

10 April 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, Tanya Jean, 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 started writing in 2014 and joined the RNA in 2015. Broken Trust is my first novel (actually my first publication of any kind!).

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

I was an NWS member for two and a half years and submitted a manuscript twice (the third year I’d been published before I could submit). It was an amazing scheme to be part of. My readers were incredibly generous with their feedback and comments, and it’s a huge part of how I was fortunate enough to secure publication.

What came first, agent or publisher?

I don’t have an agent so for me it was the publisher!

How did you find your publisher?

I spent a lot of time listening to other writers. The Leicester chapter of the RNA, the Belmont Belles, were great at making suggestions!

Do you have a contract for one book or more?

My publisher only offers one book contracts, but I’m delighted that they have just accepted my second submission, Shadows of Our Past, for publication.

When was your book published?

It was published in June 2017.

Tell us something about your book

Broken Trust is a Romantic Suspense. Based in England the story centres around a smart and wealthy heroine with a family airline in trouble. With the lives of her family in danger, she is forced to accept help from a man with a very personal grudge against them. Both protagonists were burned in the past, so we journey with them as we see if they can learn to trust again. Set in the glossy world of private airlines, the story is about how the right person strengthens you, and about how the best relationships are based on equality and partnership.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a follow up to my second novel Shadows of Our Past, which is also a romantic suspense, the plan is for it to be a series of 3 books! This series is based on women taking the traditionally male role as the one with all the survival skills and experience, something which is making them great fun to write.

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

To listen and to be brave. The RNA is chock full of talented individuals who are willing to share their advice and lessons, so listen. Also, it can be really hard to keep going, be kind to yourself, enjoy the journey, and push yourself to finish your work and send it out there. Sending my manuscript out was more terrifying than I would have believed possible, but be brave, sometimes it pays off!

Find out more about Tanya Jean:





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