Mills & Boon has scooped the first novel from “Love Island” 2019 winner Amber Rose Gill, and launched a writing competition for unagented and unpublished romance writers from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds to bring more diverse characters and perspectives to the genre.
Initiated by Nancy Adimora, talent and audience development manager at HarperCollins, world all language rights for Until I Met You were acquired by senior editor Rebecca Slorach from Leisa Maloney at Fire PR & Management. The book will publish on 21st July 2022 in paperback, e-book and audio.
Alongside her book, Gill is launching the Love to Write competition with Mills & Boon. The winner will receive a one-book contract with the romance publisher, mentorship from an editor to develop their submission into a full novel and writing grant. Submissions open on 9th July and close at midnight on 19th September 2021. Full details of how to enter are available on Mills & Boon’s website.
Until I Met You follows the journey of broken-hearted travel blogger Samantha, who catches the eye of hot-shot businessman Roman, on holiday in Tobago. Sparks fly, but when secrets put their romance in jeopardy, both must decide if they have the strength to fight for what they really want.
Gill said: “For me this project is so much more than just a love story. It’s about bringing more representation and inclusivity to the romance genre. I know first-hand growing up that love stories were never about girls and boys who looked like me – the lead characters were never Black or mixed race. I want to create a narrative that changes this, that lets people see themselves in the heroine or hero. Given Mills & Boon novels have been selling for over 100 years, it’s the perfect brand to join forces with to make positive changes and to inspire other writers to do the same.”
Slorach added: “We are delighted to be working with Amber. Mills & Boon prides itself on inclusivity in its publishing and we are delighted Amber is not only going to help us find new underrepresented authors but also publish her first book with us. In her work, Amber champions young people to believe in their ambitions and I can’t think of anyone more suited to work with on this project.”