Irish author joins Rowling as a Book of Year winner

Carmel Harrington

By Shelley Marsden

WEXFORD author Carmel Harrington has been announced as the winner of the Annual 2013 Kindle Book Awards.  

Previous winners of the international award include J K Rowling’s novel The Casual Vacancy and E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, the latter currently being made into a Hollywood film.

Beyond Grace’s Rainbow (Harper Collins) competed against two hundred and sixty-two titles over the year and attracted more than 1,000 votes.

Author Carmel told the Irish World: “I feel incredibly honoured to now be included in the same sentence as both successful authors JK Rowling and El James. To be honest, it’s quite overwhelming; I could not have dreamed this for myself.

“In particular, JK is one of my literary heroes. I loved the Harry Potter series and The Casual Vacancy.  I can only aspire to have even a smidgen of the success she has had.  I am very grateful that people have taken my story to their hearts – I will work very hard to ensure that my next book doesn’t disappoint.”

Beyond Grace’s Rainbow, which has now won four awards, tells the story of young single mother Grace Devlin, who is diagnosed with cancer and must find a bone marrow transplant from a family member – except she is adopted. Her search brings her from her home in Dublin to Wexford where she uncovers a web of secrets that has spanned over thirty years.

Though her debut has been called a ‘tearjerker’, Carmel believes it is an ultimately life-affirming read, and critics would seem to agree.

She said: “There are some serious themes – cancer, adoption, alcoholism, but there is also a lot of humour weaved throughout Grace’s story, from the interaction she has with her gang of friends.  This novel is about love and friendship and a courageous fight for survival and truth.”

Managing Director of The Book Awards, Peter Lihou said: “2013 has been an epic year for The Book Awards and I’m simply delighted that such a worthy title has made it to the winning post.

“Most of the nominated books enjoy warm support but for Beyond Grace’s Rainbow the enthusiasm has reached boiling point. It takes a very special book to get so many people to go online and vote in such numbers. A very worthy winner.”

Carmel’s second novel Sleep Of Dreams has already been finished and is due to be published in June. She is currently working on book three.

She explained: “The third book is actually a sequel to Beyond Grace’s Rainbow.  I hadn’t initially planned a sequel, but fans have asked what happens next for ‘the gang’, so I feel I have to answer that.  It’s a lot of fun writing about these characters again, as they feel like family to me.”

The Book Awards are the only international awards that are open to all titles distributed in Kindle or Printed formats by sites around the world.  During 2013, over 20,600 voters from across the globe voted for their favourite novel.

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