Jo Watson What Happens on Vacation

Bestselling author Jo Watson and her latest novel ‘What Happens on Vacation’. Image: Supplied.

Bestselling romance author unpacks the story behind latest novel

In an exclusive interview with ‘The South African’, bestselling author Jo Watson discusses her new romance novel ‘What Happens on Vacation’.

Jo Watson What Happens on Vacation

Bestselling author Jo Watson and her latest novel ‘What Happens on Vacation’. Image: Supplied.

South African author Jo Watson is no stranger to the world of romance stories. She has written over ten romantic comedy novels and she started publishing her earlier works on Wattpad. Her work has been translated into six different languages and has become bestsellers all over the world.

Her latest novel, What Happens on Vacation, tells the deliciously romantic and devilishly funny story of a classic enemy-to-lovers romance. It is the perfect novel to take with on vacation or to cuddle up with on the couch and pretend you are on a beach somewhere.

In an exclusive interview with The South African, Watson unpacks her writing process behind What Happens on Vacation, shares her literary heroes and dishes on her writing pet peeves.


What Happens on Vacation tells the hilarious story of overworked journalist Margaret who gets the chance to go on an all-expenses-paid trip to Zanzibar. But there is one catch: she has to go on the trip with Jagger Villain, a man she cannot stand. Away from the office and in a tropical paradise, Margaret beings to wonder if her archnemesis maybe has some good qualities. Could the holiday from hell turn into the vacation of her dreams? Readers will have to find out…

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When asked about the inspiration behind her bestselling new novel, What Happens on Vacation, Watson laughs and says “You know, I can’t pinpoint one moment where inspiration struck. My inspiration comes from absorbing other stories and people-watching. I love people-watching”. She goes on and says that she has always wanted to write a book set in Zanzibar but was waiting for the right story.

As a writer, I am always on the lookout for inspiration. I don’t sit around waiting for it to hit me; I go and find it. I absorb stories and these stories then become other stories.

Author Jo Watson on her writing process.


As well as a prolific writer, Watson is a voracious reader as well. When asked about her favourite authors, Watson stated that she reads anything and everything she can get her hands one. It might be a shock to fans to find out that the one genre Watson does not read often is romance. She said, “I prefer dark stories. Ones that confront you and make you think”.

She enjoyed reading the gritty dark noir novel Any Man by Amber Tamblyn as well as Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka.

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As a writer who began sharing her stories with the world on Wattpad, Watson is very passionate about dismantling the stigma that comes from reading (and writing) romance novels. She says, “People need to get over it. Reading romance is not a guilty pleasure that you need to do in secret. Heaven forbid someone finds out!”.

Watson goes on to say that the romance genre is one of the most popular genres in the world and this is for a reason. People love love. Looking down on readers who enjoy romance stories is just ridiculous, Watson says.

Author Jo Watson. Image via Twitter @JoWatsonWrites.

With her incredible romance stories, jam-packed with humour and many life lessons, Watson is certainly showing that the romance genre is not one to be snubbed.


When asked about her future writing plans, Watson smiles and says, “I have many other books in me”. As a fan of young adult fiction, Watson says she would like to write more in this genre. “I would also like to write something dark, maybe. Who knows what the future holds?”.

Well, one thing is for sure, Jo Watson is a writing tour de force and the future looks bright for this author.

What Happens on Vacation is published by Headline Publishing Group and is available for purchase from Exclusive Books stores for R335.