Interviews with people from the wonderful world of romance publishing
This series of interviews started because I’m fascinated by everything to do with our world. If you’re not ‘in it’, then it probably seems a little strange – or a lot strange. But being a writer means that I’m always interested in people’s lives, what makes them tick – so what better way than to talk to the people I know and work with.
And because I spent time asking them a ton of questions, I thought I’d better start this series by answering some of them myself…
I hope you enjoy them!
Interview with Jane Harvey-Berrick
Jane Harvey-Berrick is the author of the taboo romance The Education of Sebastian/The Education of Caroline, and possibly the luckiest woman in the world, because she also co-authors with model and former professional rugby-player, Stuart Reardon.
Q So, what’s Stuart Reardon really like?
Well, I’d say that ‘what you see is what you get’ because Stu is very straightforward, also very calm and even tempered. But there’s a lot more to his handsome face and cover-worthy body. He’s also smart, resourceful, thoughtful and kind. Yes, I think that’s the word I’d use to describe him, kind.
He’s very determined and hardworking, but he’s also stubborn LOL. If he doesn’t agree with something, he won’t lose his temper, but you won’t win that argument either.
He’s also very loyal and he’s become a good friend. I absolutely love him to bits.
Q When did you start to feel like a writer?
It wasn’t when I wrote my first book, or even my second or third, it was several years before I didn’t feel like a fraud when people asked me what I did for a living. Even now, in the tiny village where I live, most people don’t know what I do. They see me walking my little dog and drinking coffee at the beach café with my husband—they have no idea that I’m planning and plotting my next book. And that doesn’t bother me at all.
Q What is the most rewarding part of being a writer?
There are so many rewarding parts—creating a universe of people from your mind; seeing that become a book; and getting messages from readers that the story has touch them in some way. That’s an incredible and humbling feeling.
Q What do you want to achieve?
To write, forever. I have the best job, despite the odd hours, the intensity, the aloneness. I wouldn’t say ‘lonely’ because my world is filled with hundreds of made-up people. But it’s a strange existence. I spend 95% of time alone, and then go to an event where it’s full on. It does lead for a rather split personality at times.
Q What is your favourite reader experience, either in messages or at a Gift Box event?
There have been many. One that always comes to mind is a reader who emailed me after she’d read The Education of Caroline. It’s set largely in Afghanistan, and US Marine Sebastian Hunter is in love with Caroline. He gets badly injured and it’s touch-and-go whether he’ll survive.
A reader wrote to me to say that Sebastian reminded her so much of her love, who was also a US Marine, but he never came home from Afghanistan.
I realized then that being a writer comes with a great responsibility to tell the truth within the framework of a fictional narrative. I don’t always get it right, but I take research very seriously.
On a lighter note, Brazilian readers give the best hugs. I’ve learned that there are two kinds of hugs: a British hug, which is friendly and nice, rather quick and gentle; and a Brazilian hug where your heart beats next to the person who’s hugging you. AmaZing!
Thank you for giving me that experience, Gift Box.
Q What is your philosophy in life?
Simple: be nice.
Q Describe yourself in three words.
Born to write.
Q How would your best friend describe you?
Ooh, ouch. Okay, um: driven, moody, loyal.
At least I hope they’d say that.
Q If you were an animal, what would you be?
My little dog Pip has a great life. But maybe a bird like a golden eagle, soaring over the mountains. No, wait! A dolphin, swimming through the world’s oceans.
Q Most likely to say…
I shared a room with author MS Fayes, and she very quickly picked up the word ‘bollocks!’. It’s a very British swear word. Yeah, sorry about that.
Q Least likely to say…
I don’t read books.
Q What is your favourite colour and why?
Yellow, because it’s cheerful.
Q When you’re having a bad day, what cheers you up?
A good book and a hot chocolate.
Q What would be your ideal day? Where would you be? Who would you be with?
Walking on the beach with Pip, then going for a coffee with my husband, then going home and writing a bestseller. Two out of three is pretty good, right?
Q Mountains and snow, or beaches and sunshine?
Can I have snow on the beach?
Q Do you think writers are different to other people? Are we observers? Creators?
Yes, definitely. We make things up for a living. It’s magical but weird when you think about it.
Q Have you ever written with a friend? What was the experience like? How did it differ from writing by yourself? What were the pros and cons?
Yes! Stuuuu! It was fascinating and I loved it. We can’t wait to write together again soon. We’ve got soooo many books planned, we just don’t have the time.
I spend so much time alone, it was great to be part of a team again. He has my back – I know that without question.
There have been no cons. I’ve made a friend for life.
Q Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Giving my Oscar speech for ‘Best Original Screenplay’ or ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’. Failing that, right here, writing another book.
Q What message would you like to give to the people who read your books?
Thank you. Without you, there is no me.