Wiltshire authors Nicola Cornick and J. S. Lark have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association's 2021 Romantic Novel Awards. Both are among the six finalists in The Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award category.

The winners of the awards will be presented by actor and presenter Larry Lamb in a digital event on Monday, March 8.

Nicola Cornick, who lives near Swindon, has been shortlisted for her novel The Forgotten Sister.

The Forgotten Sister is based on the real-life historical mystery of the death of Amy Robsart, wife of Robert Dudley the favourite courtier of Queen Elizabeth I. Amy lived and died at Cumnor Hall, just outside Oxford.

Nicola said, “It’s very exciting to be shortlisted. My very first book was rejected 25 years ago for having too much mystery and suspense in it. Now at last I’ve found my niche!”

J.S. Lark, from Devizes, has been shortlisted for her novel The Twins.

J.S.Lark said, “It is very exciting to see The Twins on the shortlist. This has absolutely shattered my imposter syndrome thoughts to smithereens. For a dyslexic writer, with long-term illnesses that cause chronic fatigue, this feels like a greater achievement than it might be for others.

"I hope it will inspire other disabled authors to keep trying despite the knock-backs and challenges,” she said.

“At first, I wasn't sure about swapping genres from bodice rippers to thrillers. The plot of a thriller is more complex than working towards the happy ending everyone wants to see in a romantic bodice ripper. In the thrillers I have to trick the reader, so they think they know where the story will go, but then change it, and change it more than once; creating a maze with dead ends and secrets around the corners."