Wednesday 16 May 2018

Write Your Own Love Story with @eHarmonyUK and @TrapezeBooks #YourLoveStories @KatieVEBrown

Write your own Love Story with Eharmony

As part of eharmony’s 10th anniversary celebrations, Trapeze Books and eharmony are launching a creative writing competition to find the next great love story.

The competition will tie-in with eharmony’s anniversary Love Stories campaign, which aims to highlight real couples’ diverse love stories.

Entrants are asked to submit the first 5,000 words of a love story accompanied by a synopsis and a short biography, with the winner being offered a publishing contract with Trapeze worth £10,000, as well as mentoring from Trapeze author Anna Stuart. 

The shortlisted entries will be judged by agents and editors from C+W Agency and Trapeze Books, representatives from eharmony, as well as journalist and editor, Sarah Shaffi.

Submissions are open from 16th May 2018 with a deadline of 30th July 2018. The shortlist will be announced on the 1st October 2018 and the winner announced in November 2018.

Sue Armstrong, agent at C+W says: “I’m delighted to be a part of this competition and very much hope we find not just a powerful love story but an exceptional new voice in fiction. I’ll be looking for great storytelling, vivid characters and emotional impact whether it’s gothic, contemporary, speculative, grounded, romantic or dark. All love stories are welcome.”

Sam Eades, editor at Trapeze Books says: “I can’t wait to find the next great love story, and cannot think of better partners than C+W and eharmony. From high-concept contemporary romances like The Time Traveller’s Wife through to darker tales of obsessive love in Wuthering Heights, I’m looking for a timeless tale that will appeal to the widest possible audience.”

Rachael Lloyd, Senior PR & Communications Manager at eharmony says: “We’re thrilled to have played a role in creating thousands of new love stories for couples who have met on eharmony over the last 10 years. We’re also committed to bringing more lasting love to the world and welcome the opportunity to team up with C+W and Trapeze Books to find the next great love story.”

Sarah Shaffi says: “I love sinking into a good romance novel; there's nothing better if you want to lose yourself in another world for a few hours. I'm looking for great characters and a story that drives me to carry on reading, and I'm after warmth and happiness, even if a few tears have to be shed along the way. I'm really keen to see stories that are often ignored or left untold, and can't wait to see what writers come up with.”

Anna Stuart, author says: “Romance is, surely, at the heart of life as without human connections we are lost. I’m fascinated by love in all its wonderful guises and am delighted at the way our modern world can explore so many varied and unique human relationships. I will be looking for a novel that really gets to the heart of what it is to love and be loved, however that comes about, and cannot wait to join eharmony and Trapeze in finding a great new romance novel.”

Katie Brown, editor at Trapeze Books added: “I am particularly eager to find stories that honestly represent all different kinds of love and relationships, so eharmony’s campaign to celebrate real couples’ diverse love stories felt like the perfect match.”

Writers must submit the first 5,000 words of a novel, a 500-word synopsis plus a short bio to by midnight on Monday 30 July 2018. We can only accept entries sent to this email address by the deadline.

Trapeze is a new imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, publishing books that start conversations.

Their authors include Sharon Bolton, Cara Delevingne, Jem Lester, Sarah Millican and Madeleine Shaw.

eharmony launched in the UK in 2008 with a clear vision: to create more lasting love in the world. The experts behind eharmony are committed to helping singles find the best possible partner, using scientific research and psychology to determine key personality traits. Prior to launch, the brand invested in further extensive research into love and relationships, conducted in partnership with Oxford University’s Internet Institute to develop UK relationship-compatibility models. Today eharmony, fondly known as ‘the brains behind the butterflies’, proudly serves almost 70 million members globally, and has amassed 5m registered users since launching in Britain. Find out more at

C+W is one of London’s leading literary agencies representing a variety of prize-winning and bestselling writers. Committed to uncovering new voices and developing and supporting their authors’ long-term careers with dedication, verve and dynamism. C+W Agency

Sarah Shaffi is a freelance books journalist. She is editor-at-large for Little Tiger Group, reviews for Stylist, is co-founder of BAME in Publishing and is books editor for PHOENIX. She was previously online editor and producer for The Bookseller. Sarah can be found tweeting @sarahshaffi.


Katie Brown, editor at Trapeze books, recommends some of her favourite contemporary love stories.

HIS DARK MATERIALS by Philip Pullman: this is not what you expect when you think about a love story, but I wanted to include it as testament to the fact that love stories can exist in so many different guises. There is so much love in this book: Lyra and Iorek Byrnison, Lyra and Pantalaimon, Will and his father, and Lyra and Will to name but a few examples. And that ending… *heart breaks*

WHY BE HAPPY WHEN YOU COULD BE NORMAL by Jeanette Winterson: this searing memoir is etched in my psyche, and again, not necessarily a book you would describe as being a love story. However, Jeanette’s love for reading, learning and life and the battles she overcame with her family and her social circumstances, are inspirational, and show what love for something can drive.

A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J. Maas: something a bit raunchier, the Court of Thorns and Roses series is incredibly satisfying for both SFF and romance fans. My favourite in the series is A Court of Mist and Fury, and the sexual tension will leave you ready to burst.

TIN MAN by Sarah Winman: a great in the making, this novel captures the complexities of relationships, depicts the many layers of love and breaks the reader’s heart with its portrayal of loss and grief. This quote is one of my favourites:
“And I wonder what the sound of a heart breaking might be. And I think it might be quiet, unperceptively so, and not dramatic at all. Like the sound of an exhausted swallow falling gently to earth.”

SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL by Giovanna Fletcher: an unusual choice for a list like this, as the book opens with a break-up. For me though, it was all about the love Lizzie re-discovered for herself and for the things in life that truly brought her joy.

THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern: one of my favourite novels of all time. The dark magic at play, a love doomed to fail and the beautifully executed imagery and world-building. The lure of the circus reaches beyond the page meaning I have to keep going back to this.

SEVEN DAYS OF US by Francesca Hornak: I devoured this over the Christmas break and was sobbing my heart out by the end of it! Ultimately, it was the love of family that helped each of them to heal and to overcome their differences.

SORCERER TO THE CROWN by Zen Cho: again, a little different to what you might expect, but what I loved about this historical fantasy is that the love story never overwhelmed the narrative or became the focus for our heroine; her journey existed outside of the romantic relationship. Plus it was feminist and bad-ass.

SOMEWHERE CLOSE TO HAPPY by Lia Louis: full disclosure, this is one of mine, but I just love it so much I wanted to include it! It’s about a young woman, Lizzie, who receives a letter from her first love, dated the day he went missing, 12 years before. It is such a satisfying read about friendship and self-discovery, as well as moving forward with your life. It’s not out until next year but it’s definitely one to watch!

And a bonus ‘classic’ book recommendation from Sam Eades, Editorial Director at Trapeze:

GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell: a sweeping and epic love story with an irresistible hero in Scarlett O’Hara. Gone with the Wind shows that the course of love doesn’t always run smoothly, and that your main characters can be difficult and yet still loveable!

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