Romantic Novelists' Association

Sam Eades: Searching For The Next, Great Love Story

5 July 2018

Today, we welcome Sam Eades, Editorial Director for Trapeze, an imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, with exciting news of a competition open to unpublished authors:

As is the life of an editor, I’ve spent the weekend merrily reading submissions from agents. 10 submissions in fact. And of those 10 submissions, they were all in the crime and thriller & psychological thriller genre. If a character was married, it would be death do them part by the mid-point reveal. That cute person they saw in the coffee shop? Well they are the protagonist’s long-lost sister out for revenge. Love in these novels is dark, twisted and likely a motive for murder.

Crime it would seem pays, with crime fiction sales overtaking popular fiction sales for the first time this year. Paula Hawkins, Gillian Flynn and Clare Mackintosh have inspired a whole new generation of writers to explore the darker side of relationships – continuing a tradition that began with Patricia Highsmith and Ruth Rendell. And that’s great because like those millions of crime addicts out there I love reading dark fiction. Most of the time. But, after a conversation with agent Sue Armstrong, I started to think about how I’d like to find light amidst that darkness. Together we chatted about our favourite love stories, The Time Traveller’s Wife, Me Before You and Gone With the Wind. Where were the sweeping love stories in the submissions piles? There were a few, but nowhere near the same quantity as psychological suspense, crime and domestic noir.

And this chat with the brilliant Sue was the genesis of our creative writing competition to find the next great love story. We needed a partner, a perfect match to help us find love. And who better to help find a great love story than one of the UK’s biggest dating sites? We approached the team at eHarmony, who are the starting pointing for so many real life love stories, and our competition was launched!

If you are an unpublished writer and have an idea for a love story, this is your chance to find a happy ending and land a £10,000 publishing contract. And the team at Curtis Brown Creative are kindly offering a place on their online How to Write a Novel course as a runner-up prize. To enter, you’ll need to submit the first 5,000 words of a love story, accompanied by a synopsis and short biography. The closing date is 30th July which might seem to close but if you write 250 words a day between now and then, you will make it across the finish line. Take a chance on love, and who knows what might happen!

And if you need some inspiration here are five great contemporary stories about love that I recommend with all my heart.

Julie Cohen’s TOGETHER
Cass Hunter’s THE AFTER WIFE

Thank you Sam, for news on this exciting opportunity and some great recommendations.