Hi dear readers!
I am back with another interview from one of my favorite writing duet: Jane Harvey Berrick and Stuart Reardon!
I confess that I had been very impressed with their first book Undefeated. So much that I contacted Jane at the time asking if they would agree to answer some questions (well, more than some !).
You can find their first interview (with how they met, what their childhood was like etc) HERE (click on the graphic).
Now they are back with Model Boyfriend and I had once again so many questions! So I reached for them once more and here is how it went:
“Hi Jane, Hi Stuart !
First of all let me thank you for agreeing to answer my questions once again!
I really enjoyed reading Model Boyfriend and had so many questions bursting in my brain all the time!
As I’ve already broached your childhood and how you met in my first interview, I will focus on the “after” and on Model Boyfriend and career changes.
I will link this interview to the first one and people will have a “whole” picture!
As usual, only answer the questions you feel comfortable with!”
Now ladies and gents, let them talk!
About your writing tandem and life since publishing Undefeated
1)Jane and Stuart, let’s talk about the past months since you published Undefeated. How has it been? A whirlwind of promotion? Stuart was it different from what you expected it to be? And Jane is it better to promote with a team mate?
Jane: Yes, it’s been amazing. The interest from foreign publishers wasn’t something we’d anticipated. UNDEFEATED is in Portuguese and Italian, and will soon be in French and German, too.
Stuart: I didn’t have any expectations to be honest, I try not to go into anything thinking like that, it can sometimes add more pressure to anything your trying to do, it felt like a great idea, my life story is interesting so I knew if myself and Jane put the work into the story, it would be great. It’s been amazing like Jane said, I’m very proud of it and so happy with the response from the readers, the foreign publishing rights are taking us to some cool places, I’m very grateful for everything that’s been happening it’s so cool.
2) Tell us about your recent trip to Brazil. Was it the first time? How did you find it? First impression? Any anecdote? Favorite part of this trip? Any gossip? Or embarrassing memories?
Jane: We had an awesome trip to Brazil where we were treated like family, and met some fantastic readers there as well as in Rome last month – wonderful! Got hugged A LOT 🙂
Meeting two long-time fb friends, Carol and Bruninha was a highlight for me, as well as getting to know the crazy funny Brazilian author M S Fayes. Love her to bits!
Stuart: We had an amazing time in brazil, it was my second time visiting this beautiful country, the people are so warm and friendly we had a great response to undefeated, the girls at the giftbox who launched the book where amazing.
3) Jane and Stuart was it different to write for this sequel than for Undefeated? Smoother maybe? Did you change your working pattern? Lessons learned? Did you want to settle some difference with some silly challenges (definitely not arm wrestling as I guess who would have won all the time…Jane of course by kicking Stuart in the shin under the table duh ). Still not wanting to get rid of the other (I may or may not have contacts in the Mob …)?
Jane: It’s a very different type of story. It’s not boy-meets-girl because Nick and Anna have been together five years at the start of the story. It’s about sustaining an adult relationship when the world throws wrenches at you.
The writing process was a little different as we know each other much better now. It was a fun, creative process, all based on Stu’s experiences.
The only argument Stu and I had was about having me on the cover. Clearly, I lost that one…
Stuart: It’s a very different story than the first like Jane said, but just as great to write with Jane, a kind of therapy you could say as it’s all based on my experiences, I loved working on both books with Jane, she’s incredibly talented and I’m very proud of both books, and the 3rd which isn’t released yet. (Touch my soul) 😀 Haha yes the cover 😉 Touch my soul is your cover Jane.
4) Who came with the idea of the “after”? Was it already planned when you began writing Undefeated or did you have such a hoot writing together that you just had to do it again?
Jane: Both. As soon as we’d finished UNDEFEATED we knew that we wanted to write together again, and MODEL BOYFRIEND was the natural progression.
We’re planning more books, but about different characters…
Stuart: Jane had the original idea to write the 1st book undefeated, once we worked on that we knew Nick and Anna’s story had to continue, there was so much more that had happened we could write about, it just made perfect sense.
About career changes and repercussion
5) Stuart what was the trigger that pushed you to end your career as a professional rugby player? Was it an injury and your body telling you “it’s enough now” like Nick?
6) Stuart did you prepare your second career or were you adrift for some time like Nick is in Model Boyfriend? How much of Nick’s experience is your experience or the one of some friends? Did you ever wanted to become a coach? If not why not? It seems such a logical choice. And between modelling and being a personal trainer what takes most of your time?
7) Jane if you could no longer write or earn a living as a writer what second career would you choose? What could trigger such a change? Writing cramps, sore back and stiff shoulders for typing all the time? What is your unknown talent that would allow you to be great at something else? Baking (sorry I am a fan of The Great British Bake Off), Sewing (yes yes I watched The Great Sewing Bee too), valuing antiques and collectables (yes yes The Antique Roadshow too), dancing, DIY, …? Maybe you are a great contortionist?
What a horrible thought! I’ve only ever wanted to write. I don’t suffer from nearly as many aches and pains since I’ve started going to a gym (over 2 years now). It’s really made a difference.
Other talents? I’m a crack shot. True story!
8)Stuart the book broaches the topic of depression, feeling adrift once professional athletes retire. They retire young and have to redefine the life. Find a new purpose. Know who they are without their sport. How was your transition? As difficult as Nick’s? Smoother? What and who helped you in your new life?
About Model Boyfriend and modelling
9)Jane did Stuart share some anecdotes about his current profession that surprised you? Shocked you? Or did you already know everything about the difficulties to transition to a new career and about some unsavory aspects of modelling (I think of the sleazy photographer and the NY party with drugs and kids underage in the book)?
Definitely! The dehydration before a shoot was news to me, as was the sleazoid factor, and the ‘private’ photoshoots.
10) Jane who was your first cover model? The one you contracted especially for your book and not bought a generic picture with no exclusive rights? Did you go on set or did you give all liberties to the photographer? How did it happen? How do you get to choose that photographer and that model and … Work of mouth? Was this first experience everything you thought it would be or were you surprised? Any juicy anecdote to share with us?
My first photoshoot wasn’t one that I could attend as both the model and photographer were based in Florida. The model was TYLER GATTUSO who has been on three of my books (THE TRAVELING MAN, THE TRAVELING WOMAN, ONE CAREFUL OWNER) and he’s become a friend. I’ve met him twice now, the last time with his lovely girlfriend (who is now his fiancée) in Florida. The photographer was MICHAEL ANTHONY DOWNS and we had dinner together last time I was in the US. Such a nice guy.
I contacted Michael because I loved his work. Tyler, at that time, hadn’t done much modelling. But now he’s done gazillions of shoots.
The first photoshoot I attended was with local surfer guys on my home beach. That was a ton of fun because I knew everyone well. But you know what, photoshoots aren’t very exciting—it’s hard work for everyone involved and very SLOW!
11) Stuart who was the first photographer your worked with and what was the picture for? If it was when you were still a professional rugby player was it any different than your first romance cover? Were your thoughts different from Nick’s or very similar? Were you also intrigued by the technical side of photography? And do you take backstage pictures that could maybe be published one day?
What is the book title of your first romance photo shoot?
12) Stuart you said in your first interview that your most embarrassing memory was being photographed naked for the first time. For what book was this done? Or was it for another project?
Have you worked with sleazy photographers like Nick will meet in the book? If so how did you react (A punch in the face? Leaving the set? …)?
13) Jane and Stuart do you have favorite photographers? What makes a good model? What does it take? And what makes a good photographer? Stuart did you ever have to dehydrate like Nick? And what aspect of modelling surprised you?
Jane: Michael Downs is a complete sweetheart, and I’m very fond of Golden Czermak—such a nice guy. I had the great luck to see Franggy Yanez at work when I was in Brazil with him—fascinating seeing him work. But you know what, Stu is a really talented photographer, and I saw him shooting both Franggy and the English model Vincent Azzopardi—the results were ah-may-zing!
I’m not sure I can say what makes a good model. But they have to be prepared, professional and personable. Oh wow – 3 Ps!
Stuart: A good Photogragher makes the model feel comfortable, shoots great angles, tries to create cool original shots with the model.
14) Stuart have you ever modelled for a rugby/sport’s Calendar (Les Dieux du Stade)? And Jane have you ever bought it? You can tell me you know there is no harm to look at men looking like living gods 😉 I bought it twice! One for a colleague who was single as a birthday present and once for my daughter as she wanted to gift it to her gay BFF. And yes I had a good look at said calendars but of course it was purely altruist and to make a good deed!
15) Stuart is it difficult or was it difficult for your fiancée to share you with other women knowing that it’s only on paper of course? What did you or do you tell her to make her feel unique and special? And Jane you may not be modelling but you are working and touring with hot men Stuart, the men of RARE …is it difficult for your husband? Does he keep an eagle eye on you? Or does he follow and enjoy meeting your fans? Both of you how does it work with family time touring the world and going to events?
Stuart: No Emma completely trusts me and supports me all I do, as I do her. I would do anything to hurt her.
Jane: I never even thought about that until recently when someone else asked me that. I was surprised, although I probably shouldn’t have been. Stu has become a friend, and besides, he has a very beautiful fiancée. No, my husband isn’t jealous—he gets to stay home, by the beach, with our little dog Pip. He’s proud of me, but he’s not involved in our crazy book world. I miss that when I’m away.
16) Who inspired the side characters in Model Boyfriend? Brendan is a pearl and was already in Undefeated but did you have someone special in mind to create his fabulous character? And all the rugby players, English or French did some of Stuart’s old teammates inspired them ?
Jane: Brendan is like a few gay guys I know, but Grégoire is based on someone Stu played with. Sometimes characters just write themselves because they’re so real in your head. That happened with Brendan.
17) Both Anna and Nick have doubts in this sequel. Anna thinks she is not enough for Nick to stay in England with her and at the same time wants to free him in the hope he’ll find his next goal and happiness. Nick does not think he deserves Anna as he has his pride and wants to earn a living, do something, be useful. How did you come with these thoughts? Were you inspired by some insecurities you witnessed in other’s lives? In your own Live? Did you have mini “shrink” sessions were you both thoughts aloud “how would Anna feel if …” “how would Nick react if …”? Something else?
Again, the characters are very real to us. Their distinct personalities made writing their story pretty straightforward. The broad plot was there from the start, but the rest was organic.
18)Again what was the hardest scene or chapter to write? And the easiest?
Brendan was a joy to write, so that was easy. The hardest part—making Anna step back from the relationship. It’s hard to write a romance when the main characters are apart for long periods of time. But that’s true of life for lots of couples—just recently Stu and I have experienced that. But think about military personnel who are deployed for months at a time, or oil rig workers, or people who travel for work. It’s a very real issue.
19) What is next for both of you?
Jane: We’ll be writing together again soon. And we have a novella coming out this December 🙂
Stuart: We are writing again soon with a novel coming out in December (Touch my soul)
And as usual both of you earned some lighter questions!
– If you could spend one day in someone else’s skin who (or what) would it be and why?
Jane: Maybe a top gymnast, to see what it feels like to have a body that is so strong and flexible.
Stuart: I would be Superman, fly, kick ass, never get hurt, regenerate. Etc, he’s bad ass!
–What do you hope your kids (or future kids) will NEVER know that you did (*hide this interview*)?
Jane: I have a furbaby. She’s 13 ½. I hope she stays healthy.
Stuart: Now!!! That would giving my secret away lol.
–Favorite place to spend your holiday? And resting or doing sports all the time?
Jane: At home! Swimming in the sea and walking Pip.
Stuart: Traveling, exploring cool places, working out, running, create cool pictures and making videos.
–Favorite cocktail? (Ooops I used the “name we can’t use!” 😉)
Jane: A Sea Breeze – vodka and cranberry juice with grapefruit. Refreshing!
-You stumble upon an old oil lamp on the beach and of course happen to inadvertently rub it (someone has to clean this dirty antique right?). Your personal genie appears and grants you three wishes for freeing him. What would they be (not having to answer interviews anymore maybe…)?
Jane: Assuming I can’t wish for world peace or the end of famine…
More time to write
Health for the people I love
More time to see friends
That’s it! A huge thank you for your time and congratulations on your book! I hope to meet you at the next RARE event (I will attend Paris and plan to attend London as well).
Thank you, Sophie! Great questions! Jane x
Thank you Sophie 😀