Back in July, Mills & Boon launched Love to Write in collaboration with Amber Rose Gill, a competition to find new series romance authors from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds. The winner of this competition will get the chance to publish their romance novel with Mills & Boon!
We invited aspiring authors to submit their manuscripts for review by a panel of expert judges, including editors Nic Caws, Bryony Green and Becky Slorach; and authors Nadine Gonzalez and Amber Rose Gill. We were completely overwhelmed with the response. The standard was extremely high, and it was incredibly difficult to narrow all of the wonderful entries down to just three novels for our shortlist.
So – without further ado, we are delighted to announce three Love to Write finalists!
Born and raised in London, Clare lives in Essex with her husband, four children and two cats. She is a health service worker and writes in between her hectic schedule.
When she is not working or writing, Clare spends her spare time reading, watching TV (she has a slight addiction to cop shows), watching live theatre and spending time with her family.
Clare says: ‘I entered this competition because I love to write and want to be a published author. Winning would be a wonderful opportunity to show that’s it’s never too late to pursue your dreams whatever your background. The chance to put my work out there, and provide enjoyment to those who read it, would fill me with a great sense of fulfilment and pride.’
Clare’s novel synopsis:
Maya Mills is recently divorced and penniless. She is determined to live her newfound single life on her own terms. A desperate bid to make some money and rebuild herself takes her to the tropical island of Rochelle.
Her plan at independence is distorted by the domineering but sexy Christophe La Croix, whose help she reluctantly needs in order to succeed. Maya tries to maintain a professionalism, but the longer she spends in his company the harder it becomes to deny their mutual attraction.
When a casual night of passion begins the start of something she has never experienced before, she suffers a major dilemma.
Should Maya stick to the plan and return to London, or make Christophe and Rochelle her forever?
Beth Mak is a British Born Chinese wannabe author living in Cambridgeshire, UK with her husband and two children. Her parents are from Hong Kong and her children are mixed race, so representation and inclusion are really important to her.
Her ultimate dream is to write a series that features a swoony British Chinese hero in an interracial relationship and in her first book, he is introduced as the best friend of the hero. She wants to bring to life 19th Century Britain through the eyes of Chinese immigrants, so that new generations of readers can see themselves represented and everyone can appreciate this country’s rich and diverse cultural history.
As well as inhaling romances, Beth is crazy about Korean Drama, Knitting and Crochet. You can connect with her on Instagram on @bethmakwrites
Beth says: “I am so excited at the opportunity to bring my Regency Romance to life and learn the skills to the craft of writing from a Romance publishing house that itself is steeped in history. I love that Mills & Boon are really committed to helping diverse voices bring their stories to readers and I am excited at the prospect of seeing British Chinese characters in historical romance.”
Beth’s novel synopsis:
Plain and firmly past her prime, Lady Harriet Colborne desperately needs to secure a future for her and her sisters before they slide into genteel poverty.
She’s just a girl in a brown patched-up gown standing in front of Gabriel Holden asking him to marry her.
Rich as Croesus but illegitimate, Gabriel Holden thinks love is for fools. It won’t feed you, clothe you or make you money. The absolute worst is it means someone else holds power over you. But then this drab sparrow with eyes that sparkle and a slender neck that tempts him to nuzzle it – of all things! -walks in, firing his curiosity and his loins. Gabe crawled his way up from the gutter through grit and determination. He doesn’t make impulsive business deals before fully understanding the risks at stake. But when she tells him she plans to offer the same deal to another four men, he strikes an exclusive pact with her -two weeks in his hotel to see if they suit and can make a marriage of convenience work.
Harriet’s title for his money – a simple and straightforward exchange – the virile, dangerous and enigmatic Mr. Holden can only want her for her breeding and connections, what could possibly go wrong?
Faye started writing at sixteen-years-old, when she penned her first novel and uploaded it to Wattpad, an online storytelling platform. She is also a playwright and alum of VAULT Festival’s New Writers Programme. During every project, she aims to craft a diverse and distinct range of characters. She believes that the ability to imagine and create art are the closest things that humans have to superpowers. When she isn’t scribbling away in one of her many notebooks or losing her head in a book, she works as an arts administrator. Follow Faye on Twitter at @fayeursoquiet.
Faye says: “To me, Mills & Boon books have always been a source of fun, escapism and emotional story journeys. I also want to see more Black British heroines in the romance genre and stories where they experience joy and vulnerability, so I entered the Love to Write Competition as a way of putting all these elements together. I hope that this amazing opportunity can act as my first steps into a career as a published author. There’s so much that can be learnt through mentoring and help from an experienced editor. I feel blessed to have even made it to the shortlist.”
Faye’s novel synopsis:
The festive season is in full swing at The Entertainment Emporium, a toy shop in London. Naomi Beckford, the manager, has a masterplan that will attract even more customers to the shop during its busiest period of the year: a Santa’s Grotto extravaganza! But when tragedy strikes and the actor hired to play Santa Claus falls ill, she’s forced to turn to the Emporium’s grumpy accountant for help.
Will Latimer hates anything and everything relating to Christmas…yet he agrees to Naomi’s plea for him to fill the role of Santa. He agrees under one condition: if he joins in with this “foolishness”, she will owe him a favour in return. However, what should be a simple deal becomes very difficult to uphold when their interactions tend to escalate into arguments.
When their icy partnership begins to melt and feelings start to leak in, will Naomi and Will be able to admit that they’ve received much more than they bargained for?
The winner of Love to Write has been announced – find out here.
We’re still interested in reading your submission. If you missed the deadline but would like to submit your manuscript, please take a look at our submissions guidelines.