Myne Whitman, author of A Love Rekindled and A Heart to Mend writes extensively about life and romance on her blog, Myne Whitman Writes. The blog features real life romance stories and practical advice any young girl or woman can practically use in her existing or future relationships. Her Ask Myne column throws questions out to her readers who give very diverse and insightful advice and suggestions. And even though Myne is a fiction romance writer, her stories are still believable and realistic – something I wish was around more when I was growing up.
When and why did you decide to become a romance author?
I began writing as a young girl, mostly adventures for kids that featured girls like me. I wrote my first romance after I got into university. It was a sort of decompression after this new level of study. I returned to writing in 2009 after I got married and had the opportunity to write again.
What kind of books did you read growing up?
I read voraciously and covered a varied mix of books Nigerian, African and more. When I was younger, it was the Ladybird series, Enid Blyton, the African Writers Series and the Pacesetter series. As I got older, I moved to romance novels like Mills and Boon, Harlequin and Silhouette. I also read Robert Ludlum, Stephen King, Leon Uris, and Dean Koontz, basically just about any book I could lay my hands on for longer than an hour usually got finished. I also read some literature text and the classics in the libraries around me.
Would you say the romance novels you read growing up presented a balanced view of fictional love and relationships versus the real life version you saw around you?
I would say that when I read them, I realized they were an ideal, something to aspire to rather than what everyone had. Even in the books, this was made very clear. Some made an effort to be balanced by featuring heroines and heroes who had experienced dysfunctional or abusive relationships before having another opportunity to find real love. Living in Nigeria back then also, the method of showing love was very different.
Children, and especially teenaged and young adults, are shaped by what they see and read, how has the romance novels you read during your formative years shaped your creativity as a romance writer?
A lot indeed. Of all the books I read, romance novels stood out as making the biggest impression on my personality and outlook on life. And thus formed my decision to write romance novels too.
How have the romance novels you read during your formative years shaped your outlook on love and relationships as an adult? How have you been able to separate the two?
Along with other life experiences, the books made me realize that most times, the closest bonds and relationships we’re able to form are what determine our life outcomes. I have been able to separate the two but also merge them if you see what I mean. I decided to aim for the ideal and I think right now, I am living it.
Do you find yourself trying to create a more balanced view of fiction versus reality in your own work?
I am a very realistic person. I don’t find that I consciously try to create a more balanced romance, what happens is that my characters are the balanced ones, and I write the realistic life choices they make into my stories.
Yes I do, and it varies from book to book. At the core however, I want my readers to feel positive and open to experience the fullness of life and love. At the same time, I want the female readers to be strong and believe in themselves.
Which of your novels would you highly recommend to readers and why?
I have a soft spot for A Love Rekindled, because the hero, Kevwe, is not your typical macho man. He is flawed both physically and emotionally and I can see myself falling in love with him.
Myne Whitman’s books can be found on Amazon.com and at your their nearest bookstore.