Interview with authors Stuart Reardon & Jane Harvey-Berrick

With Yael Waknin
Interview with authors Stuart Reardon & Jane Harvey-Berrick

Questions for authors Stuart Reardon & Jane Harvey-Berrick

1 – Have you always wanted to be a writer?

JHB Yes, but I thought I wanted to be a journalist. I did two short internships on local newspapers and didn’t enjoy it. I thought that meant I was wrong about wanting to be a writer – it took me years to find my way back.

SR Yes, ever since I played rugby professionally and got beaten up for a living! Haha, no I’m joking. I had a 16 year career as a rugby player. I played for Britain, played in France for a year, and have travelled to Tonga, Fiji, and Australia with my rugby teams. When I retired from rugby, I became a professional model and have been on the cover of over 100 romance books. I met Jane at a reader event in Dublin, Ireland. She suggested we write a fictionalized book together about my rugby career – and since then we’ve become besties and have never looked back. Our books have been translated in Brazil, Germany, France, Italy – and we’d love to see our books published in Israel.

2 – When you start a series of books – do you know in advance who the couples who will appear in the following books will be? Do you know what the plot will be?

JHB Yes and no! In Undefeated, we knew who the main characters would be and where their journey would take them. What we hadn’t expected was that we enjoyed writing about them so much, that we’d write a sequel, Model Boyfriend. And that was harder. Because most romances are ‘boy-meets-girl; boy-loses-girl; boy-reunites-with-girl’ or some version of that, which is absolutely fine. But we wanted to write Model Boyfriend about a couple who have already met, with all the difficulties of sustaining an adult relationship in the modern world, with work taking us away from home, and so on. We wanted the drama to come naturally from that, not from silly misunderstandings.

SR Sometimes. Undefeated is a fictionalized version of my life, but Model Boyfriend included some real life events, but some different scenarios, too.

Gym or Chocolate has a different start. When Jane and I started travelling together to promote our books, Jane always had a load of chocolate and I always ate it! People always think because I’m fit that I don’t eat sweets – but because I’m really fit, I can eat a lot more sweets LOL. Jane will tell you that’s true!

JHB Yes, he’s a chocolate thief! No chocolate is safe! He and his fiancée were coming to visit me this summer and he bought me a box of chocolates – but ate them all before he arrived!!!

SR We had the idea for Gym or Chocolate because I used to be a personal fitness trainer, and Jane had the idea for a romantic comedy based on that. We didn’t know that it would be a three-book series.

On a trip to Brazil, we met Vince. We thought he was crazy and so funny – so we wrote him into Gym or Chocolate, but readers loved him so much as a character, he ended up with his own book, The World According to Vince. The final book in the rom com series is entitled The Baby Game and is out in English on 24th November.

3 – Did you write a book and decide not to publish it?


SR No.

4 – Is there a topic you will never write about? If so, what is it?

JHB I’m very uncomfortable writing about abusive relationships. I touched on it in The Education of Sebastian but I didn’t want to be too graphic. I made it more coercive/verbally abusive.

My book Slave to the Rhythm is about a dancer from Slovenia who arrives in Las Vegas thinking that he’s achieved his dream, and finds out that he’s in the hands of Russian mafia ‘bratva’ who are trafficking people into modern-day slavery. That story gets quite dark, but again, I didn’t want to be too graphic.

SR Probably not. If I had an idea for a good story, any topic could make an interesting book. I wouldn’t rule out anything. Well, maybe I shouldn’t write about my chocolate addiction and how bad it is…

5 – Who wanted Stuart to be on the covers? Stuart – do you like to be the model for your books cover? And did Stuart appear on other covers that aren’t your books?

JHB I think we sort of fell into it! The first book we wrote together, Undefeated, was a fictionalized version of Stu’s life in rugby as a professional athlete, so it made sense to have him on the cover. After that, we carried on.

Stu isn’t on the cover of any of my solo books … yet! But I’m bringing out a duet next year, and he’ll be on the cover of the second one of those. Isn’t he lucky?!

SR Not Jane! She said, “When’s it my turn? You’ve been on the cover of all of them!”

Yes, I like being a model – otherwise I never would have travelled, and I’d have never met Jane and become a writer.

6 – Where did you get the inspiration for the stories?

JHB The inspiration for Undefeated came from meeting Stu at readers’ event in Dublin, Ireland. I knew him slightly from previous events and we were chatting. Then two readers came up and wanted to have their photograph taken with him. He went to put his arm around one of them and winced.

I asked him later if he was injured, because I knew he played rugby professionally as his day job.

He turned to me and said, “I’ve had surgery on my shoulder. I’ll never play rugby again.” And I remember thinking how devastating it must be to have something you love taken from you so suddenly. And I remember thinking that it would make a great story. I also knew that it wasn’t my story. So I asked Stu if he’d like to write it with me. He said yes! That was five years ago now, and we’ve written five full-length novels and one novella. We’ve also become great friends.

SR The inspiration for The Baby Game is based on my son, Phoenix, and all the things that Em and I went through before and after he was born. The baby Jax, is based on Jane’s nephew.

We haven’t decided what we’re going to do next – it could be drama, rom com, sci fi, fantasy. Hey, why don’t you ask your readers what they’d like us to write? That would be very cool.

7 – Who is your favorite couple you wrote about?

JHB Oh, that’s difficult! I love them all in different ways. But can I give a shout-out to Brendan who appears in Undefeated and he finally finds love with Grég in Model Boyfriend, and Grég is another rugby-player – it was the first gay romance that we wrote.

SR Nick and Anna in Undefeated, because it’s based (loosely) on my relationship with my fiancée Emma. It was really fun to write about the evil Molly as well.

8 – How long does it take you to write one book?

JHB Anything between 3 months and 6 months.

SR We don’t always just write, as in typing. We do a lot of online collaboration on FaceTime, and sometimes I send Jane voicemail messages about different scenes. Sometimes I write scenes and Jane puts them into the story. Yeah, 3 to 6 months.

9 – What is your favorite genre to read?

JHB I read a lot of non-fiction. I’ve just published The Lilac Cadillac that is set partly in Britain during World War Two, and partly in modern day America. I read a lot of books about that period of time and about Native American culture (because one of the main characters is a Meskwaki Native American), and I loved that.

I read most genres – except Dark Romance.

SR Self-development books, and stoicism – using philosophy that’s been around for hundreds of years to make better choices in life and understanding your feelings. This year, I really enjoyed The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday.

10 – Who are your favorite writers?

JHB Jane Austen. Always.

SR Jane, and Ryan Holiday as a close second J Also James Clear, Atomic Habits (about breaking bad habits).

11- If you could turn one of your books into a movie – which book would you choose?

JHB I’d love to see our rom com trilogy become a movie: Gym or Chocolate, The World According to Vince and The Baby Game. We had so much fun writing these stories, and people have said that they find them inspiring as well as laugh-out-loud. It would be great to have people coming out of the cinema smiling.

SR I think our rom coms would make great, funny movies. I think they’d come across amazing in film – some of the scenes are so outrageous, it would be hilarious to watch.

Table of Contents

Yael Waknin
Yael Waknin
As a professional book editor, I know what it takes to make a romance novel great. Contact me today for my services that are both professional and affordable and your book will be on the path to success.
Like it? Share it
Interview with authors Stuart Reardon & Jane Harvey-Berrick

About the authors

JHB Stu and I have been writing together for four years – he’s just turned 40 and I’m not saying!

I’ve always wanted to write, but I thought I wanted to be a journalist. I found that I preferred making things up. I’ve worked in an art gallery, as a teacher, at a sexual health charity. I’ve been writing romance for nearly eight years. Wow! Eight years!

Stu is a dear, dear friend, and was one of the first people to offer to come down and stay with me when my husband died suddenly last year. He’s one of the kindest, most honest and loyal people I know. He, Emma and little Phoenix are like family.

My ‘hobby’ is my little dog, Winnie. She’s totally in love with Stu’s dog, Rocket. When they came here on vacation, we had to make sure that Rocket had a rest because Winnie was wearing him out!


Skip to content