A mother from St Albans as won a national writing award after impressing judges with her romantic fiction novel.

Mother -of-two, Lesley Eames, beat off competition from 120 entries to win the Festival of Romance New Talent Award, a national award to recognise writing talent in the field of romantic fiction and encourage writers hoping to find a publishing deal for their novels

Her entry ‘When Storm Clouds Rage’ impressed publishing industry judges Diane Banks of Diane Banks Literary Agency and Georgina Hawtrey-Woore from publisher Random House to win the prize.

Lesley, who is an active member of local writers group Verulam Writers' Circle,  said: “I’ve always loved writing and was particularly passionate about my entry, When Storm Clouds Rage.

"When I heard there had been more than 120 entries I thought I had little chance of winning but set out to enjoy the Festival anyway as it’s such a wonderful event.

"I was shocked and delighted to win, especially when the competition was judged by a prestigious editor and literary agent.

“It goes to show that the Festival of Romance can make dreams happen.”

Lesley has had considerable success as a writer of short fiction, with over 70 stories published in national magazines like Women's Weekly and My Weekly.