The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award is a contest for writers and self-published authors in two broad categories, General fiction and Young Adult, with 5000 entries for each. I am so pleased that A Love Rekindled beat out the rest to emerge one of the 1,000 that have been selected. The Award includes a round-trip all expenses paid to New York, a Prize worth $15,000 as an advance to a book deal with Penguin, and publicity through Amazon when the book is released. This is the second round (where Amazon editors reviewed 300 word pitches), and by March 22nd, we'll find out if A Love Rekindled made it into the Quarter Finals (where Amazon top customer reviewers rate 5,000 word excerpts). To all those who made it, Congratulations! This is so exciting. My heart is racing, but I'm taking deep breaths. Below is the pitch, I hope the excerpt does a good job too!
Efe returns to Nigeria after years in the United States, dreaming of a happy, independent life. However, everyone expects her to get married, and her nights become plagued by nightmares of Kevwe, her ex-fiancé. Long hours at work and drinking in nightclubs only provide temporary relief. Then Efe encounters Kevwe’s twin brother, and knows it’s a matter of time before Kevwe is back in her life. Sparks fly when they finally meet again, but desire is no match for bitter-sweet memories of first love and heartbreak. For seven years, Efe believed she was rejected; now Kevwe claims she abandoned him after a crippling car accident. Efe had no knowledge of the crash, and blames his family’s unwarranted hatred of her ethnicity for their separation. Stuck at a crossroads, Kevwe prefers to look to the future, pledging he’s never stopped loving her. Efe does not want to lose him, yet she needs the traumatic events of the past resolved before she gives in to rekindled love.
A LOVE REKINDLED is mainstream romance. The story entertains, is emotionally engaging, and provides a window into another culture, place and people. I’m Nigerian and decided to showcase local characters in loving relationships through this novel. I also witnessed ethnic violence in Warri and thought this topical issue could be explored in fiction. Love stories cut across race, class and geography, and adult mainstream and romance readers will want to see how Efe and Kevwe overcome romantic conflict. African romance is – internationally - an unexplored niche that has the potential to be richly rewarding. My first novel, a self-published Nigerian romance, was very well received, and has garnered a substantial following on blogger, Facebook and Twitter. It was also subsequently published, to good reviews, in Nigeria. If you’re interested in more information about this contest, go to: http://www.amazon.com/abna.