Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Chatting to Ian Skillicorn of Corazon Books

Today we are pleased to welcome Ian Skillicorn to the blog. Ian is going to tell us about the Sophie King Prize and the accompanying anthology. Welcome, Ian.

The Sophie King Prize was launched in 2012, to support new romance short story writing, by both published and previously unpublished writers. As a prolific short story writer, and writing tutor, Sophie is a long-time champion of short stories. For my own part, I've been involved with the form for many years - as an audio producer and publisher, and as the founder of National Short Story Week. The Sophie King Prize seemed to us the perfect opportunity to showcase new writing in a form we are both passionate about. We have also been fortunate to have support from the online luxury gift catalogue The Handpicked Collection, which has sponsored the prizes for the competition for the past two years.

Sophie and I have both been thrilled with the enthusiastic response from writers to The Sophie King Prize; last year we had entries not only from the UK, but also from continental Europe, the USA, New Zealand and Japan, among other countries. Some of the short-listed entrants are members of the RNA, including Johanna Grassick and Mary Lally. In fact, the standard of the entries was so high we felt that the best stories really deserved to get as wide a readership as possible, so Corazon Books has recently published an anthology of the top 10 stories (now available as an ebook, with a print edition coming in early August).

Johanna says of her own story, Rum Truffle, about a young widow called Katie: "My inspiration came from thinking about anniversaries and how they’re not always a time for celebration. They can be a link with the past and sometimes make it difficult for people to move forward. But even after a great loss like Katie’s, life goes on, and romance is at the heart of that. Also, I visited the pretty Cheshire village of Nantwich (which has some lovely caf├ęs), and I wanted to write a story which involved cake! This will be my first published piece and I’m thrilled to be part of the anthology. Sophie King is a well-known and respected member of the RNA. The fact that she singled out my work means a lot to me."

Sophie says: "I picked those stories that surprised me and also left a lovely warm feeling. A bit like a love affair, really …"

Organising the competition, reading the entries, editing and publishing the anthology, and working with a talented group of writers, has been a real pleasure. I hope readers will enjoy these great romance stories, and that even more writers will be inspired to enter this year's Sophie King Prize, which opens during National Short Story Week - 17th to 23rd November 2014.

 Ian Skillicorn
Corazon Books

Love is All You Need: Meet 10 women, from different places, backgrounds and times, and each with a different experience of men and romance. Their stories in turn hold the promise of romance, reflect on finding love, or show the lengths we'll go to for the special person in our lives. An anthology of stories which are funny, thought-provoking, and thrilling, with characters you'll empathise with as they discover that ... Love is All You Need.
 Stories by Alyson Hilbourne, Yvonne Eve Walus, Johanna Grassick, Pauline Watson, Melanie Whipman, Linda Triegel, Laurel Osterkamp, Helen Yendall, Mary Lally, Sherri Turner. 
Thank you, Ian.
This blog is brought to you by Elaine Everest and Natalie Kleinman. If you would like to write a piece for the blog about your own writing or the craft of writing please contact us on elaineeverest@aol.com

1 comment:

anne stenhouse said...

I really enjoyed Jo's story, Rum Truffle, which I turned to first after I downloaded the anthology. Looking forward to the others now, too. Anne Stenhouse