WCW: Meet South African Mills & Boon Author

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.

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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.

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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:

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/theresebeharrie

Twitter: www.twitter.com/theresebeharrie

Website: www.theresebeharrie.com

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KROTOA – A Khoisan heroin that cannot be forgotten

Krotoa –  is a significant name which had almost been erased in South Africa’s history, until this film was written and produced.  The film tells the story of a Khoisan tragic heroin who was taken from her close-knit family at just 11 years old to become Jan van Riebeeck’s language interpreter.

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Image courtesy of Uwe Jansch.

She grows into a visionary young woman, who assimilates the Dutch language and culture so well that she rises to become an influential interpreter for van Riebeeck,  the first Governor of the Cape Colony.

Krotoa, who was renamed ‘Eva’ by the Dutch, was eventually rejected by her own people and by the Dutch.

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She is one of the women in history, whose impact is generally forgotten yet whose story touches on important subjects of identity, sense of belonging and reconciliation.

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The film has already received official selections and awards at international film festivals and will be on South Africa’s big screens during Women’s Month.

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The sky isn’t the limit, it’s my office!

We are often told that the sky is the limit. Oyama Matomela, a commercial pilot license holder at 22, South African brand ambassador and strong believer in our living God disputes this, saying it’s more like her office. She is a loving, fun person, with a whole lot of spunk. She believes that laughing is one of the best things on earth and describes herself as sassy, driven, goal-orientated and ambitious beyond her abilities (sometimes). She is added to the ever-growing list of Sorority Sayings contributors, and this is what she had to say!

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SS: When did you realize that you wanted to be a pilot?

OM: Early memories of family trips taken to the Port Elizabeth International Airport to watch in fascination while the aircrafts take-off and land, brought to me an unimaginable dire need to venture into Aviation and Piloting in my teen years

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SS:When did you qualify?

OM: The Department of Roads and Transport of The Eastern Cape awarded me a bursary to commence my initial pilot training (theoretical and practical) at 43 Air School, Port Alfred in January of 2010. A life-changing year and eight months was spent in what was the most challenging and seemingly impossible experience that without a doubt tested my passion for flying. This tested me, drove me to work harder than I ever thought I could. There was no limit I would not stretch to, to achieve my goal of becoming a multi-engine, instrument rated commercial pilot in August of 2011.

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SS: What where the biggest obstacles to obtaining your wings?

OM: It became difficult for a low hour pilot such as myself, to find a job in this ever growing Aviation Industry. In December 2012, I self-studied gearing myself to write the Airline Transport Pilot License Examinations in March 2012 which I did and successfully passed all of them.I then enrolled for the September 2012 Grade III Flight Instructor Rating course (fixed wing) with the aid of The Department of Roads and Transport of The Eastern Cape, which I successfully completed and became a qualified Grade III Flight Instructor in December 2012.

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SS: Please share some of the struggles that women face in this industry.

OM: As females we are, for the most part, raised in a different light. Playing with dolls in princess castles rather than being exposed to machinery, while men are generally exposed to racing cars as young boys, this raises the stereotype that compared to men, females do not have the natural ability to fly. As a female pilot in a male dominated industry, you take these stereotypes in your stride and pray more often, work harder, practice discipline and sacrifice your all. With passion, half the battle is won.

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SS: You recently won an award, what was it and how were you selected?

OM: I was recently nominated for CEO Communications’ “Most Influential Women in Business and Governance”. I was notified by CEO Communications that I had been nominated. I then had to fill in an extensive questionnaire of my qualifications and role to society in the Aviation Sector. A selection process narrowed the nine thousand nominations and entries to just under one hundred. It was an incredible honour to be nominated for this role and an overwhelming surprise to receive a finalist award in the Aviation Sector.

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SS: How do young girls, who look up to you, join the industry?

OM: I would definitely encourage young women and girls to pursue a career in the Aviation industry. Young girls should start off on the right foot at school in concentrating on Mathematics and Science. These are two subjects that sponsorships and bursary benefactors base their selection processes on.

Mostly,as women we shouldn’t limit our dreams. Nothing is impossible, even the word says “I’M POSSIBLE”.

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Happy Birthday Captain Ojams! We celebrate you! Keep rocking the runway!

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