September 30, 2022

Jasmine Guillory Finds Her Happily-Ever-After as a Romance Writer

In 2013, while dealing with health issues, she binged on historical romance novels, including Julia Quinn’s “Bridgerton” series. Ms. Guillory said she worried that, as a former history major, she would get bogged down in research if she tried to such a book herself. When she began to read contemporary romances, including “A Bollywood Affair” by Sonali Dev, she saw her future, she said.

She joined an online writers’ challenge that prompts fledgling novelists to commit to writing 50,000 words in one month. In April 2015, working from an idea she had sketched out in the Notes app of her phone, she said she spent every spare moment getting words on the page. “I looked forward every day to coming home from work and sitting on the couch and writing,” she said. She hit the 50,000 mark, then kept going.

By June she had a draft of “The Wedding Date,” a flirty, funny novel about a romance between a Black woman who is the chief of staff to the mayor of Berkeley, Calif., and the white male pediatric surgeon whom she meets while stuck in an elevator during a power outage.

After revising the manuscript and sending it out over the next year, she signed with a literary agent, who encouraged her to come up with a second novel. In 2017, Ms. Guillory signed a two-book deal with Penguin Random House.

In 2018, the publisher released “The Wedding Date.” The book got glowing reviews, and later that year, Ms. Guillory’s second novel, “The Proposal” — about a writer in Los Angeles who refuses a Dodgers Stadium Jumbotron proposal from her boyfriend — spent five weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. In 2019, Ms. Guillory left her day job for good.

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