Interested in trying your hand at writing romantic fiction? What better way to get started than by writing a short story and entering *The Sophie King Prize*
This romantic fiction short story competition aims to discover a great new romance short story. The winning story will be chosen by best-selling novelist and short story writer Sophie King.
The competition is free to enter, and is open to both published and unpublished writers worldwide. The winning story will be recorded by a professional actor, and broadcast from a dedicated online audio player. The winner will also receive a pair of Silver-Plated Life Long Champagne Chalices and £50 (approx $79) gift voucher courtesy of www.handpickedcollection.com. One runner up will receive a £25 (approx $39) gift Handpicked Collection voucher.
The Sophie King Prize is now open for entries. Entrants must submit a short story of between 1,500 to 2,500 words with a romantic theme. The submissions deadline is January 10th 2014 and the winner will be announced on February 14th 2014.
To enter, go to: www.thesophiekingprize.com
I was really keen to find out how Sophie started writing and what inspired her in the early days. Here's what she said...
Nearly sixteen years ago, before any of my novels were published, I entered a short story competition run by The Lady magazine. I had never entered one before and - even though I was earning my living as a journalist - I was beginning to despair about getting my fiction into print. Even so, I thought I'd have a go...
I took inspiration from a then-recent family holiday, when we arrived back at Gatwick and saw lots of drivers holding placards for arriving passengers. It made me wonder what would happen if a confused little old lady pretended she was one of those names. But how would she get away with it?
Then it came to me, while walking the dog later on in the week. What if a family were expecting a great-aunt from Australia, whom they'd never met? And supposing the old lady wasn't confused at all but quite calculating, in a good way. She is on a mission to help families get on with each other - and it so happened that this argumentative family needed help...The old lady also needed somewhere to stay!
She was indeed able to knit the warring personalities together and help everyone get on.The family loved her! But how was I going to end this?
Another walk and another idea. A week after the great-aunt left, the real one turned up, apologising for being delayed. At the same time, the family received a note from the imposter, apologising for her little trick. It ended with the family adopting the first 'great aunt, who was much nicer than the first!
I've gone into detail because I was later told that the combination of the twists, warmth, humour and unusual characters helped me to come second in the competition! Part of the prize was lunch with the judges, Rosamunde Pilcher, Arthur Hailey and the then-editor of The Lady, Arline Usden (as well as the winner).
It was a day I will never forget! Not only did I meet two famous authors but I also had my self-esteem boosted. During my subsequent search for an agent, I was then able to mention the prize.
Not long after that, I did indeed get taken on by an agent who secured me my first novel deal: The School Run, published by Hodder & Stoughton. My ninth novel (under my other pen name Janey Fraser) comes out next May and my latest Sophie King ebook, Second Time Lucky, is just out too.
Since then, I have always encouraged others to enter competitions. Even if you don't win, there's always next time. It also gives you a goal...
Sophie King x
You can find out more about Sophie at her website, www.sophieking.info .