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!
Author:
Publish date:

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!

*****

writing_the_romance_novel

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.

ties_that_tether_by_jane_igharo_a_novel_book_cover

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. 

jane_igharo_exploring_romance_through_the_lens_of_an_immigrant_caught_between_her_culture_and_her_heart

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.

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Kentucky’s Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson discusses how each project has its own process and the difference between writing fiction and her new memoir, Perfect Black.

From Script

Approaching Comedy from a Personal Perspective and Tapping into Your Unique Writer’s Voice (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, interviews with masters of comedy, screenwriter Tim Long ('The Simpsons') and writer-director Dan Mazer (Borat Subsequent Movie) about their collaboration on their film 'The Exchange', and filmmaker Trent O’Donnell on his new film 'Ride the Eagle' co-written with actor Jake Johnson ('New Girl'). Plus, tips on how to tap into your unique voice and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not accepting feedback on your writing.

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Here are the top creativity websites as identified in the 23rd Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Poetic Forms

Englyn Proest Dalgron: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the englyn proest dalgron, a Welsh quatrain form.

What Is a Palindrome in Writing?

What Is a Palindrome in Writing?

In this post, we look at what a palindrome is when it comes to writing, including several examples of palindromes.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Set a Trap

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Set a Trap

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's time to set a trap.

5 Ways to Add a Refrain to Your Picture Books (and Why You Should)

5 Ways to Add a Refrain to Your Picture Books (and Why You Should)

Children's author Christine Evans shares how repetition is good for growing readers and gives you the tools to write your story's perfect refrain.

From Our Readers

Describe the First Time a Book Transported You to Another/Magical World: From Our Readers (Comment for a Chance at Publication)

This post announces our latest From Our Readers ask: Describe the First Time a Book Transported You to Another/Magical World. Comment for a chance at publication in a future issue of Writer's Digest.