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Petts Wood author in line for top romantic novel award

PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 February 2020

Kerry has her fingers crossed for success. Picture: Kerry Barrett

Kerry has her fingers crossed for success. Picture: Kerry Barrett

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An author from Petts Wood has been shortlisted for the 2020 Romantic Novel Awards.

Kerry Barrett is in the running for the Romantic Novelists' Association's prestigious annual prize.

Now in its 60th year, the event will be hosted by television personality, writer and performer Jenny Eclair on March 2.

Kerry is one of eight finalists in The Goldsboro Books Historical Romantic Novel category with her book The Hidden Women, published by HQ Digital.

It tells the story of Lilian Miles who joins the Air Transport Auxiliary in the Second World War intending to fly planes and forget her troubled past. Can handsome mechanic Will Bates help her move on? In 2018, Helena is researching for a TV show when she stumbles on a family mystery. Is Lil's secret about to be revealed?

Speaking of the inspiration for her novel, Kerry said: "I got the idea for The Hidden Women when I heard one of the pilots on the radio talking about her time in the ATA. My grandma was in the WAAF during the war and her stories have stayed with me. When I was writing Lilian's story, I could imagine Lil being friends with my grandma.

"My background is in writing about television - soaps particularly - and I have learned so much about plotting and character from Corrie, Emmerdale, and EastEnders."

She added: "I'm so thrilled to be shortlisted and it really means a lot that people have read and enjoyed my story. While Lilian is fictional, the incredibly brave female pilots of the ATA were real and I loved hearing their tales while researching the book."

The RNA's awards are the only national literary prizes that recognise excellence in the genre of romantic fiction.

In 2020 they comprise the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award, the Goldsboro Books Historical Romantic Novel Award, the Romantic Comedy Novel Award, the Sapere Books Popular Romantic Fiction Award, the Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thrillers, the Romantic Saga Award, the Fantasy Romantic Novel Award, the Libertà Shorter Romantic Novel Award and the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award.

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