Ten finalists have been selected from over 800 entries to the Mills & Boon New Voices competition to find the next Mills & Boon author.
The website that we built for the competition has seen 27,000 visits and 824 entries from 4,000 users, who have made a phenomenal 6,500 comments, making it the biggest ever competition for Mills & Boon and Harlequin, and proving definitively that romance actually isn’t dead.
Aspiring authors were asked to submit the first chapter of their Mills & Boon novel for a chance to win the ultimate prize of seeing their book published by Mills & Boon, an editor for a year, and an Apple iPad. Three runners up will win a consultation with a Mills & Boon editor, a Sony eReader and a hamper of Mills & Boon books. The winners will be chosen by public vote and a panel of judges: Heat editor Sam Delaney, author Penny Jordan, Mills & Boon’s managing director Mandy Ferguson and executive editor Tessa Shapcott.
Shapcott said: “In the past few years we have acquired at least half a dozen new authors by way of contests. And it’s not just confined to the winners. That’s why I am looking forward to New Voices and the joys of discovering those fresh sparks.”
Those ten fresh sparks are Blood Roses by Lindsay J Pryor; The Boss’ Naughty Assistant by Cady Phelan; Help Wanted: Apply for Love by Carrie Spencer; The Royal Marriage Rescue by Kara Jacobe; A Russian Affair by Lucy Snowe; The Secret Duchess by Sharon Siddoway; Secrets and Speed Dating by Leah Ashton; The Surgeon and the Cowgirl by Heidi Hormel; Thigh Noon by Kat Cantrell and Wildsong by Jill Lynn Anderson.
The response on the website, twitter and facebook has been remarkable: You can read them all here and our favourites include Tonia Lendich, who posted:
“I echo the thoughts of others here – what a fantastic opportunity this has been. Such diversity, such talent and such reasoned and reasonable comment on most of the entries [...]Thank you Mills & Boon – please do it again next year!”
And Mavis Smyth, who wrote:
“Dilemma …. I’ve got more than 10 favourites! I wonder if the M&B Team are struggling too? :) Good luck to everyone who gets through today … given there were so many entries, I’d say you are very very lucky.”
And this comment from Susan Standen:
“This is as exciting as Christmas morning. I can’t wait to come online later in the day and see which ten made it through. I wonder if it will be my favourites?”
The overall winner will be announced on 1st November 2010. In the meantime, you can read the first chapters of the shortlisted titles here. Just maybe not on your work computer.
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