Suleena has read romance since she could pick her own books. She occasionally branches out to other genres, but really, what’s the point if there’s no kissing? She also loves to laugh, which probably has to do with her dad putting Monty Python on whenever her mom wasn’t looking. Born and raised in California, she has worked as a lawyer, a workers’ compensation adjuster and a private investigator. This is her first book with Carina Press. Congratulations, Suleena!
Harlequin: Tell us about yourself. Our readers want to know!
Suleena Bibra: Hi! I’m currently a displaced Californian trying to handle weather for the first time on the East Coast (so far, so good!). I’m always ready for an adventure, whether that means travelling to new places or reading about them in a book. I can be a bit indecisive, and I’ve worked as a lawyer, workers’ compensation adjuster and private investigator in the past. In fact, I love writing because I can do a different job or be in a different place with every book I draft.
I’ve loved reading romance since I was a kid, gravitating to books where there was a love or relationship aspect, whether or not it was marketed as a romance. Then I moved on to adult romances (probably at too young an age, but please don’t tell my mom). And now I’m happy to be writing them myself!
H: Why do you like writing romance novels?
SB: I love love! I’m that nosy friend/acquaintance/girl you just met in a bar bathroom asking how you met your partner. I find those stories the most interesting. I also love that romance novels guarantee a happy every after. The world can be uncertain, and it’s soothing and gives me hope to read books where I know everything turns out well.
H: Is this your first published book? What were the key steps in your journey to becoming a published author?
SB: This is my first published book! It’s been quite the long process. In high school, I wrote about a page of a novel in a word document—before getting hit with self-doubt that I could do it and dropping the project. Many years later, and about five years ago, I started writing seriously (pretty much finishing the story I started all the way back then, with some modifications…I added werewolves). I completed my first novel. I queried it, got many rejections, and did it again with novels two and three. With novel four, I got accepted into Pitch Wars and worked with my mentor Farah Heron to polish that manuscript. I got my agent Jana Hanson through the agent showcase, and now I’m going to be a published author!
H: What one piece of advice would you offer aspiring writers?
SB: Just keep writing! When I was querying book one, I worked on book two, and so on. It helped me mentally, when I was getting rejections, to know that I was already working on the next thing. I would think that even if one manuscript wasn’t going to make it, the next one very well could be The One. And eventually, it was. 🙂
H: What did you do when you got the call from Harlequin?
SB: Cried! I was so happy and relieved to hear the news, after wanting to be published for so long, that I started crying. My puppy and husband were downstairs, and they came up to my office to see what was happening with all the noise. After I got off the phone with my agent, I ran around the house screaming in excitement, and the bulldog was game to join me…until he exhausted himself and had to take a nap (after about thirty seconds of said running).
The news hit me especially hard because it was at the end of 2020, which has been a hard year for so many. I truly wasn’t expecting to get good news during such a tough time. It happened right before Christmas and, well, if I didn’t believe in the magic of Christmas before then, I definitely do now. But I did before too…be on the lookout for book two, all about my favorite holiday! 😉
Now let’s hear from Suleena’s editor, Stephanie Doig!
TWO HOUSES hooked us from the start; we all love a good rivals-to-lovers story, and Suleena has written a wonderful heroine in Priya Gupta. This romcom incorporates so many classic romance elements—including a house party!—but with a very modern, contemporary voice. I can’t wait for this book to be out in the world so everyone can see how talented and funny Suleena is.
Congrats again, Suleena! And stay tuned, readers, for more I Got the Call stories from our debut authors.