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Debut romance author Sera Taíno has been selected for Harlequin’s Romance Includes You Mentorship, an initiative launched in 2019 to reach out to diverse communities of writers and bring more diverse and own voices stories to romance readers. Ms. Taíno’s submission, Incomparable, was selected from among 11 finalists and over 160 submissions Harlequin received.
Incomparable is a contemporary romance set in New Jersey that follows a young woman from a Puerto Rican family who thinks she’s met Mr. Right, only to find out his family’s real estate business has plans that could change her beloved community forever. Ms. Taíno will work with a mentor editor who will offer editorial feedback, help to build relationships across the publishing team, and share knowledge of the romance market and industry.
Ms. Taíno said she learned to love romance novels from her mother, who read them to improve her English. “It wasn’t long until I was writing my own stories with characters like the people I grew up with in places I’ve called home. I am overwhelmed with excitement at the thought of seeing my book published by Harlequin,” said Ms. Taíno.
“Incomparable stood out among many excellent stories because of its engaging characters and vivid portrayal of Latinx life in New York and New Jersey,” said Glenda Howard, Harlequin’s Senior Executive Editor. “We can’t wait to work with Sera and to bring her story to readers next year.”
The Romance Includes You Mentorship includes a $5,000 (U.S.) writing grant and a publishing contract. Ms. Taíno’s book will be published in Harlequin Special Edition in 2021. Harlequin books are available in print and ebook formats through major retailers in North America, UK, Australia and internationally, as well as through Harlequin’s subscription program.
The Romance Includes You Mentorship is part of a range of initiatives to further broaden diversity, representation and inclusion among the authors and stories Harlequin publishes, including support for writers’ conferences and organizations promoting diversity and inclusion in publishing, development of a scholarship program to foster diverse voices, and regular participation in #DVpit and other Twitter story pitch events that connect editors with marginalized voices.