We are so pleased to share that The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel was selected as the RITA award winner for Best Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance!
Roughly, 2,000 romance writers entered in the RITA competition, and the winners were announced on July 27 at the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Annual Conference in Orlando, FL. The RITA is the most prominent award given throughout the genre of romance fiction.
Dai Randel is a Chinese American writer who came to the U.S. for the first time at twenty-three. After becoming fluent in English and writing, Dai Randel earned an M.A. in English from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, and has worked as a journalist, magazine editor, and adjunct professor, before becoming a writer. It took Dai Randel ten years to write the RITA awarded novel, The Moon in the Palace, and its follow up, The Empress of Bright Moon. Dai Randel received eighty-two rejection letters before Sourcebooks Landmark picked up the duology.
“Weina stands out as one of the hardest-working authors I've ever had the privilege of editing," said Anna Michels, editor at Sourcebooks. "The time and attention she took in making sure each detail was correct shows on every page. Editing her was truly a joy, as she is always willing to dive back into the book to tweak and refine details as necessary—but it's her evocative narrative voice, which is impossible to edit, as it comes straight from her heart, is what makes The Moon in the Palace sing.”
Dai Randel was inspired to write the story of Empress Wu of China while studying at Texas Woman's University. It was there, during an Asian American literature class that she recalls “reading Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. Because that story was so depressing, I wanted to show my classmates that not all women had that kind of fate in China. I decided to write about Chinese women who succeeded in controlling their destinies. And who else controlled her destiny better than Empress Wu?”