Local author named finalist in romance writing contest

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Merry Simmons’ book “Song of the Nightpiper” has been selected as a finalist for the 2018 Romance Writers of America Rita Award.

The Rita, which recognizes excellence in published romance novels and novellas and is named for the RWA’s first president, Rita Clay Estrada, is considered the highest award of distinction in the romance publishing industry.

“I’m incredibly honored to be nominated for this award,” Simmons said. “Since over a third of all fiction that’s published falls within the romance genre, the competition is keen. There are a lot of really good books out there. My being chosen proves you’re never too old to chase your dreams.”

Simmons was a real estate broker for First Wilson Properties for many years. After her retirement she got serious about her writing. Initially she wrote fantasy and science fiction short stories, many of which appeared in major genre magazines.

After shifting to novel form, she changed her emphasis to romance.

“It’s all about the happily-ever-after ending,” she said. “We’re pretty much inundated with less-than-happy stories every time we read or watch the news. I wanted to write something that left the reader feeling good.”

“Nightpiper” is a fantasy romance set in an imagined Medieval milieu, she said.

“I got to do a lot of world-building, but I hope I illuminated contemporary concerns in a way that will give the reader different perspectives on problems they face every day.”

Simmons, who writes under the name Hannah Meredith, said she plans to attend the Rita Award presentation at the RWA annual conference planned July 18-21 in Denver.

“Song of the Nightpiper” by Hannah Meredith is a 370-page paperback released in July 2017 by Singing Spring Press. The book retails for $13.99 on Amazon.com.