Stanley mum wins Mills & Boon writing competition

Rachel Dove with her Mills and Boon book.
Picture: Debbie Hudson Photography.

Rachel Dove with her Mills and Boon book. Picture: Debbie Hudson Photography.

A mum-of-two has swapped the classroom for romantic literature after winning a Mills & Boon competition.

Rachel Dove, 34, spotted a promotion for a one-book deal in women’s magazine Prima and took the plunge.

The former teacher, from Bottom Boat, Stanley, won the ‘Flirty Fiction’ challenge and her debut novel ‘The Chic Boutique on Baker St’ went on sale yesterday.

Mrs Dove said: “Beating over 300 other amateur authors to win the Mills & Boon and Prima Flirty Fiction competition has been a dream from start to finish. Working closely with the editors at the leading romance publishers Mills & Boon was a fantastic experience and helped me turn The Chic Boutique into my first novel – I’m itching to get started on the next now!”

Things have come full circle for Mrs Dove who has been an avid reader of Mills and Boon for many years.

She said: “Romantic fiction is my love. I’ve read it since I was probably too young to read it. I used to ‘steal’ books from my mum and grandmother to read them.” The writer, who is part of the Inkslingers writing group, set her own tale in the fictional town of Westfield, which is a combination of Wakefield and Howarth - two of Mrs Dove’s favourite places.

Her book, in a nutshell, is about sparks flying between the golden boy of the village and a boutique owner. The resident gossip is determined to play matchmaker but are the couple ideally suited?

The novel has drawn praise from Prima. Her book has been described as a ‘must read for spring’ and Mrs Dove has been dubbed Mills & Boon’s hottest new writing talent.

Judge and Mills & Boon Editor Anna Baggaley said: “Working with Rachel has been a pleasure, she’s a real talent as she combined all the vital elements needed to create a feel-good romance novel. Her heart-warming, romantic story is set in an idyllic Yorkshire village and is full of lovable characters and laugh-out-loud moments - I’m sure it’ll be very popular indeed!”

The professionals have purred with praise, but what did her family think of it?

Mrs Dove said: “My grandmother has read the book. She said, ‘It’s so well written that I can’t believe you have written it. She’s my harshest critic!”

To get a copy of Mrs Dove’s book visit: www.millsandboon.co.uk/p46867/the-chic-boutique-on-baker-street.htm