Rhoda Baxter, from East Riding, writing under the Pen Name, Jeevani Charika, has been Highly Commended in the Page Turner Awards for her eBook, A Convenient Marriage.
Rhoda, a scientist and a mum of two young kids who is a big fan of cake and Lego, entered the Page Turner Awards, where published and unpublished fiction and non-fiction writers of all genres can enter their writing to get discovered by high-profile judges from the literary world.
A Convenient Marriage is about a gay man and a straight woman who get married to appease their families. They are the ultimate power couple... until they fall in love with other people.
Jeevani was inspired to write this story when she heard the story about a man who felt trapped between the man he loved and his wife and kids, whom he also loved.
At the time (this was in the 90s) a lot of her own friends were getting married - either through falling in love or through arranged marriages. These two ideas streams collided and one day a charming gay man, who needed a wife, appeared in one of her creative writing exercises. From there the story of the friendship between anxiety ridden Chaya and her gay-but-closeted husband Gimhana arose.
Jeevani wrote this book because she loved reading commercial fiction, but rarely saw brown people like herself as protagonists.
She started submitting it to agents in the late 2000s and got a lot of rejections that came with encouraging notes about how they liked it but didn't know where it would fit.
Jeevani then switched to writing books with white protagonists, which were published under the pen name Rhoda Baxter. But she kept plugging away with that first book, tweaking it, and submitting it. Eventually, she and her agent found a publisher who would take it. It was finally published in 2019 by Hera books as her seventh traditionally published book.
The first time she got a review from a South East Asian reviewer who said she finally felt ‘seen’, it made Jeevani cry. She's very glad she persevered.
Jeevani said, “The Page Turner awards is a fantastic opportunity for writers to get their work seen by a wider audience. As a reader, you get to discover new-to-you writers and help support them by voting for their stories. I'm so excited and surprised to be Highly Commended. It's such a great opportunity for all writers!”
Read more about Jeevani and her book: https://pageturnerawards.com/ebook-award-finalists/rhoda-baxter-jeevani-charika
The Page Turner Awards, sponsored by ProWritingAid, gives writers and authors the chance to enter unpublished or published fiction and non-fiction books, where a group of literary agents and publishers will read the work.
Judges are carefully selected literary agents and publishers who are looking for writers to represent and publish, plus influencers in the publishing industry.
Founder of Page Turner Awards and award-winning novelist, Paula Wynne said: “There are writers from all walks of life, from manual laborers to academics. All with stories to tell, most of them heart-warming and moving. We’re proud that our Awards celebrates excellent writing and helps writers and authors to get their stories discovered.”
Success stories from this year’s awards include three writers winning literary representation, six writers winning a writing mentorship, five writers winning a publishing contract and thirteen independent authors winning an audiobook production.
Find out more about The Page Turner Awards: https://pageturnerawards.com. Submissions for 2021 will open on the 1st of January 2021.