Three Kiwi Authors Honoured by Romance Writers of NZ

Labour of Love – Three Kiwi Authors Honoured

loves a happy ending – the ragged peasant girl finding her
prince, high school sweethearts rekindling their romance
after decades of separation. This emotional satisfaction and
optimism of a happily ever after is what fuels the billion-
dollar industry of romance fiction. For three Kiwi romance
writers; Maddie Jane, Jayne Castel, and Brynn Kelly this
happy ending came in the form of the Koru Published Book
Award given by Romance Writers of New Zealand at its annual
conference in August.

The Koru is based on the shape of an
unfurling frond of the silver fern and is often used in
Maori art to symbolise new creation, so is particularly
suited to an award for fiction writing. The award is given
annually to a New Zealand or Australian author who has
published a book of romantic fiction.

The contest is
divided into categories: short sweet romance, short sexy
romance, long romance, and first book. The contest is 100%
reader judged by romance readers, who are not authors. Each
book is read by three different readers and scored according
to a score sheet.

“I wanted to see if my work was good
enough to get into the finals,” said Jayne Castel, a
Dunedin based writer whose Italian Undercover
contemporary romantic suspense set in Rome won
the short sexy romance category. “It’s good to get
validation about your work … gives you the drive to

Castel has been writing romance since 2012
and said she was delighted when her entry was announced as a

Christchurch author Maddie Jane’s Backpack
and a Red Dress, a
contemporary romance about a lonely
girl looking for love, family, and the perfect dress took
home the award for short and sweet romance and was the
highest scorer for first published book. “Backpack and a
Red Dress was the first book I ever…

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