A TEACHER and novelist has been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association's prestigious Romantic Novel Awards.

Marie Laval, from Rawtenstall, is one of five finalists in the Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award category with her novel Escape to the Little Chateau, published by Choc Lit.

Marie was inspired to write Escape to the Little Chateau during a family holiday in the South of France a few years ago.

She said, “Provence is a wonderful setting for a novel. There are so many hill-top villages and old farmhouses, lavender and sunflower fields, and ancient Roman and Gallic ruins.

“It was a joy to research the historical background for the story, to learn about the ancient Gallic tribes and their gods and rituals, although some of them are pretty gruesome!”

Marie has written short stories her whole life, from growing up in Lyon in France, and after coming to live in England, but she will always remember being inspired after attending a writing workshop organised by Calderdale Libraries.

When she’s not writing, Marie teaches French in secondary school and sixth-form college. Writing is her escape into an imaginary romantic world.

The winners of the awards will be presented by actor and presenter Larry Lamb in a digital event on Monday, March 8.