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Nailsea has such talent in the arts and prowess on the sports field but one of our top talents is for literature.

And one of our most prolific writers who started penning her novels from her former home in Porlock Gardens was under the pen name of Louise Douglas.

Now the North Somerset author, Louise Douglas, has been shortlisted in the Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award category with her novel, The Secret of Villa Alba, for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) annual Romantic Novel Awards for 2024.

The awards celebrate excellence in romantic fiction in all its forms.

Nailsea People has reviewed many of Lousie's past 12 published books but sadly this one is in the queue stacked up on a bedside table!

A previous work of fiction is here

Louise Douglas writes contemporary Gothic novels, often set in and around the Somerset countryside where she lives.

She's passionate about books, art, animals and the natural world. She has three grown-up sons, and lives with avid sports fan Kevin and tennis-ball mad Luna the Collie.

She said: "It feels a true privilege to be part of such an amazing shortlist for this award from the amazing Romantic Novelists' Association.

“Jackie Collins' novels have been a huge inspiration to me, and I couldn't be prouder and more delighted.”

RNA chairperson Jean Fullerton said: “Yet again the amazing, shortlisted books in our annual Romantic Novel of the Year Awards are conclusive proof, if it were needed, that the Romantic genre is going from strength to strength.”  

And RNA awards coordinator Sharon Ibbotson said: "As the romance novel genre moves from strength to strength, the work of our reader-judges to choose the Romantic Novelists' Associations' books of the year grows ever more difficult.

"However, despite the challenge of their task, this year they have chosen a wonderful shortlist of books which reflect the strength, passion and dedication their authors have woven into their novels."I am delighted for all of our shortlisted authors this year, and proud of our reader-judges for their dedicated work."

The award categories are as follows:

  • fantasy romantic novel award

  • Jackie Collins award for romantic thrillers (sponsored by Simon & Schuster UK)

  • debut romantic novel award,(sponsored by ProWritingAid)

  • Christmas/festive holiday romantic novel award

  • shorter romantic novel award

  • romantic saga award

  • romantic comedy award

  • historical romantic novel award

  • contemporary romantic novel award

  • popular romantic fiction award (voted for by librarians, booksellers and book bloggers/reviewers and readers)

Sicilian secrets by North Somerset writer

Leslie book cover.png

BOOK ORDER: The Secret of Villa Alba is the story of Irene Borgata who disappears from a broken-down car on a remote Sicilian mountain road months after the area was devastated by an earthquake. What really happened to Enzo Borgata's lively young wife? A story of love, loyalty, secrets, truth and lies. £12.99 from

The awards, which have been held since their inception in 1960, are highly respected in the UK publishing industry.

Previous winners include Santa Montefiore, Joe Heap, Julie Cohen and Milly Johnson.

The awards are judged entirely by readers, without input from any industry professionals.   

The winners of the awards will be announced during the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Novel Awards ceremony, which is being held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel in London on Monday, May 20, at 6:30pm

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