By Theresa Goodwin
Reporter and radio news producer Shermain Bique-Charles isn’t just about interviews and sticking her nose into matters of public interest. The 40-year-old Observer journalist recently published her first romance novel ‘Jasmine’, now available in paperback and on Amazon Kindle.
Completed in December 2019, the novel was an off and on focus for Bique-Charles, who said she had to juggle it around her fulltime job, taking care of her family, church ministry work, and running around the house behind her toddler.
“I love writing, that’s no surprise, but I never thought I’d write a novel, far less to have it published. I just didn’t have the time,” she explained.
Bique-Charles said she decided to post the first few chapters of her book on an online website and could not believe the feedback.
“I think I just did it for fun in the first instance. I went online and posted the first nine chapters I believe, and I had 3,500 reads in just over two weeks. It was unbelievable.
“I said to myself, well people were bored, under a lockdown and they had nothing else to do,” she told Observer.
But interest in her work continued, and according to Bique-Charles, “readers kept messaging asking where’s the rest of the novel. They wanted to know what happened with Jasmine. Most of the inquiries were from the US and Canada.”
It was then she decided to put more time and work into the novel and publish it.
“I have a close friend who motivated me a lot where this project is concerned. I struggled with a cover because most photos were copyrighted.
“I had to use a female’s face. She had to be beautiful but mysterious as well. He suggested that I use my face. I laughed at the suggestion because I didn’t think I looked mysterious or even beautiful. After much convincing, I decided to take the advice,” she said.
Since the book was released about a week ago, the author said a number of people have already purchased it, both on Kindle and in paperback.
“My friends bought copies and a few people whom I don’t know. I will buy myself a copy at some point. Although I write news every day, a novel is a bit different. All this is new to me,” she said.
The story follows the life of a young woman who is teased in school and considered to be unpopular. In a series of intriguing developments, a young man teams up with his friends planning to violate her. Instead, he falls in love with her, putting aside all his wealth, pride and ego to gain her trust and love.
“The story draws you in through soaring hopes for the main character and balances that with a series of setbacks that keep you constantly wondering. Jasmine is quite romantic but also hilarious. Sometimes I read the book and can’t believe I wrote these things. Some parts of the book actually happened but it is mostly fictionised,” she said.
A journalist of 20 years, Bique-Charles is quick to clarify that she has no intention of making a career change.
“Not a chance,” she says. “After all of these years, I still love my job and cherish the people we serve.”
Bique-Charles is originally from Dominica and has been living in Antigua and Barbuda for the last five years.
She said writing novels will remain her night-time and weekend focus. Jasmine was edited by Observer sub-editor and radio show host, Paul Quinn.
“When I received the manuscript from Shermain it took me a while to get to it but once I started reading, I honestly couldn’t put it down. She has a way with words. The plot was exceptionally well put together. This book had me on a rollercoaster ride. I absolutely loved it,” Quinn said.
Jasmine is available on Amazon both on Kindle and paperback at
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