The 2012 Romantic Novelists' Association Awards

This was the official website for the 2012 Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards where for the first time in the awards’ 52 year history, members of the public could vote for their favourite book.
This prestigious award recognises the very highest standards of romantic fiction and attracts best-selling authors from around the world. Each year, more than two hundred novels are submitted by publishers in the hope of winning this coveted title.
Content is from the site's 2012 archived pages, as well as from other sources.

The current website for the Romantic Novelists’ Association can be found at:


For just over fifty years, the Romantic Novelists’ Association has recognised and given awards for the very best in romantic fiction, with its ‘Romantic Novel of the Year’ and its ‘Love Story of the Year’ Awards and with further Awards for Romantic Comedy of the Year and Historical Novel of the Year added for the 2011 awards.

From 2012, these Awards have been further extended, restructured and renamed:

There will be SIX Awards announced at the March Awards ceremony, five RoNAs (Romantic Novel Awards) – for paperback editions of novels only – and one RoNA Rose Award.

The five RoNAs will be awarded to the winners of five specific categories of romantic novel, and the winning books, as soon as they are announced, will be given special paperback-edition promotion in participating bookshops around the country. The winners will also go forward to a panel of judges and public vote which will select an overall winner.

The winner will receive the Romantic Novel of the Year Award later in the year at the RNA Summer Party in May.

The RoNA Rose Award replaces the previous ‘Love Story of the Year’ Award and celebrates shorter/category romantic fiction (which may be in a hardback or paperback edition.)

The RoNAs replace the Pure Passion Awards, which were presented in 2010 and 2011.

This prestigious award recognises the very highest standards of romantic fiction and attracts best-selling authors from around the world. Each year, more than two hundred novels are submitted by publishers in the hope of winning this coveted title.




Feature Article

Please don’t stop the writing

Monday 23 July 2012 ~ Romance Matters


Jane Lovering is a regular mum. She gets the kids off to school, walks the two dogs on the North York Moors and five mornings a week goes to work in a local school as a biology research technician. Then she sorts the kids out when they come home from school, organises the evening meal, feeds the four cats and five hens and gives the dogs another work out. Her sartorial choice for this work out usually includes a high quality Batman shirt - her hero is obviously also a workaholic - and by associating herself with the Dark Knight, she conjures the special with the mundane. Her Batman t shirts from are really pretty amazing to look at. What sets Jane apart from most regular mums, however, is that every afternoon, she settles down on her bed with her lap top and writes award-winning novels.

But Jane’s story is a lesson in persistence, for it has taken twenty-five years of constant writing to achieve her seeming ‘overnight success’!

‘I’ve written all my life only stopping when the kids were small – I was a single mum with five kids under the age of ten. But when the youngest started school I wrote my first novel. It wasn’t very good but it proved to me I could actually write a full length book.’ She then charged herself to submit some piece of writing, such as a letter to a newspaper or a poem, every month. ‘I can’t not write or I get twitchy.’ And she did show promise even then, coming runner up in several competitions.

Once the children were able to look after themselves Jane travelled one day a week to Hull University where she gained a first class degree in Creative Writing. There she met Steve Wade, who recommended she join the RNA, and Cathy Wade (Kate Walker) who persuaded her to attend her first conference in 2005. ‘People in the RNA have been wonderfully supportive. They have been so friendly and have helped me over difficult times, like when my husband suddenly announced he was leaving.’

It was in 2006 that Samhain published Jane’s first saleable novel, Reversing over Liberace. in e- and paperback format. They published her second novel too, Slightly Foxed. But they rejected her third submission, Please Don’t Stop the Music. So did every other publisher it was submitted to. Then, thanks to the suggestion of her determined agent, writer and RNA member Kate Allen, she submitted it to Choc Lit – ‘and they rejected it too, because it was written in the first person and didn’t have a male point of view.’ But Jane found a way of changing that, and it was finally accepted for publication. ‘The rest, as they say, is history.’

Jane is philosophical about all the rejections. ‘It’s a very subjective business and you have to understand it just means it wasn’t right for that person on that day. Getting published is really a lesson in persistence with a certain element of luck. And of course if you write any form of comedy they have to like your sense of humour as well.’ Jane likes to look at reviews and tries to learn from what others have to say about her work. ‘If they all say the same thing, it’s time to do something about it.’

So, are her books ‘rom com’? ‘No, I classify them as “dark psychological romance with jokes”. Humour is often our way of dealing with dark and difficult subjects. I write about people and their reactions and the comedy comes from my observational style of humour, rather like a stand-up comic.’

Jane is also on this year’s short list for the Melissa Nathan prize for comedy fiction.  ‘I have to feel my characters are real – so they appear with all their imperfections. After all, short-sighted men deserve love too. But the heroine needs to be a bit like me because I’m imperfect and I need the hero to fall in love with me.’

Jane has a vernacular writing style that ‘sounds like me speaking’. She wrote TV scripts with a collaborator for Thames TV and found the script-writing training invaluable. ‘But they lost their franchise before any of our scripts could be broadcast.’ However, Jane recommends all writers sharpen their dialogue by listening carefully to how people speak. 

The awards day was a memorable one for Jane. Not only did she win the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year award but one of her daughters celebrated her 16th birthday and, as she travelled into London, Jane heard she had become a grandmother for the first time, to baby Phoenix. So what does the family make of her success? ‘I think they are quietly proud, though none of the children read my books, they don’t have enough life experience to understand repeated romantic disappointment.’

Her next book, the first of a paranormal trilogy, Vampire State of Mind, in which she ‘tries to find out what makes them human,’ will be published by Choc Lit in August. Is there any other kind of book she would like to write? ‘I would like to think I could write one hard science fiction book – but I’m afraid my sense of humour would get in the way.’ She currently satisfies her interest in science by studying quantum physics for fun.

Jane never makes excuses that she doesn’t have the time to write. ‘I don’t have a daily word target because I won’t set myself up for failure. Life has a way of intervening some days that could stop me writing a requisite number of words. So whatever I do, whether it’s social networking, research or actual writing, I consider it “work” regardless of the context. After all, nothing is wasted.’

Any advice for new writers? ‘Keep on writing. Hang in there. Believe. And it will happen. But when people ask me how I find the time my answer is, “I don’t watch TV.” If you’ve got time to watch East Enders you’ve got time to write a novel.’




Redesigned for 2012 to reflect modern appetites for romantic fiction, The RoNAs will be held on 5th March and will celebrate romance in all its glorious forms.

The RoNA categories are:

Contemporary Romantic Novel: This category is for mainstream romantic novels set post-1960 and includes genres such as chick-lit, paranormal and romantic suspense. Perfect for those who believe in finding Mr. Right…

The 2012 winner: Summer of Love by Katie Fforde (Arrow):

When Zoe Harper wins a coveted place in a televised cookery competition she’s thrilled. It’s a chance to cook her way to fame and fortune and the little delicatessen she’s set her heart on. But all too soon there’s more than canapés, cupcakes and cordon bleu at stake. Will Zoe win the competition or is Gideon one temptation too far? Is Zoe prepared to risk all for love?

Epic Romantic Novel: For those who prefer their romance a little grittier, epic romantic novels contain serious issues or themes and multi-generational storylines.

The 2012 winner: The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas (HarperCollins)

When Rose Pritchard turns up on the doorstep of a Cumbrian B&B it is her last resort. She and her seven-year old daughter Maddie have left everything behind. They’ve come to the village of Millthwaite in search of the person who once offered Rose hope. Almost immediately Rose wonders if she’s made a terrible mistake, if she’s chasing a dream. But she knows in her heart that she can’t go back. She’s been given a second chance – at life and love – but will she have the courage to take it?

Historical Romantic Novel: This category features novels set before 1960. Plenty of swarthy heroes and stunning historical locations.

The 2012 winner: Highland Storms By Christina Courtenay

Romantic Comedy Novel: Novels in this category must be consistently humorous, because after all, the course of true love never did run smooth…

The 2012 winner: Please Don’t Stop the Music by Jane Lovering (Choc Lit)

Jemima Hutton is determined to build a successful new life and keep her past a dark secret. Trouble is, her jewellery business looks set to fail – until enigmatic Ben Davies offers to stock her handmade buckles in his guitar shop and things start looking up on all fronts.

Young Adult Romantic Novel: This category is new for 2012 and is for romantic novels where the main characters are teenagers/young adults. Like a teenage crush, but better.

The 2012 winner: Dark Ride by Caroline Green (Piccadilly Press)

Bel has never met anyone like Luka. And the day she follows him into the abandoned fairground, she is totally unprepared for the turn her life will take. Dark Ride is a compelling and atmospheric mix of supernatural romance and page-turning thriller.

The RoNA Rose Award: This award (formerly the Love Story of the Year) recognises the best in category and shorter romance – novels that focus on the developing love affair between the hero and heroine. These titles may no longer be in print but can be obtained as ebooks.

The 2012 winner: The Dangerous Lord Darlington by Sarah Mallory.

Karin Stoecker won the Life Time Achievement Award 2012He may be an earl, but even in the wilds of Yorkshire Beth Forrester has heard tales of the incorrigible rake that make her toes curl… Unexpectedly hosting such a scandalous celebrity is only the first of Beth’s problems. Now the wicked Lord Darrington has found out about the dark secret she will do anything to protect.


A Dark Flowering by Natalie Lloyd-Evans



Outstanding Achievement Award

The Outstanding Achievement Award/ Lifetime Achievement Award is presented at the RNA’s discretion for any outstanding achievement whether in the field of publishing, writing or supporting romantic fiction. There is no shortlist for this award.

In 2012, the Lifetime Achievement Award went to Karin Stoecker who was Editorial Director of Harlequin Mills & Boon from 1994 until her retirement last year.

In 2011, Outstanding Achievement Awards were presented to best-selling authors Josephine Cox and Penny Jordan.

Authors Joanna Trollope and Maeve Binchy were honoured by the RNA in 2010.

Awards were made in 2009 to independent publishers Judy Piatkus and John Hale.

The RNA’s first Lifetime Achievement Awards honoured Lucilla Andrews, Rosamund Pilcher and Mary Stewart at a glittering event in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh in August 2006.



Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Awards 2012 Winners

Winners announced for Romantic NovelistsÂ’ AssociationÂ’s Awards 2012

Monday 5 March 2012

Katie Fforde’s Summer of Love has won the Contemporary Romantic Novel award at the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s annual awards, The RONAs. This category is for mainstream romantic novels set post 1960 and Katie Fforde saw off competition from some of romantic fiction’s biggest hitters Freya North, Jill Mansell, Miranda Dickinson, Karen Swan and Kate Johnson.

The Epic Romantic Novel award was won by Rosie Thomas for her sweeping multi-generational tale The Kashmir Shawl, beating Michael Arditti, Betsy Tobin, Deborah Lawrenson and Ruth Hamilton.

“In the big sky of romantic fiction today's winners are among the brightest stars,” said Annie Ashurst, RNA Chair. “Their talent, diversity and commitment are awe inspiring and we congratulate them all on their success.

The RONAs were hosted by author and columnist Jane Wenham-Jones and presented by Sunday Times number one bestselling crime writer Peter James.  The awards celebrate the very best in romantic fiction, encompassing the breadth of the genre, and three further and equally coveted awards were presented –  the Historical Romantic Novel Award, Romantic Comedy Award, and new for 2012, the Young Adult Romantic Novel Award.

Winner of the Historical Romantic Novel award was Christina Courtenay with Highland Storms published by Choc Lit, who also were victorious in the Romantic Comedy category which was won by Jane Lovering for her novel Please Don’t Stop the Music.

The inaugural Young Adult Romantic Novel award went to Caroline Green for Dark Ride, published by Piccadilly Press.

Each category winner will now go on to form the shortlist for the long-standing and hotly-contested Romantic Novel of the Year Award, which will be announced on 17th May.

Each of the titles submitted for the 2012 awards was read and awarded a mark by a panel of three independent readers from across the UK, drawn from a register of nearly 100 volunteers. These readers are not members of the RNA, but come from a wide variety of backgrounds and include all ages from 20 to 85, with a shared passion for romantic novels.

For the first time in the awards’ 52 year history, members of the public can vote for their favourite book by visiting All voters will be entered into a draw to win an iPad2.  

Also honoured at The RONAs was Karin Stoecker, Editorial Director of Harlequin Mills & Boon from 1994 – 2011. Karin was awarded the RNA’s Outstanding Achievement Award for her innovation, commitment and contribution to romance publishing.

Two further awards were presented at the champagne reception at One Whitehall Place.

The RONA Rose Award (formerly the Love Story of the Year) recognises the best in category and shorter romance and this year’s winner was Sarah Mallory for The Dangerous Lord Darrington, published by Mills & Boon.

The Harry Bowling Prize is for unpublished authors and is administered by MBA Literary Agents and generously sponsored by Harry Bowling’s publisher, Headline. Winner of the £1,000 was Natalie Lloyd-Evans for  A Dark Flowering, and runner-up Aline P’Nina Taya took home a £100 cheque for Island of Dreams.  

The Romantic Novel of the Year will be announced on 17th May 2012