Rising Star Award Winners 2017

September 23, 2017 5:00 AM EDT to September 23, 2018 5:00 PM EDT


Women’s Fiction Writers Association

Announces Winners of Rising Star Award for Unpublished Women’s Fiction

First Place Winner: Sheri Taylor-Emery

Second Place Winner: Lainey Cameron

Third Place Winner: Rebecca Hodge

Albuquerque, New Mexico – September 22, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the winners of the fourth annual Rising Star Award given to authors of unpublished women’s fiction. Women’s fiction is defined as layered stories in which the plot is driven by the main character's emotional journey.

The Rising Star Winner is Sheri Taylor-Emery for The Fifty-Week Wife. Taylor-Emery lives in Snellville, GA. Her book is about a woman who, in lieu of a suicide note, leaves behind a freshly-baked pie and a journal. Police Constable Iris Weild must separate fact from fiction as she reads the story of the woman’s sacrifice for her husband’s eventual happiness, and of her love affair with a man no one in town has ever seen.

The Rising Star Second Place is awarded to Lainey Cameron for her book Exit Strategy. Cameron lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.She writes about the not-so-subtle sexist world of Silicon Valley. When a venture capitalist faces her husband’s mistress across the negotiating table, she must learn to work with her, or jeopardize both their careers. 

“I’m incredibly fortunate and grateful to be helped by other writers at WFWA,” said Cameron. “The organization is so welcoming and supportive for a new writer who is building their community and career.”

The Rising Star Third Place goes to Rebecca Hodge who wrote Margin of Safety. Hodge lives in Raleigh, NC. Her story is about Kat Jamison who escapes to the rugged Blue Ridge Mountains to avoid her daughter, doctors, and difficult decisions regarding the reality of her grim cancer prognosis. When she and two children are trapped in a raging forest fire, instead of accepting her death, Kat must discover a fire inside herself—a burning will to survive.  

“WFWA is a group that supports and defines the genre of women’s fiction, so an honor from this group is particularly meaningful and valued,” said Hodge.

"The Rising Star Award contestants have proven once again the depth and breadth of the women's fiction genre, from contemporary to historical, mainstream to literary, realistic to paranormal, and everything in between," said M.M. Finck, Rising Star Award Chair. “My favorite email from this award season came from one of our agent-judges. ‘The biggest problem I have is that all of the entries are good!’ Five requests for full manuscripts were made before the final results were even tallied.”

Christine Adler, WFWA President, said, “Each year, the caliber of writing submitted to the contest gets better. It’s a testament to the quality of women’s fiction that the contest has become known for, and we’re proud to offer this opportunity to writers.”

The WFWA Rising Star Award is open to all unpublished manuscripts of women’s fiction, regardless of the authors’ membership in WFWA. Each entry consists of the first 35 pages of the manuscript and a synopsis. A maximum of 75 entries were initially assessed and scored by three published authors of women’s fiction. The five top scoring manuscripts moved to the final round where they were judged by literary agents actively acquiring women’s fiction. The winners were announced at the 2017 WFWA Retreat Awards Dinner.

Final round judges were Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency; Carly Watters of P.S. Literary; Laura Rothschild of RO Literary; Sandra O'Donnell of RO Literary and Nalini Akolekar of Spencer Hill Associates. 

Further details of the Rising Star Award can be found here