An author from One Tree Hill is set to become the next big thing in romance writing after her debut novel was published by New York published Random House.
Wendy Vella's historial romance novel The Reluctant Countess has been released as an e-book with the new digital Loveswept line.
"It's a huge honour to be published with Loveswept, which published books from many hugely popular romance authors in the 1980s and '90s and was relaunched last year as a digital-only imprint," says Vella.
Romance readers are particularly voracious consumers of e-books, says Vella.
"They like the convenience of being able to download books at any time of the day. It's exciting to be part of this new horizon of publishing. Relative to the sheer scale of the US e-book business, we're only just getting into it in New Zealand."
The Reluctant Countess is set in the Regency era, one of the most popular genres of historical romantic fiction and one that Vella loves most.
"I started writing because I ran out of stories to read and it's become a real labour of love. Now, after finishing more than ten manuscripts over the past nine years that I've been seriously writing, it's also good to get some acknowledgement that what I'm writing is regarded as publishable."
In 2010 she won the top prize for unpublished romance writers in New Zealand, the Clendon Award.
"It really made me determined to get published."
Vella, who works full-time as an administrator for Barfoot and Thompson in Point Chevalier, says it's taken plenty of determination to get where she is today.
"I write every night, and I've done that for the last nine years. My family is very supportive, they read all my books, and put up with me spending so much time at the computer."
She is currently working on her next project - a series of three books, again in the historical romance genre.
"It's such a huge part of my life now, I can't imagine not writing. My ultimate goal is to become a full-time writer, and I'm now one step closer to that dream."