London romance writer's self-published novel earning international recognition

Despite being an established name in the romance genre, Jenny Holiday's self-published novel 'Famous' was roundly rejected by publishers. Now, it's up for a 2018 RITA award.

"Famous" by London author Jenny Holiday up for an award at the 2018 RITA awards

Novelist Jenny Holiday is up for a RITA, the highest award in the romance writing industry, for her book Famous. (Kate Stasyna)

It was a book that was rejected by several publishers. But now, a novel described as a 'fun side project' is being recognized by the romance publishing industry.

London romance writer Jenny Holiday is the author of Famous - a Hollywood starlet who rekindles a spark with an old flame in small town Iowa.

The book is a finalist in the Contemporary Romance: Long category at the annual RITA awards, a ceremony held by the Romance Writers of America that recognizes the romance publishing industry.

'Rejected across the board'

Holiday told CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive that she finds the nomination "kind of funny", as she wasn't able to find a publisher to release Famous, despite being an established name in the genre.

"This book was rejected across the board, which was an interesting lesson because even once you're 'successful', you face rejection," she said.

"Normally, what I would've done is just set (the book) aside. But this story kind of stuck with me, so I decided to self-publish it."

Holiday plans to travel to Denver for the awards ceremony in July.

She says she's nervous about the possibility of winning, and is looking forward to the ceremony and meeting some of the other nominees.

"Everyone always says it's an honour just to be nominated, but I actually mean it."

Listen to the full interview with Afternoon Drive host Chris dela Torre:


Chris dela Torre

Host of The Homestretch

Chris dela Torre is the host of The Homestretch on CBC Radio One in Calgary. He is the former host of Afternoon Drive in southwestern Ontario, and has guesthosted several national CBC programs, including q, The Story From Here and Mornings on CBC Music.