November 2013


Romy Sommer is the author of Waking Up in Vegas and The Trouble with Mojitos. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa and also writes under the name Rae Summers. (Interview by Jade Craddock)

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  1. 1. Tell us a bit about your latest novel, The Trouble with Mojitos?

    Turquoise blue waters. Sandy white beaches. Mojitos… Film location scout Kenzie Cole has found herself in paradise. And working in the Caribbean for a week is just what she needs to escape the long line of exes in her closet. Though the last thing she expects is to be picked up at the resort bar by a disgraced former Prince! Luckily for Kenzie, exile is suiting the man formerly known as Prince Fredrik very well. And it’s not long before his rugged, pirate charm is proving hard to resist. But Rik’s been spending his time in paradise exorcising demons of his own and he has danger written all over him. If Kenzie was sensible she’d run a mile instead of lose herself to her lust – although, they do say that sometimes you have to get lost before you can be found….

  2. 2. What was the most difficult part of writing this novel?

    I’d heard of Second Book Syndrome before, and thought that since I’ve already written four novellas (under the name Rae Summers) that I’d be immune from it on this book. Ha! The book itself wasn’t that hard to write, but I battled a lot of doubts. (Would this book be as good as the first? Was I already a has-been?) But like with painful film shoots and childbirth, afterwards you don’t remember the agony, only the ecstasy.

  3. 3. Are any of the characters pulled from real life?

    A few of the secondary characters are based on real people - Lee, my heroine’s best friend, is based on an art director I once worked with, and Gerry, the lovable teddy bear of a unit production manager (who appears in the epilogue of The Trouble with Mojitos) is based on a dear friend of mine – expect to see more of Gerry in Book 3!

  4. 4. What response do you want your books to evoke in readers?

    I hope my readers will get absorbed in the story so much that the outside world ceases to exist for a few short hours. There’s so much stress and unhappiness in the world that if I can make someone smile, I’m happy.

  5. 5. So far you’ve set your book in Vegas and the Caribbean, are these favourite destinations of yours? What other destination would you like to write about?

    I have a lot of favourite destinations in the world – sadly, most of them I have yet to visit! Of the places I’ve actually been, I loved Rome and the Greek islands most of all. As to other destinations I’d like to write about ... there are just so many to choose from! I love living in South Africa and people often ask me why I don’t set my books here. I think that’s because when I write I want to be carried away in my own fantasies. South Africa isn’t my fantasy, it’s my reality. But maybe one day...

  6. 6. You are the founding member of the Romance Writers’ Organisation of South Africa, does romance writing and chick lit have a big following in South Africa? Which other South African romance/chick lit writers should we look out for?

    Romance and chick lit are well supported in South Africa, though readers still seldom confess to reading it. We’re quite an elitist literary society in South Africa ... if it isn’t poetry, politics or literary fiction, it doesn’t exist! ROSA is determined to change that, and I’m so pleased that in the time I’ve been writing there’s been an emergence of new authors and even book bloggers specialising in women’s fiction. We’re coming out of the closet, loud and proud of what we read! We have a list of South African romance & chick lit authors available here:

  7. 7. I understand you are involved in the movie business, what is your role and how does writing fit in to your life?

    I work as a production manager on television commercials, so my job involves managing the budgets and all the logistics planning (everything from negotiating with locations, hiring the film crew and equipment, to arranging transport and catering). Writing has to fit in around both the day job and my kids. I’ve given up a lot of TV in order to write - and quite a bit of sleep too! I dream of the day I’ll be able to write during working hours so I can start to do all those things other people do, like veg in front of the TV or have a social life!

  8. 8. How did you get into writing?

    My mother’s an English teacher so my whole life I’ve been surrounded by books and words. But even though I wrote romantic little stories for myself, I never thought of writing until someone asked if there was any way I could turn my obsession with Arthurian stories (anything and everything to do with King Arthur, Camelot and the Dark Ages) into money. The only way I could think of was to write my own version of the Arthurian legend. I never finished that first attempt, but my next book (a romance) was the first project I ever finished. After that, I was hooked on writing, and specifically writing stories with happy endings.

  9. 9. What inspires you to write?

    Absolutely anything and anything is inspiration – music, TV shows, other books, overheard conversations – even Huffington Post articles!

  10. 10. What’s the best and worst thing about being an author?

    The worst thing is still having a day job and not yet writing all day every day, but happily I don’t believe that will last forever. The best thing? Being a god-like creator to the people and places in my books. (Can you tell I’m a bit of a control freak?)

  11. 11. Which authors have inspired you in your journey to be a writer?

    I’m inspired by my fellow authors - first the Minxes of Romance and now my fellow Harper Impulse authors. Their support, understanding and encouragement are what got me here!

  12. 12. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

    The most important thing is to never give up. Only finished books get published! You’ll have to make sacrifices, and sometimes you’ll wonder if it’s worth it, but if you keep at it, your time will definitely come.

  13. 13. Which book can you not live without?

    This is a tough one. Can I cheat and say my Kindle, so that I have millions of books just a click away? If I absolutely had to choose, then Rhonda Byrne’s The Power is the one book I’d like to keep close. Whenever I’m feeling down, it manages to lift me right back up.

  14. 14. What do you think of the chick lit label?

    I really don’t mind labels if it helps readers find books they love to read. And to mis-quote Shakespeare – what’s in a name, anyway? Whether you’re calling it contemporary romance, rom-com or chick lit, there are readers who want to read what we want to write!

  15. 15. And finally, what is next for you?

    Next up is Book 3 (as yet untitled) in my Westerwald series. This is the book that will answer the question of what happened to the third Waldburg ring, a thread that ran through Waking up in Vegas and The Trouble with Mojitos.

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