Modern South Africa is a complex country with diverse cultures. When the Cape was first colonized by the Dutch they brought their laws and religion. Eventually, these laws and religions impacted harshly on the indigenous populations and others considered less worthy. Calvinism was the predominant religion. Despite the English taking control later, the Dutch ideals still prevailed right into modern times. I have lived through our Apartheid years and hated it. I then went back in our history and found things were even more close-minded, concerning religion, cultural superiority, and illegitimacy etc. and wove my story for "The Bastard," around that.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Old-fashioned, standard publishers are too fixed on genre specifics. My books are not just mystery, suspense, drama, sex or romance. It seemed I had no niche where my type of books could fit. I received many, many rejection letters for a book called "Raging" which I still have not published and my first ebook, Twilight Path--I must say the rejections were justified, but not because the writing was under par, but because I didn't adhere to a genre. I am grateful Twilight Path was rejected because it forced me to dig deeper and write better--much better. "Raging" is also being re-written.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Well, I've only recently launched my books and within one day of offering coupon discounts, I've sold one copy of my newest book, "The Bastard." So, that is encouraging. I've had it on another book site for three months and nothing happened. I love that Smashwords gives so much free advice and makes launching books easy. Well, except for the formatting, but that is also very doable with a little effort.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
A number of things. I can disappear into another world that I've created. I bring joy to readers who also want to disappear into my world. And the words, how one can craft sentences that pop, created characters to love or hate, I simply love writing.
What do your fans mean to you?
Wow, well, everything. Their encouraging comments spur me on to greater heights. Negative comments drive me towards improvement even more. I love hearing what they enjoy reading and what they hate.
What are you working on next?
A medieval, two-part book, "Cursed Blood" and a two-part YA fantasy book, "Akir." I actually work on about four books at any given time. If I'm stuck on one I give it a break and move onto one of the others. "Raging" is my first baby and feel-good go-to book when I need downtime.
Who are your favorite authors?
I mostly read history books and biographies, but love Shakespeare, Dante Alighieri, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Dickens, D. H. Lawrence, Victoria Holt, Dan Brown, Chris Ryan and many others. I have fairly catholic tastes
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Writing and painting.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Spending time with my three adult children, reading, cooking, and organic gardening.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Troll the ebook internet, but I am disappointed more often than not.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was a short story called, "Monsieur Onion."
What is your writing process?
I get an idea, usually in the middle of the night or early morning, then jot down the idea in a notebook. I love first chapters and usually write that by the seat-of-my-panties. I then start a file called, "Story Outline." That contains a brief synopsis and character lists as they evolve, but all this invariably changes as I write. I start writing at about 5 or 6 AM and finish, depending on chores, at about 4:30 PM. I may continue later if I'm on a roll. I spend a hell of a lot of time on research and there are days when I hardly get any words down.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. It fueled my imagination, which has always been very fertile anyway.
How do you approach cover design?
I'm an artist but researched cover designs because it's very different from painting pictures. I use a free program called "Gimp," which is not easy to use, but great once you get it.
What do you read for pleasure?
Romance or mystery/suspense.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
PC or iPad
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Facebook so far.
Describe your desk
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Zambia, Livingstone (Northern Rhodesia) It was a country filled with wacky, interesting characters and the bush with its wildlife was spectacular--these two things are often what I draw on in my Africa based books.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Gone With The Wind--I love that it's an all-time classic romance. Wolf and the Dove--also because it's a classic medieval romance. Agony and the Ecstacy--an excellent biography of Michaelangelo. All Shakespeare's plays--just great writing. The Count of Monte Cristo--an amazing book of human triumph and endurance.
What is the most important thing about writing?
Research, editing, editing and editing some more.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.