The RNA today announced the creation of Pure Passion Awards, to celebrate the Association's Golden Anniversary.
As well as the hotly-contested Romantic Novel of the Year and Love Story of the Year awards, the RNA has chosen new ways to honour the very best in romantic fiction : The People's Choice Award, the Rom Com Award, and the Romantic Film of the Year.
There's more detail about the awards over on the RNA's website www.rna-uk.org .
Here, some of the short listed authors talk about how it feels to be in the running for such prestigious awards.
From the Romantic Novel of the Year authors...
Jean Fullerton - A GLIMPSE AT HAPPINESS Orion
“I almost can’t describe how thrilled I am to be in the 2010 Romantic Novelist Shortlist for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award. It is also very special because it is the association Gold Year and I feel very honoured to be standing alongside such established authors. I only started writing eight years ago and joined the RNA’s New Writers Scheme in 2003 so I still find it hard to believe that I am in the last six for this year’s award.
I can’t truthfully, describe being shortlisted as ‘a dream come true’ because I never in a million years dreamed that my stories would ever reach such dizzy heights. I am profoundly thankful to the RNA for nurturing me on my rocky road to publication and I can honestly say without the support and encouragement of my many friends within the association I would be where I am today.”
Rachel Hore - THE GLASS PAINTER'S DAUGHTER Pocket Books
“It's wonderful to me that The Glass Painter's Daughter, a book that's very close to my heart, has received recognition by being shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award. It's such an affirmation to me that the book was worthwhile and that people have enjoyed and appreciated it. I'd be fascinated to hear what readers enjoy most about it. I loved researching and writing about stained glass and music and angels and have tried to use them to explore a story about unattainable beauty and unrequited love. Love that is not returned by the object of affection, is of course one of the most emotionally painful experiences we can endure, but it can be celebrated as beautiful, noble, and worthwhile. So the book is a love story, but it's all sorts of other things as well. I'm very much looking forward to reading the other novels on the shortlist and welcome the award as a great celebration of the Romantic Novel.”
Lucy Dillon – LOST DOGS & LONELY HEARTS Hodder & Stoughton
“Being selected for any prize shortlist is wonderful, but the RNA Award is very special: it means an enormous amount to be picked out by such a discerning and experienced selection of fellow writers and readers, and from a long list which utterly destroys the idea that romance is 'just boy meets girl'.
In all the Association's fifty years, I don't think there's ever been as much need for romantic fiction - in all its kaleidoscopic varieties - as there is now. When the news is gloomy and the weather is even worse, what could be more restoring than an evening on the sofa with love, intrigue, passion, confusion and a happy ever after? My favourite kind of romantic fiction is the novel that lets me slip into another world, but somehow reminds me enough of my own that when I close the book, I look at what I've got with a fresh eye. A good romance is like a spa break for my spirit - that's what I try to write, and that's definitely what's made up this year's short/long list. I'm very honoured to be on it.”
Miranda Dickinson – FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK Avon (HarperCollins)
“Making the shortlist for the RNA's Romantic Novel of the Year Award is absolutely amazing! Without wanting to sound like Gwyneth Paltrow at a press conference, it's such a wonderful honour to have my work recognised by the RNA, who work so tirelessly to promote romantic fiction. I think it's something every author dreams about, but I never really thought it would be possible for me. If you'd told me a year ago that my debut novel would be rubbing shoulders with fantastic work from the brilliant authors on the shortlist I would never have believed you! To make the long list was a dream come true: but finding Fairytale of New York on the shortlist is something else. I'm not ashamed to say that I did a little jiggly happy dance around my living room when I heard the news and I haven't stopped grinning yet!”
Santa Montefiore – THE ITALIAN MATCHMAKER Hodder & Stoughton
"I'm absolutely thrilled and honoured to be shortlisted. It is a total surprise, as I've never been shortlisted for anything before. I think the last prize I won was back in '85 for being a 'good sport' so it's fabulous to be this close."
Louise Bagshawe – PASSION Headline Review
“I was delighted to get the news that I had been shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award. Since I started writing at the age of twenty-two, I’ve never been nominated for anything, and to be considered for such a prestigious award is a genuine honour. I have to say that my book, PASSION, is perhaps the piece of work I’m most proud of; in writing a romantic thriller, James Bond for girls if you like, I was stepping outside of my comfort zone, so to have creative recognition for that is genuinely pleasing.
At the same time, given that this is the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards, I’m glad that people still see it as primarily a love story about two old flames. It’s essentially a study of what happens when life gives you that unexpected second chance. I’m overjoyed to be in the company of the other amazing writers on this shortlist.”
From the Love Story of the Year authors...
Jane Jones – FAIR DECEPTION Robert Hale
“I am beyond thrilled that my Regency romance FAIR DECEPTION has been shortlisted for the RNA's Love Story of the Year 2010. This book is very dear to my heart as it involves both the theatre and my local town of Newmarket. As I am likewise passionate about the wonderful Romantic Novelists' Association, I don't think I could be more excited at this moment if I tried!”
Nina Harrington - ALWAYS THE BRIDESMAID Harlequin Mills and Boon
“I can’t tell you how thrilled and humbled I am to be shortlisted for this prestigious Love Story of the Year Award for my debut book for the Mills and Boon Romance Line. I am also excited, delighted, and more than a little stunned and in awe at the talent and skill of the other shortlisted authors.
‘Always the Bridesmaid’ will always be a very special book, and I have a great many people for their help and support, including the RNA. It was through the New Writer’s Scheme that my work found its way to the desk of an editor at Mills and Boon.
Perhaps the Dedication in this book can sum it up for me?
‘To all the wonderful writers in the Romantic Novelists’ Association, who made this book possible.’
Nell Dixon - ANIMAL INSTINCTS Little Black Dress
“I'm absolutely stunned to have made the shortlist with Animal Instincts! Getting into the finals for any award is always wonderful, but when your book has been chosen by readers, and against so many other fabulous stories it really is special. As a writer you always hope that readers will love your story as much as you do.
When I got the news I burst into tears - happy ones, not sad - I was simply so thrilled and excited. I think it took a good hour before it sank in and I think I spent most of that hour wandering around like a happy Victor Meldrew muttering, 'I don't believe it'.”
Louise Allen – THE NOTORIOUS MR HURST Harlequin Mills and Boon.
“Being shortlisted for Love Story of the Year would be terrific at any time, but as this is the RNA's 50th anniversary year it makes it even more special. And I'm delighted it is this book which is rather a favourite of mine with a darkly brooding hero and a background in the Regency theatre which was great fun to research.
I booked myself a holiday in India ages ago without thinking to check the date of the Awards Luncheon so I was relieved to find I will be back just in time - even if I am hideously jet-lagged I hope I'll be sporting an attractive tan!”
Natalie Rivers – CLAIMED FOR THE ITALIAN’S REVENGE Harlequin Mills and Boon
“It was a wonderful surprise to discover that Claimed for the Italian’s Revenge has been shortlisted for the RNA’s Love Story of the Year Award. It’s a real thrill and honour to see my name alongside such talented authors, and I’m really looking forward to spending time with them all at the Awards Lunch in London next month.”
Sophie King -THE WEDDING PARTY Hodder & Stoughton
“I first heard I was on the shortlist for LOVE STORY OF THE YEAR when I picked up an answer phone message when in a prison car park! I am writer in residence of a high security male prison and you can't take mobiles in - so messages can be delayed. I was absolutely amazed and thrilled. THE WEDDING PARTY is very special to me because it is about a middle aged couple who get married. I married the best man from my first wedding recently after knowing him as a friend for thirty years. I thought of the plot for my book before he proposed - but no one believes me!
I am very grateful to the RNA for all its encouragement and advice, especially Katie Fforde. It is an amazing organisation; I am always telling students how it helps both published and unpublished writers.”
From the Rom Com authors...
Jill Mansell - RUMOUR HAS IT Headline Review
"Wheeeeeeee, I've been shortlisted for a romantic comedy award! Me! The last competition I ever won was held in a nightclub many years ago and involved tearing a telephone directory in half. I was the only female entrant and I weighed about seven stone, beating lots of big burly men. Since then, sadly, telephone directories have got thinner and I ...well, I haven't! Does it sound cliched to say that the RNA is a wonderful, warm, mutually supportive organisation to which I'm so proud to belong? Oh well, that's too bad - I'm still going to say it because it's true."
Jane Costello – THE NEARLY WEDS Simon & Schuster
“I'm thrilled to be on the RNA shortlist for this award - when my publisher phoned to tell me the news, I was as delighted as I was stunned. To be recognised by the RNA - and in the esteemed company of the other authors listed - is an enormous privilege.”
Jenny Colgan - DIAMONDS ARE A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND Sphere
"I am so ludicrously excited to be on the shortlist for the RNA, I just can't wait, especially for the big anniversary year. 'Diamonds' was a very personal book for me, and I'm just so pleased it's been noticed!"