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Jane's delight as her debut novel up for award

It’s double celebrations for Spalding author Jane Lacey-Crane, whose debut novel – which is out now – has been nominated for a prestigious national award.

Jane’s book ‘Secrets and Tea at Rosie Lee’s’, published by Aria Fiction, is among the contenders for The Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) Joan Hessayon Award for new writers, the winner of which is set to be announcedon Thursday.

She is absolutely delighted with the nomination for her work, which is set in London’s East End and follows the story of Abby Cowan, a woman

approaching 40 and fighting a serious case of empty nest syndrome.

At a time of upheaval, Abby is faced with ghosts from her past and another chance at love – if she’s brave enough to take it.

Jane, who grew up in the East End and based many of her characters on the people she met there, said the nomination for her debut is the

icing on the cake.

“It’s all very exciting – and also very scary, that people, other than my family and friends can read my book,” she said.

“I’ve always loved writing stories, even as a child.

“My dad found a collection of old school exercise books recently, which were all full of half-started stories.

“And that’s always been my problem; I always started writing them but never finished anything.

“It’s taken me about three years to get to this point, but I’m really looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks of my book.”

Jane, a member of the Spalding writers’ group The Red Wine Writers, has previously had her short stories published in the group’s anthology, but decided to write a novel after coming up with an idea for a competition run by the Lorraine TV show.

“I’ve always been keen to write romance – although I would say this story has a little bit of everything including drama – and I’ve always been a big fan of Mills and Boon novels,” says mum-of-two Jane, who is married to Jason.

“Although I didn’t get anywhere with the Lorraine competition, I just thought this idea could really go somewhere, I had all the characters and knew what I wanted to say.”

After completing her manuscript Jane submitted it to the RNA’s new writers’ scheme and after feedback she re-wrote it before setting about finding a publisher.

She now has a three-book deal with Aria Fiction and is currently working on her second novel, which if all goes to plan will be released before Christmas.

“Seventeen people have been nominated for the RNA award; to make the shortlist is just fantastic,” she added.

“I really don’t expect to win; just to be nominated is the icing on the cake.”

• Secrets and Tea at Rosie Lee’s is available to buy from Amazon now.

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