Debut novelist Lucy King learned she was also an RNA award winner, while waiting at home for the birth of her first child.
At the RNA’s summer party, Lucy was named the winner of the Joan Hessayon Award for her novel Bought: Damsel in Distress (Harlequin Mills & Boon).
The award is given each year to a writer whose first published work has been through the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme.
With her first child due the very next day, Lucy, who lives in Spain, was unable to attend the awards party. She learned of her success when phoned by RNA Chair Katie Fforde.
‘I’m speechless,’ Lucy said, joking that the excitement might just have her rushing to hospital a little earlier than expected.
The scheme, which has been run by the RNA since 1962, is unique among professional writing associations. It aims to encourage fresh talent in the writing of romantic novels that reflect all aspects of love and life, contemporary or historical. Manuscripts submitted by unpublished writers are read by an experienced writer or editor who provides valuable feedback. Any manuscript that is subsequently published as a debut novel is eligible for the award. The eligible books are judged by a panel of experienced RNA members.
‘I would advise any aspiring writer to join the scheme,’ Lucy declared. ‘I found the depth and scope of the feedback to be invaluable. The encouraging comments I received really spurred me on.’
‘I am immensely proud of the New Writers’ Scheme,’ added Katie Fforde. ‘I joined the RNA under the same scheme. Giving this award is one of the best parts of my job as RNA Chair.’
The award is generously sponsored by Dr David Hessayon, in honour of his late wife Joan, who was a longstanding member of the RNA and a great supporter of the New Writers’ Scheme.
The other debut novels eligible for the 2010 award were:
Divorce Etiquette by Monique DeVere (The Wild Rose Press)
Pursued by Love by Georgia Hill (E-Scape Press ).