We interviewed South African Mills & Boon author Therese Beharrie!
M&B Your first novel The Tycoon’s Reluctant Cinderella is set in Cape Town. What drew you to the Cape Town setting for a romance story?
T.B In all my years of reading, I’ve never read a romance set in Cape Town. Since I was born and bred in Cape Town, it was important for me to use the magic of my home city in my first book. I wanted to share that magic with the rest of the world, but I also wanted to be able to write about the places I knew, have been to, and have experienced the romance in myself.
M&B The Cinderella tale is sort of the most classic love. Are fairy tales an inspiration for your romance writing?
T.B Absolutely! I think all love stories have fairy-tale elements in them – that’s a part of what drew me to the romance genre. I love using those elements to get my characters to their happily ever after, which, of course, is the best thing about fairy tales!
M&B Your novel was written for Harlequin Cherish. What is it about the Cherish series that calls to you? Is there any other type of romance genre that you’d like to try?
T.B The Cherish series focuses on my favourite parts of a love story: the emotion and the rush of falling in love. When I read this on the Mills & Boon website, it felt so natural to write that story and submit to this line. In the future, I’d love to explore paranormal/fantasy romance or romantic suspense, but I think my focus would still be on the emotion!
M&B When did you know that you wanted to be a romance writer?
T.B I knew I wanted to be a writer the moment I wrote my first story when I was about nine. Realising I wanted to write romance came a bit later when I discovered that there were actually books entirely dedicated to the parts I enjoyed most when reading.
- M&B When you first found out that your novel was going to be published, what thoughts went through your mind and how did you celebrate the occasion?
T.B I was incredibly overwhelmed and grateful at my dream coming true (I spent a good fifteen minutes shaking and wiping at tears after getting The Call)! I got the news the day before my birthday, and spent my birthday weekend celebrating both occasions with my family and friends.
- M&B What advice do you have for any aspiring South African romance writers?
T.B Don’t let a fear of not being published keep you from writing! There are so many opportunities for South African romance writers at the moment, particularly with our growing digital market. Research publishers (local and international), find the ones who fit your story, and check their submission guidelines. Once you have a good idea of what they expect, write your story keeping that in mind. Make time to write (even if it’s just a paragraph a day!), and read the books in your subgenre to stay inspired and to give you an idea of what’s currently popular.
- M&B Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re working on now? Or is that a secret?
T.B I’m currently working on my fourth book, which is a royal pregnancy romance! It’s set on two fictional islands along the coast of Africa where my hero and heroine have to work together to protect their kingdoms. Complicating matters is the fact that they were in love once and now have to face their unresolved feelings while expecting a child!