Meet Therese Beharrie, who in January 2017, published her first book with Harlequin/Mills & Boon. She tells us about her journey as a young South African author.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Mills & Boon books are the romances your mother and grandmother used to read back in the day. But have you picked up a Mills & Boon lately? If you haven’t, you should. There are different lines that cater to different needs, and a lot of them are really modern, while maintaining that fantasy element.
I know this because Mills & Boon bought my first book when I was 23. I’m 25 now, and have three books published so far, with another three (for now) scheduled for release in 2018. I strive to write books that cater to a modern audience, and while I’ll readily admit I didn’t realise this power at first – or the one I have as a South African woman who looks like me – I do now.
But first, let me tell you about romance.
It’s celebrated for being written by women, for women because it gives women agency. Heroines have power – mentally, physically, emotionally. From the moment I truly realised this, I’ve tried to create female characters who are strong and powerful. Who are in charge of their careers, their relationships, their mental and emotional growth. The world today doesn’t often celebrate this, but I choose to believe that small contributions like my own will create a world for my daughters where powerful women will be celebrated.
My upcoming release, United by Their Royal Baby, is an example of that kind of world. The heroine is literally a queen. She looks like me and those in my community – another thing I hope my children with see more of in the future – and she’s powerful. She finds that power in being human. Flawed. And she understands that that makes her strong; falling in love for her is a celebration of that strength.
I hope my books will encourage other South Africans, women, and women of colour, to be unafraid to dream. I hope more of these women will be inspired to write, and that writing will help them to believe – and celebrate – their strength.
Therese is passionate about writing characters who look like her community, and her weekly blog posts are dedicated to helping new authors navigate the publishing industry while realising that they’re not alone. She lives in Cape Town, South Africa with an incredible husband and their two Husky-furbabies, and feels so blessed to be living her dream. See more here: