Avon to publish Edie’s Home for Strays, an uplifting wartime saga

Avon to publish Edie’s Home for Strays, an uplifting wartime saga

Gracie Taylor is a pen name for Mary Jayne Baker, who also writes as Lisa Swift. This is her first historical novel

Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, has acquired World All Language rights (including dramatic) to a new novel by Gracie Taylor in a deal with Laura Longrigg at MBA Literary Agents.

Titled Edie’s Home for Strays in the UK and Edie’s Home for Orphans in North America, the World War Two story was originally inspired by the true story of Ferne Animal Sanctuary set up by the Duchess of Hamilton, who realised that with so many going to war, a lot of animals lacked homes to take care of them.

Tilda McDonald, Senior Commissioning Editor at Avon said: ‘I cried a lot of happy tears reading Edie’s Home for Strays, which is a brilliantly uplifting, heart-warming Home Front read that will appeal to all animal lovers. Avon are proud and delighted to publish it.’

Gracie Taylor grew up in rural West Yorkshire. After university she spent time in several different cities, but eventually returned to settle in the Dales. Gracie Taylor is a pen name for author of romantic comedies Mary Jayne Baker, and uplifting women’s fiction Lisa Swift, who also won the RNA’s Romantic Comedy of the Year Award 2020. This is her first historical novel.


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A Question of Us wins romantic comedy award

I’m thrilled, honoured and frankly astounded to announce that A Question of Us has won the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Comedy of the Year 2020 Award!

The trophy was presented at a glitzy ceremony in London on 2nd March, by comedian Jenny Eclair.

I’m so proud that A Question of Us was chosen by the judges from such a strong shortlist, and very grateful to the Romantic Novelists’ Association for their efforts in supporting romance novelists and recognising excellence in the genre over the last sixty years. I could only have dreamed of winning a RoNA back when I started writing in 2015, and it’s going to take a very long time for it to sink in. It really is a dream come true!


A Question of Us shortlisted for romantic comedy award

I’m delighted to announce that one of my books has been shortlisted for the Romantic Novel Awards (RoNAs) in the Romantic Comedy of the Year category for the second year in a row.

A Question of Us centres around a West Yorkshire pub quiz team, the Mighty Morphin’ Flower Arrangers, as they compete in their town’s inter-pub quiz league. The stakes are raised when team captain Clarrie accepts a bet from her best friend Simon that if they win, she’ll go on a date with him. As victory looks increasingly likely, Clarrie is forced to question what she really wants out of life – and love…

A Question of Us is one of five finalists to make the category shortlist for romance novels that are consistently funny, with 500 entries submitted for the awards overall.

The awards ceremony will take place at the Leonardo Royal London City Hotel on 2nd March, when shortlisted authors will find out who has won in their categories. Awards will be presented by comedian Jenny Eclair. Other nominated authors include Jojo Moyes, Sophie Kinsella and Strictly Come Dancing star Anton du Beke.

Mary Jayne says: ‘I’m thrilled and honoured to see my name on the shortlist alongside so many talented people, and can’t wait to raise a glass or two to the diamond anniversary of the Romantic Novelists’ Association at the awards event. The RNA is a wonderfully supportive organisation for its members and I’m proud to be a part of it.’

Since its inception in 1960, the RNA has promoted excellence in romantic fiction. RNA Chair Alison May commented: ‘The shortlists this year show the fantastic range of romantic fiction being produced by hugely talented authors. In the RNA’s 60th year it’s heartening to see the genre in such good health, and to see such an exciting mix of established and up-and-coming writers taking romantic fiction forward into the next sixty years.’

Previous winners of the Romantic Comedy Award include heavyweights Milly Johnson, Jenny Colgan and Jill Mansell.

COVER REVEAL: A Question of Us

Click to enlarge!

I’m thrilled to reveal the gorgeous cover of my next book, A Question of Us!

A Question of Us tells the story of best friends Clarrie and Simon as they battle to win their town’s pub quiz league – and find themselves reassessing their feelings for one another into the bargain. The blurb is given below.

Two best friends. Eight pub quizzes. One shot at love…

There are some people who seem like they have all the answers in life. Clarrie Midwinter isn’t one of them.

At the age of 26, tomboy Clarrie is still struggling to become a ‘proper’ grown-up. She’s eternally strapped for cash, she hasn’t had a date in nearly a year and her attempts to quit smoking tend to take a nosedive after the second pint. Most annoyingly of all, her ladykiller best friend Simon just won’t stop asking her out. The only thing keeping her sane is her pub quiz team, the Mighty Morphin Flower Arrangers.

But when Simon bets her a date their team will win the quiz league, Clarrie is forced to confront what she really wants out of life – and love. Is it finally time for her to grow up?

Gloriously irreverent, badly behaved romantic comedy from the author of Meet Me at the Lighthouse.

A Question of Us will be published by Aria Fiction on 5th September 2019.