As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I love being part of the Romance Writers Organisation of South Africa. One of the many reasons I do is because you get to meet absolutely wonderful, talented people who share a passion for romance writing. At our annual Cape Town retreat earlier this year I had the pleasure of meeting a truly lovely lady, both inside and out. I’d like to introduce you to Therese Beharrie.
What intrigued me most about Therese is the fact that she’s living her dream, even at her young age.
She’s taken life by the horns and she’s living it on her terms. One day at a time she’s making her writing dream come true – something that most people twice her age are still struggling to define let alone make happen.
Harlequin/Mills and Boon run an annual competition called “So you think you can write”. When Therese discovered that South African writers were welcome to submit she did just that in 2014 and placed 25. She got great feedback about her entry so she decided to try again. In 2015 she once again struck out but caught the eye of one of the editors and got the call anyway. Her first title for the Harlequin Romance line debuted in 2016 and they rest, as they say, is history. Don’t you just love a happy ending?
To find out what makes Therese tick I recently asked her if she would be willing to be interviewed for this blog and she very graciously agreed. Let’s find out more about this beautiful young lady.
1. When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I realised I couldn’t take the books I was reading with me wherever I went. So I would create characters in my mind, and then wrote them down later when I got home. That must have been when I was 6 or 7. But I started pursuing writing seriously (and writing full-length romance stories) during my Honours year at university.
2. What’s the story behind your latest book?
United by Their Royal Baby (coming January 2018) came about because I wanted to create a powerful female character, and because I’d never read a royal romance with mixed-race royals before. So I created Queen Leyna of Aidara, and she’s pretty kickass. She also happens to look like me!
3. What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Honestly, there are so many aspects of writing that I enjoy. I love being able to create characters who inspire me, who I’d hoped to read but hadn’t, and who are going through real, difficult things. I love the fantasy of it, and I love how therapeutic it is for me, as a writer, and (I hope) for my readers.
4. What are you working on next?
I just started writing a new book! So far, all I know is that my heroine has left my hero after three years of marriage without any explanation, and they’re coming face to face for the first time since then. I’m excited about the tension and sparks I can write for these two!
5. Who are your favourite authors?
Nora Roberts definitely gets the title of my favourite author. But I also really love Julie James, Sarah Morgan, Jenni Fletcher and local authors (woohoo!) like Romy Sommer and Joss Wood.
6. What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The fact that I get to do what I love for a living. I’m honestly so blessed, and try not to take that for granted.
7. What do you do when you’re not writing?
Read! I also spend time with my amazing husband watching series, or for date night (because, inspiration 😉). Or I’m pretending to write with my wonderful writing club, Collette Kelly and Dorothy Ewels!
8. What is your writing process?
I have an idea of what I want for my next book, and that’s either a specific character or a plotline. Then I think of conflicts that will be suitable, note that down, and hope for the best as I write each day. I’m a pantser, and no matter how many times I’ve sat down to plan things, they never end up that way!
9. What do you read for pleasure?
ROMANCE! Honestly, I love to read the genre I write. I’ll pick up a book from one of my favourite authors, or a Mills & Boon from my favourite line, Cherish (not that I’m biased or anything).
10. Describe your desk.
My desk is very tidy. I have my laptop, a glass of water, my notebook, but that’s about it. My brain thinks better when things are economical.
11. Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember the first story I read that had an impact on me…does that count? It was Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, and it was the first time I remember thinking about the mind that had created the story I was so enthralled by. I wanted to be someone who did that, and that solidified my dream of becoming a writer.
12. Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Cape Town, and the biggest influence it’s had on me is where and who I write about. I love Cape Town, and South Africa, and I love setting my stories here, or around here (on fictional islands, like in my Conveniently Wed, Royally Bound duet). I write about the people I see here, in my community, because I didn’t see them nearly enough in the books I read growing up.
13. What are your five favourite books, and why?
The first three book in the In Death series by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts). The heroine, Eve, is damaged, tough, and strong, and the hero, Roarke is just as damaged, sexy and smart. Their chemistry is amazing, and the storylines – which revolve around Eve and Roarke’s personal growth and the murder cases Eve solves in her job – are particularly poignant in these three books. I also love the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, for the above mentioned reasons, and Suddenly One Summer by Julie James, because it’s funny and romantic and just a good read.
14. Where do you draw inspiration from?
Anywhere! That’s the beauty of being an author – anything can inspire you. Generally, for me, it’s emotion or an event that makes me feel something.
15. What is your perfect day like?
Thank you Therese for sharing with us. It’s lovely getting to know you better.