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The Loveswept imprint of Random House Inc., one of the top six US publishers, has published the debut novel of Auckland writer Wendy Vella.
It’s a dream come true for Vella, whose historical romance novel set in the Regency era, The Reluctant Countess, was released on 14 January 2013 in e-book format through Random House’s specialist romance digital book line.
“It’s a huge honour to be published with Loveswept, which published books from many hugely popular romance authors in the 1980s and ‘90s and was relaunched last year as a digital-only imprint,” says Vella.
Vella is the first New Zealander to be published with the new digital Loveswept line and the profile and reach of the ‘Romance and Random’ portal which includes Loveswept will be a key component in Vella establishing her career as an author.
Vella is delighted to join the growing ranks of digital authors because e-books sales continue to grow; partway through 2012, a report from the Association of American Publishers (AAP) showed that, for the first time, net sales revenue from e-books exceeded that of hardcover books in the first quarter of the year [Ref 1].
Romance readers are particularly voracious consumers of e-books, says Vella. “They like the convenience of being able to download books at any time of the day. It’s exciting to be part of this new horizon of publishing. Relative to the sheer scale of the US e-book business, we’re only just getting into it in New Zealand.”
Vella’s novel is set in the Regency era, one of the most popular genres of historical romantic fiction and one that Vella loves most.
“I started writing because I ran out of stories to read and it’s become a real labour of love. Now, after finishing more than ten manuscripts over the past nine years that I’ve been seriously writing, it’s also good to get some acknowledgement that what I’m writing is regarded as publishable by an editor of Sue Grimshaw’s calibre. Sue is the category specialist and editor at large for Random House’s subsidiary Ballantine Bantam Dell which includes Loveswept.”
Vella has worked hard at developing her craft, making the most of opportunities for learning afforded by being a member of the Romance Writers of New Zealand (RWNZ). In 2010 she won the top prize for unpublished romance writers in New Zealand, the Clendon Award.
“It really made me determined to get published.”
Grimshaw was seeking new authors for the Loveswept line and attended the RWNZ conference in Auckland in 2011; she loved Vella’s book and since then Vella has had plenty more new things to learn around the business of being an author.
“Sue accepted my book really quickly after the conference. It was a whirlwind ride. I had an editor and a publisher, and then found a US agent very quickly after that.”
Vella, who works full-time as an administrator for Barfoot and Thompson in Point Chevalier, says it’s taken a huge amount a determination to get where she is today.
“I write every night, and I’ve done that for the last nine years. My family is very supportive, they read all my books, and put up with me spending so much time at the computer.”
She is currently working on her next project – a series of three books, again in the historical romance genre. “It’s such a huge part of my life now, I can’t imagine not writing. My ultimate goal is to become a full-time writer, and I’m now one step closer to that dream.”