Skip to main content
Publish date:

Jane Igharo: Exploring Romance Through the Lens of an Immigrant Caught Between Her Culture and Her Heart

Debut novelist Jane Igharo shares her experience writing and publishing Ties That Tether, why some immigrants forbid their children to marry outside their ethnicity, and more!

Jane Abieyuwa Igharo was born in Nigeria and immigrated to Canada at the age of 12. She has a journalism degree from the University of Toronto and works as a communications specialist in Ontario, Canada. When she isn't writing, she's watching "Homecoming" for the 100th time and trying to match Beyoncé's vocals to no avail.

Jane Igharo (photo credit: Borada Photography)

Jane Igharo (photo credit: Borada Photography)

(Women's Fiction or Romance? The differences and why they matter.)

In this post, Igharo shares her experience writing and publishing Ties That Tether, why some immigrants forbid their children to marry outside their ethnicity, and more!



Do you yearn to write a romantic story? If so, you need to know what sets romance writing apart from other types of fiction. This course explores why romance is the same, yet different. Some essential components of romance are unique to the genre, while some romance requirements are identical to those of any good fiction story. Neither Stephen King nor Tom Clancy could sit down and write a romance unless he first familiarized himself with the specific factors that create a successful romance. This workshop will help you to understand those specific factors that make up the specialized world of romantic fiction!

Click to continue.


Name: Jane Igharo
Literary agent: Kevan Lyon
Title: Ties That Tether
Publisher: Berkley
Release date: September 29, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Elevator pitch for the book: A Nigerian woman promises her dying father she’ll marry a Nigerian man even after immigrating to Canada, but when she meets and falls for a man who is white, she’s caught between her family’s wishes and her own and tries to reconcile her identity as a Nigerian woman and her identity as an immigrant.


IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Amazon

(Writer's Digest uses affiliate links.)

What prompted you to write this book?

With what I had experienced as a Nigerian woman living in Canada—dealing with my identity as an immigrant, dating men within and outside my ethnicity, and dealing with my family’s expectations—I wanted to write a story about a woman who looked like me and shared similar experiences. Telling this story came very naturally because of the parallels between myself and Azere, the main character.

How long did it take to go from idea to publication?

It took roughly four years, and the idea changed a lot. I received plenty of great feedback from agents who turned down the manuscript initially, friends who were kind enough to offer their time, critique partners who never shied away from the harsh truth, my Pitch Wars mentor, and my editor at Berkley. 

(6 writing group best practices.)

Sometimes, the changes were minor and required me to focus on the personal growth or personality of one character. Sometimes, the changes were major and required that I delete chapters or rearrange the structure of the entire book. Every change I made was definitely for the best.

Were there any surprises in the publishing process for this title?

This is my first book, and it was interesting to learn about all the moving parts in the publishing industry. An author does their job by writing a book, but there are so many other contributions from the editor, publicist, marketing manager, art director, and many others. 


So much goes into publishing a book and making it a success, and for years, I’ve been oblivious to that. I’ve really enjoyed being exposed to this aspect of publishing.

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

Writing Ties that Tether gave me the opportunity to explore my experiences as an immigrant. It allowed me to take a closer look at myself and my family and to ask important questions and confront internal and external issues in a way I never had before. It was surprising how much I learned and grew from writing this book.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

Immigrants sometime forbid their children from dating or marrying someone outside their ethnicity. While people might label this as being prejudice, I wanted readers to understand this instead as fear. Moving to another country is exciting, but the possibility of losing one’s culture in their new environment can be frightening, and often, that’s the sole reason behind a parent forbidding their child from dating outside their ethnicity.

If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

It’s cliché, but don’t give up. And this doesn’t mean sending out loads of queries, no matter how many rejections you get. Not giving up can also mean exploring other ways to enhance your craft like taking writing workshops or classes, entering a mentorship program, studying the market, and reading more, especially in the genre you want to write in. 

Sometimes, it can also mean reevaluating your strategy to publication. And sometimes, not giving up can mean shelving a project and beginning a new one—no matter how hard that might be.

3 Things Being a Broadway Wig Master Taught Me About Storytelling

3 Things Being a Broadway Wig Master Taught Me About Storytelling

A career behind the curtain helped Amy Neswald in creating her own stories. Here, the author shares 3 things being a broadway wig master taught her about storytelling.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Out of Control

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Out of Control

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let things get a little out of control.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Next Steps

Here are the final steps for the 14th annual November PAD Chapbook Challenge! Use December and the beginning of January to revise and collect your poems into a chapbook manuscript. Here are some tips and guidelines.

NaNoWriMo’s Over … Now What?

NaNoWriMo’s Over … Now What?

After an intense writing challenge, you might feel a little lost. Here are some tips from Managing Editor and fellow Wrimo Moriah Richard for capitalizing on your momentum.

Ian Douglas: On Telling the Truth in Science Fiction

Ian Douglas: On Telling the Truth in Science Fiction

New York Times bestselling author Ian Douglas discusses how he incorporated implausible conspiracy theories to uncover the truth in his new science fiction novel, Alien Hostiles.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 589

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a yesterday poem.



Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write about revenge.

Peter Fiennes: On Finding Hope in the Writing Process

Peter Fiennes: On Finding Hope in the Writing Process

Critically acclaimed author Peter Fiennes discusses his quest to find hope in his new travel/Greek mythology book, A Thing of Beauty.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 30

For the 2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Today's prompt is to write a The End and/or The Beginning poem.