I Got the Call! Meet New Author Lela May White

I Got the Call! Meet New Author Lela May White

Lela May White is a debut author writing for the Mills & Boon Modern series. Lela came to Mills & Boon through our #RomaceIncludesYou pitch event. Congratulations, Lela!

Her debut Modern romance, His Desert Bride By Demand is out now in eBook and on the 21st July in paperback.

We spoke to Lela about her forthcoming romance, her writing journey and getting ‘the call’…

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Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi! I’m so excited to be on the blog! Thank you for having me. How are you?

I’m Lela May and I write dramatic, passionate and intense love stories about emotionally messy characters, finding their way to a happily ever after by learning to let themselves love and be loved in return. (Hopefully!)

I’m a Brummy girl to the core living in Worcestershire and yes, it’s true, you can take the girl out of the city, but not the city out of the girl. I miss Birmingham, it’s food most of all!

But I’m living the dream I always thought was a little too far out of reach. I’m raising my family, with my very own hero, and writing love stories about the complicated human beings who live in my head.

Why did you want to become a romance writer? 

I’ve always read romance novels. My nan was an avid romance reader. (There was always one in her handbag I’d sneak a peek at.) my mom encouraged my love of reading by taking me charity shop hunting for new romances every week! (Yup, you guessed it. They were Mills and Boon.)

As I got older, it seemed like a natural progression to try to write them! My mom got me an electric typewriter (I know, I’m old) and off I went, writing stories that will never see the light of day of dashing princes and curly haired princesses.

But as life does, it got in the way of the dream of writing. But during late-night feeds after my first was born, I rediscovered romance books and the powerful ability they have to transport the reader.

The urge to write was born again, because I wanted to do that! I wanted to write full-throttle escapism about complicated and emotionally messy people who got their chance at love and earned their happily ever after.

I haven’t looked back since!

What were the major steps in your journey to becoming a published author? Was this story the first manuscript you submitted?

The biggest step was joining the romance book community online. I followed blogs and entered competitions. I learnt so much and collected many rejection letters, but I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without #Romancelandia because four years after finding the romance book community, I entered three chapters through Submittable (my fourth submission) to the Harlequin Presents, Mills and Boon Modern team with #RomaceIncludesYou, with the promise of feedback in sixty days.

I didn’t only get feedback. I got a full request. Then an offer for a phone call to discuss my story, and chatted to my now fabulous editor, Charlotte, and set to work rewriting the first three chapters of my story with their feedback.

A few weeks later she called again, and that was… ‘The Call.’

Find your community! You don’t have to navigate working towards your writing dream alone. I encourage all aspiring writers to join the Write for Harlequin Community. It is a treasure chest of information, support and like-minded people who know the power of romance books, the escape (I think) no other genre offers, and the transformative power of a happily ever after or a happy for now. Who knows where you could be in four years if you do…?

What advice would you offer aspiring writers? 

Trust yourself. Have faith in your journey. Keep showing up to the page, keep doing the work, and believe your ‘yes’ is coming because it is. Your story matters.

What did you do when you got the call? 

I cried. I’d spoken to my editor a few times on the phone before and when she’d arranged this call, I was absolutely positive it was going to be a, ‘not this time, but send me your next project,’ call.

When my editor said she’d like to offer me a contract, my first words were, ‘Are you saying those words to me?’ And she was! My dream of writing for Harlequin, Mills and Boon had always felt so far away and suddenly it was there, waiting for me to say yes, please. So I said, ‘Yes, please,’ many times.

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His Desert Bride By Demand by Lela May White

Desert Prince Akeem wants to show first love Charlotte what she gave up by turning her back on him. But their secret tryst threatens to become a scandal, and duty-bound Akeem must make an outrageous demand: she’ll be his queen!