When I was twenty-one my husband gave me a Cross pen to use when I became a writer. We didn’t expect that it would take me thirty years to fulfil this dream. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a writer. But when I was growing up, if you were a girl who did well at school you became either a nurse or a teacher. So, I became a primary school teacher, and I really enjoyed my teaching career which lasted on and off until 2019.
At 51, my first story was published by this very magazine. It was then called She Brisbane. My article was a travel piece about a trip to South Africa and the ideas and stories just kept on coming. Soon my short romances were being published in anthologies. I was winning a few writing competitions. I had joined a writing group and I attended courses and conferences on writing. I was learning how to write in different genres.
During this time, I was tinkering with a story set in Paris. It was a travel romance. These are the types of novels I love to read. But it was only after doing a writing course with the fabulous Frances Whiting that I had the courage to submit my fledgling manuscript to a publisher.
Frances said, “You are already a writer, Michelle. Just throw your cap over the fence.”
So that’s exactly what I did. Now this is where a little bit of serendipity comes in. My first Paris haute couture fashion show was called Serendipity, my short romance publisher was Serenity Press and into my facebook feed came a post from Serenade Publishing. They were asking for submissions and were based locally on our beautiful Sunshine Coast. It seemed like a match made in heaven, so I crossed my fingers and submitted my manuscript.
I’d been interviewing rural romance author, Stella Quinn on a Monday and said, “I’m not sure if I am a romance writer. I wish I could get a sign to know if it’s worth continuing.”
The very next day I received an email from my publisher, the award-winning romance author, Sarah Williams who saw something in my rough and ready submission. She loved the historical elements and the Paris setting and she’d fallen in love with my main character, Jean Luc. I was offered a contract to publish first an eBook, then audiobook and maybe down the track if my title is selected, a book in print. But then the hard work started.
I had to address the head-hopping. There were far too many points of view. My ending was too confusing and after hacking about 30000 words and writing some new scenes set in Paris my story was ready to be polished and edited by Sarah.
We changed the title from Chateau D’Amour to It Happened in Paris and Sarah designed the most beautiful cover. On the 14 August 2023, my debut novel was published by Serenade Publishing and is now available on the Serenade Publishing website plus Amazon and Kindle Unlimited as well. My dream had come true.
It Happened in Paris is a steamy romance which tells the story of Australian archaeologist, Crimson Brown who travels to Paris to write a series of books about Roman ruins in France. Here she meets the handsome French businessman, Jean Luc de Michel. Crimson is not looking for love, but love may have just found her in the City of Love.
Throw in a feisty ex-girlfriend and a controlling mother and sparks fly in more ways than one. Filled with history, fashion, food and family this sexy romance will take you on an unforgettable adventure where emotions, plots and secrets are revealed. Readers will follow these star – crossed lovers as they travel from the bustling streets of Paris to the beautiful Provençal countryside
My greatest hope was to have a grandchild and have a book published before I turned 60 years old. Both these dreams have come true at 59. Phew, just made it! I now know that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams and as Crimson says in the story, “If not me, who? If not now, when?”
I hope you enjoy reading my story as much as I enjoyed writing about my favourite city and this lovestruck pair. Feedback so far has been very positive with people being swept away to beautiful Paris and reliving memories of their own trips. Everyone loves the villains in the story and people are falling in love with the main character of Jean Luc. Many readers have said they kept reading my book, It Happened in Paris, long into the night and couldn’t put it down. That’s just the feeling I was hoping to provoke in readers as I wrote the story.
I’d love to hear your feedback and some of your own memories of Paris. The best memory can win an eBook copy of It Happened in Paris. So, share your ultimate Paris bucket-list item. You’ll definitely be wanting to book a trip to Paris after reading the magical tale of Crimson and Jean Luc.
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).