Mills & Boon has named Faye Acheampong the winner of the Love to Write competition, an initiative to find new series romance authors with underrepresented ethnic backgrounds. We are so excited to welcome Faye to Mills & Boon and Harlequin!
Faye’s debut will be published in Harlequin Romance in North America and Mills & Boon’s True Love series in fall 2023. Faye also receives a grant to support her writing and will be mentored by one of Harlequin’s UK-based editors as her book is prepared for release.
Q) What inspired you to apply for the Mills & Boon Love to Write competition?
A) I’ve always been drawn to storytelling. When I was a kid, I would sneak into my Mum’s bedroom to secretly read the romance books that she owned. Eventually, I got caught. Instead of punishing or making fun of me, she introduced me to Mills & Boon books, and lent me her library card so that I could check them out of the adult section. In my 10-year-old mind, a juicy and dramatic plot paired with a tender emotional journey following characters falling in love, made romance books the highest form of entertainment. My excitement about the genre never faded as I got older. So, when I saw that Mills & Boon were partnering with thee Amber Rose Gill of Love Island to hold a writing competition, I felt compelled to enter. Usually, I’m very hesitant or nervous about submitting my writing anywhere. But on this occasion, my attitude was very much “just go for it”. I’m very happy that I did!
Q) When did you first know you wanted to become a novelist?
A) When I was around 16 years old. I’d started writing because I was bored during the summer break. I would plan out and write my own books, then upload them chapter-by-chapter to a free story-sharing platform called Wattpad.
During the school year, I was supposed to put my writing on the back burner and focus mainly on my studies. But I ended up breaking my own rules because I kept gravitating back toward my characters and creative process. I ended up deleting my Wattpad account when I went to university. However, I didn’t enjoy the course I was taking, so I dropped out. After walking away from a job that I hated, I fell in love with writing again and promised myself that I would try to fully explore writing as a career path.
Q) How did it feel to get the call from your editor?
A) Oh, it was a rollercoaster of emotion! I’d spent the night before the call completely freaking out because I hadn’t been told the specific reason why we would be talking, and I was too scared to ask. All I knew was that we would be discussing my submission. Mentally, I’d already prepared myself for a feedback session and a polite rejection.
When I was told that I had won the Love to Write competition, I was genuinely shocked. I remember falling silent a few times. By the end of the call, I was on such a high. I think I spent an hour afterwards just playing Megan Thee Stallion’s music at full volume.
The competition shortlist had been announced on my birthday. Therefore, being informed that I was the winner of Love to Write turned an already great birth month into an excellent one.
Q) What do you want to bring to the romance genre for readers?
A) The number of Black traditionally published romance authors in the UK barely qualifies as a handful. It’s more like a sprinkle. So, I really want to help introduce more Black British heroines to the romance genre.
Congratulations, Faye! Welcome to Mills & Boon and Harlequin!