Justine is from Canberra, the beautiful sunny capital of Australia. She has been writing and publishing romance novels for a few years but is over the moon that Harlequin has offered to buy Billionaire’s Snowbound Marriage Reunion for their Romance line.
Harlequin: Tell us about yourself. Our readers want to know!
Justine Lewis: I live with my husband, two kids and my gorgeous and extroverted pup, Georgie. I work as a lawyer (a habit I’m trying to break) and when I’m not working, writing or wrangling kids I love to read, cook and walk my dog in the beautiful bush near our house.
H: Why did you want to become a romance writer?
JL: I wanted to become a romance writer because I’ve always loved love stories—either as romances or subplots in other stories—because I adore the gooey, happy feelings they inspire.
I especially love category romance. I love the intense focus on the couple and the fact that I can get from meet-cute to happily-ever-after in about the same time it takes to watch a movie.
H: What were the big steps in your journey to becoming a published author?
JL: I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. (My grandfather gave me a typewriter for my seventh birthday so that might give you some idea not only of my ambition but my age.) Writing was something I dabbled in while I waited ‘until I had time’. But when my kids were babies I realised I’d never have time again unless I made it. So I decided to get serious and joined Romance Writers of Australia. Not only are their resources amazing but I also met a wonderful group of like-minded people who don’t think it’s weird that I write novels on my lunch break or while sitting in my car at the kids’ soccer practice. With the help of wonderful critique partners, I finished my first romance, which was published in 2014. Since that time it’s been a long journey to get the call from Harlequin, with ups and also downs.
Like the hero in my book Billionaire’s Snowbound Marriage Reunion says, I waited a long time. But I would have waited as long as it took.
H: What advice would you offer aspiring writers?
JL: Keep writing! Celebrate the highs and try not to worry too much about the lows. I submitted to Harlequin a few times before I got the call. I’m so glad I kept at it.
Also, time isn’t going to fall into your lap – you need to make it. But if you can manage even half an hour and a couple of hundred words a day, and do that consistently, you will get there. And faster than you think.
H: What did you do when you got the call from Harlequin?
JL: I saw the email from my lovely editor asking for a chat when I first woke up at six in the morning Australian time and had to wait all day for a Zoom meeting with her. I had time to prepare (good) but also time to worry (bad). While I knew in my head that editors don’t arrange Zoom calls to give rejections, I still didn’t really believe it until Laurie said she loved the book and wanted to acquire it.
It didn’t feel real until I told my husband and kids. I hadn’t wanted to jinx anything by buying a bottle of bubbles, but we celebrated with a glass of Pinot Noir. Then, since it was night time in Australia, I tried to sleep and not instantly message everyone I know.
Now let’s hear from Justine’s editor, Laurie Johnson:
“I came across Justine’s submission in my slush pile. After reading the partial, I just had to see the rest and I wasn’t disappointed. Justine’s voice and style are so effortless to read, the emotional tension between her characters jumps off the page and who doesn’t love a story that features a Labrador pup?! I’m so excited to publish Justine’s debut for Harlequin Romance and hope readers enjoy Jack and Lily’s snowy marriage reunion!”Laurie Johnson, Editor
Welcome to Harlequin, Justine! And read more I Got the Call stories from new Harlequin authors at our archive.