Romantic Novelists' Association

Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award Category

15 February 2022

Lucy Morris – The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance

Lucy has always been obsessed with myths and legends. Her books blend sweeping romance with vivid world building to whisk you away to another time and place filled with adventure. Expect passion, drama, and vibrant characters. She lives in Havering with her husband, two children, and two cats. She has a massively sweet tooth and loves Terry’s chocolate oranges and Irn-Bru. In her spare time, she likes to explore castles with her family, or drink bubbly with friends. A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, in 2020 Lucy was delighted to accept a two-book deal with Harlequin after submitting her story to the Warriors Wanted submission blitz for Viking, Medieval, and Highlander romances. She hasn’t looked back since.

She commented, “I was delighted to be shortlisted for the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award. In a rare flurry of ‘got to be in it to win it’ confidence, I entered, but didn’t think I’d be shortlisted. It’s so lovely to have your work recognized and valued so early on in your career. It’s been a real boost to my confidence, and has helped banish some of those impostor feelings away. I’m so grateful to the RNA, they’ve helped me so much with my writing. I’ve made incredible friends and learned so much.”


When Thorstein Bergson rescues a beautiful woman from a storm-tossed longship, he little expects to broker a powerful marriage alliance with her. This high-status ice queen is not the comfortable wife the warrior chief is seeking. But maybe the bittersweet pain in Gyda’s eyes hides another woman beneath? The one he tasted that first night when she’d kissed him with such pent-up longing?


Heidi Stephens – Two Metres From You

Heidi has spent her career working in marketing and advertising; some of her early writing work includes instruction manuals for vacuum cleaners, saucepans and sex toys. Since 2008 she has also freelanced as a journalist and, on autumnal weekend evenings, can be found liveblogging Strictly Come Dancing for The Guardian. She wrote her debut novel Two Metres From You whilst furloughed in 2020, and lives in Wiltshire with her partner Pip and Labrador Mabel.

She commented, “It’s such a huge honour to be nominated for my debut novel – particularly as it’s a lockdown romantic comedy based in a village near my home town. Writing a novel is something I’ve wanted to do for decades – I never imagined it would be published, let alone be nominated for such a prestigious award.”

TWO METRES FROM YOU BOOK BLURB (Publisher: Headline Accent)

Gemma isn’t sure what upsets her more – the fact that she just caught her boyfriend cheating, or that he did it on her brand new Heal’s cushions. All she knows is she needs to put as many miles between her and Fraser as humanly possible. So when her best friend suggests a restorative few days in the West Country, it seems like the perfect solution. That is, until the country enters a national lockdown that leaves her stranded with her dog, Mabel, and the mysterious (and handsome!) stranger who lives at the bottom of her garden …



Suzanne Ewart – One Month of You

Before writing her first novel, Suzanne taught English to secondary school children in Greater Manchester. In 2019 she won the eHarmony / Trapeze books Write Your Own Love Story competition. Her debut novel, One Month of You, was published in 2021. She lives in Warrington with her husband and children.

She commented, “Being shortlisted for this award is such an honour. I’ve followed the Romantic Novel Awards for years, and it’s incredible to now be part of these awards with my debut novel. I’m completely thrilled!”

ONE MONTH OF YOU BOOK BLURB Publisher: Trapeze (Orion)

When Alec asks Jess out, she knows it won’t work. He may be charming and handsome, but Jess has rules. And the first? Don’t fall in love.

Jess has inherited Huntington’s disease from the mother that she cares for. Falling in love would mean condemning someone to the heartbreak that she feels every day. Jess has learnt to keep everyone and everything at arm’s length, but Alec is determined to break down her barriers. When she finally tells him why they have no future together, he proposes that they forget the future and live for the moment – for just one month.

Twitter: @SuzanneEwart1
Instagram: suzanneewart_author

Anna and Jacqui Burns – Love at Café Lompar

Anna and Jacqui are a mother and daughter writing team from South Wales. Anna (daughter) is a trainee psychiatrist who now lives in Derbyshire, and Jacqui (mother) is a lecturer of English in a sixth form college and lives in Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire. Both love writing and had the inspiration for their debut novel when visiting Montenegro on a cruise in 2019. Emailing chapters back and forth was a way of keeping sane during the first coronavirus lockdown.

They commented, “We’re ecstatic and surprised in equal measure to be shortlisted for this award. Having our first novel published was thrilling enough, and to be in the running for such a prestigious award is the icing on the cake, particularly seeing the calibre of previous shortlisted authors. We’re pinching ourselves!”


While Grace is grieving for her husband Danilo after he dies suddenly from a heart attack, she is shell-shocked to find he has another family – a mistress and son in Montenegro. Grace and her daughter Kat embark on an adventure to discover more about the secrets of his hidden life. Soon they are entangled in the lives of Dan’s other family, enchanted by the Montenegrin scenery and embroiled in life at Café Lompar, run by Rosa, Dan’s mistress.

​Can Kat find what she’s looking for along the radiant Adriatic shores? Will Grace ever be able to trust again and open her heart to love? ​We can’t choose our family, but sometimes love and good food can remind us of what matters most.

Instagram: annabauthor, jacquiburnsauthor
Twitter: @burns1jacqui

Lorraine Brown – Uncoupling

Lorraine previously trained as an actress and has recently completed her final year of a postgraduate diploma in psychodynamic counselling. She currently delivers counselling sessions to students at the University of Cambridge alongside her writing. The manuscript of what became her debut novel, Uncoupling, was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award in 2016, after which she was chosen to be part of Penguin Random House’s WriteNow programme, which aims to launch the careers of writers from backgrounds currently under-represented in the publishing industry. Lorraine lives in Muswell Hill, London, with her partner and their 9-year-old son.

Lorraine commented, “The RNA means such a lot to me – I’ve been part of their New Writers’ Scheme twice and have attended two conferences and each time I came away feeling motivated and geared up to carry on with my writing, even when it felt as though I was never going to get anywhere with it. It’s a huge honour for Uncoupling to be shortlisted for the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award alongside these other, brilliant authors who I have read and admire. With the UK in lockdown and bookshops closed on my actual publication day, this is the loveliest end to my debut year!”


Could one split second change her life forever? Hannah and Si are in love and on the same track – that is, until their train divides on the way to a wedding. The next morning, Hannah wakes up in Paris and realises that her boyfriend (and her ticket) are 300 miles away in Amsterdam. But then Hannah meets Léo on the station platform, and he’s everything Si isn’t. Spending the day with him in Paris forces Hannah to question how well she really knows herself – and whether, sometimes, you need to go in the wrong direction to find everything you’ve been looking for …


Facebook: @lorrainebrownauthor
Instagram: @lorrainebrownauthor
Twitter: @LorraineBrown23