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Chantelle's Biography

Chantelle Shaw

I grew up without a TV, let alone DVD’s, computer games etc that my kids spend so much time engrossed in, but I learned to read at an early age and from then on I was always entertained – so much so that my friends used to hide their books when I visited them because all I wanted to do was read!

When I was a teenager I discovered Mills & Boon romances in my local library, and so began a lifelong love affair. I still remember that feeling of anticipation when I settled down with a pile of books - all bearing the famous rose logo - knowing that I would be drawn into a world of love, passion and emotional intensity that I have never found in any other books. I enjoy reading a wide range of books, especially historical novels, and I am a big fan of Agatha Christie, mainly I think because her characters seem so real, but I love romances and unashamedly admit that I only want to read books with a guaranteed happy ending. Reading is my joy and pleasure and I don’t want to cry buckets at the end of a book or have my sleep disturbed by its gruesome content.

The Greek's Acquisition by Chantelle Shaw

For me, the characters in Harlequin Mills & Boon romances are the key. I love reading and writing about strong, alpha heroes and feisty, independent heroines who find that they can’t fight the blazing attraction between them.

When I married my own tall, dark, but sadly not wealthy hero, we moved out of London to the Kent coast and started a family that grew and grew. I adore my six children, and when they were small I loved being a stay-at-home mum, but there can be days, as I’m sure many of you know, when you feel isolated and – dare I say it – bored of conversing with three-year-olds. Harlequin Mills & Boon romances were my life-line and my sanity and I read them whenever I had a spare five minutes (in the bath, pacing the floor at three am with colicky baby on one shoulder and a book in the other hand!)

Behind The Castello Doors

My imagination soared and I decided to try and write a book myself. My first attempt was typed up on a manual type-writer with the full-stop key and the letter p missing. Luckily my hero and heroine were not called Paul and Poppy, but it still meant going over my manuscript with a pen to fill in the gaps!

That first book was duly rejected as were my next two. I suppose I was disheartened and by now I had four small children and very little spare time, so although I continued to read romances, I gave up writing. It wasn’t until my youngest son started school that I tried writing again. I was struggling to come to terms with the death of my darling mum Gabrielle and writing became my therapy. Mum had always nagged me to get on and write a book and had an unshakeable belief that I would one day be published – I’m so glad that she was proved right and my biggest regret is that she isn’t here to share my success with me.

At Dante's Service

I wrote two more books which were both rejected by HM&B, but I was given some advice on my writing from the editorial team that encouraged me to try again. Third time lucky certainly applied to me – the day I received ‘the call’ was exactly four years after Mum had died. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life - but instead of chatting to the editor about contracts I had to dash off and pick my sick daughter up from school. Reality is never far away in my house!

Captive in His Castle

I feel I must be one of the luckiest people in the world to be doing something that I love, but I work hard at my luck and I believe that writing for Harlequin Mills & Boon is a serious commitment which I will do for as long as people want to read my books – hopefully a very long time!

I really believe that aspiring authors should keep on trying. Sure there may be rejections and disappointments, but tenacity is just as important as talent and the highs far outweigh the lows. I can honestly say that if I hadn’t been published I would still be trying because I love writing and creating my own world in my head, and only the sound of the smoke alarm and the cry of ‘mum’s burnt the dinner again’, brings me temporarily back to earth!

Chantelle Shaw