Today we welcome a special guest, Harlequin Romance author, Therese Beharrie, to our Origin Stories feature.
The first time my mother took me to a library, I was shocked. I had already loved reading, so the shelves of books were a dream come true. There were so. many. books. As I worked my way through them, I discovered my favourite parts were always romantic. If there was no romance, or the romance, in my opinion, was inadequate, I would make it up. (That’s how Nancy Drew and Ned ended up married with three children, all of whom shared their mother’s inquisitive nature, in my head.) By the time my cousin slipped me my first Mills & Boon—when I was much too young to read them—she was introducing me to a genre I had already fallen in love with, albeit unknowingly.
I don’t know at what point that love turned into a desire to write romance. All I know was that for as long as I can remember, that’s what I wanted to do. In my final year at university, I realised that if I was serious about this dream, I needed to see if I could actually write. In the same year, I discovered the Harlequin So You Think You Can Write competition. It felt like fate, so for the first time in my life, I tried my hand at a writing a full-length romance novel.
And finished the worst thing I’ve ever written.
(At least, so I hope.)
The first chapter was in good enough shape to enter the competition though, and I made it through to the second round. I didn’t win, but I got the attention of an editor. She was the same editor who reached out after I entered the following year’s competition. We worked together to make my entry worthy of a publication contract with Mills & Boon, and here I am, five years and nineteen books later.
I’d tell any aspiring author to never give up on their dreams. It doesn’t matter how unlikely you think becoming published is—the chances are almost always higher than you think. You only need to take a chance on yourself.
Because if you don’t, who will?
Therese Beharrie is a South African romance author of several acclaimed novels, including her One Day to Forever series. She takes pride in writing diverse characters and settings, and her books are often recommended for their heart and banter. She lives in Cape Town with her husband, her inspiration for every hero, and two adorable baby boys.
You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Bookbub, or catch up with her on her writing blog. You can also learn more about her in the following interviews: Tygerburger, CapeTalk, and TimesLive.