Intriguing, intelligent woman: from self professed farm girl to bilingual author, she has a refreshing view of the world. I sent her questions in a hodgepodge fashion and she answered with such continuing detail, I have left that chaotic style here, so you get the full benefit of her words.
- What is your most intense, pleasant memory of South Africa and how has it influenced your writing?
I grew up in the country, I lived and travelled through Africa and South Africa. There is absolutely no way to pick just one memory, as I’ve had a full, rich life. Just about every part of my life influence my writing in one way or another *chuckles*
- What is your most intense, pleasant memory of London, UK and how has it influenced your writing?
Having been in the UK for 11 years, the same answer applies. There’s just too much to choose from and to single one moment out over another, feels like sacrilege. I love the UK, and I’ve travelled quite a bit in and around it.
- What are your favorite forms of fantasy and in what way do you want them to be realistic? Which is the stronger desire? How does it come into play with your writing?
This question had me stumped for a while, as it is open to interpretation. I gave it some thought and then came to the conclusion: I like a healthy dose of realism with my fantasy. I don’t know if there is a ‘form’ to subscribe to, but that is my take on it. This does not pertain to reading though – as my reading material revolves around storytelling, not necessarily genre. I am an avid, 100% lover of the late Sir Terry Pratchett’s work, but I can never presume to write in the same genre or class as the man. My life, my experiences, my fantasies and dreams… They’re all a part of my potluck writing style.
- What does barefoot mean to you? How does this pertain to writing?
The word itself? Just that. Feet without shoes, flat on the ground. Philosophically, it means staying connected and down to earth [to me] and conversely it marks the unpretentious romance I enjoy with my husband, and always try to inject into my writing.
- “You can take the girl off the farm, but you cannot take the farm out of the girl.” — what does that mean to you? How does it affect your writing?
It is a poorly translated Afrikaans saying. Literally it means that even though I’ve moved to a big cosmopolitan city, at heart, I will always be the wild farm girl with a slingshot, marbles hidden in her pigtails and being a little tomboy. Conversally it means: What you see is what you get. What you get, is a rough and tumble South African ‘Boeregirl’. Like Marmite, you will love it, or hate it.
- “When there’s a story to tell, who am I to deny it being told. I do not judge other authors on their grammatical skills, or their immaculate command of the English language – I look for a beautiful story that breaks the rules and boundaries of the mundane world. It is my wish for others to be as forgiving of the smallest infringements, because no story is perfect and no amount of perfection can tell the story. I hope those who see the world through the cracks of a broken mirror, will help fit the pieces together instead of cutting others with the sharp edges.”
- Your statement is very telling, in that you view the story as needing to be said, that it is bigger than you–is that because you incorporate messages in your work?
Yes and no. The yes part is that there is always a little message hidden in much of what I write.
The NO part is: It isn’t for me to tell the reader what to take from my work.
Every person is different, and at different times they will find something relevant to their mindset in any bit of writing. I aim for an reaction – any kind of reaction because that shows to me that I reached a person with emotions, not just a scanner of words.
- Your plea regarding grammar is very eloquent and passionate–does it have a deeper message? If so, what?
People get hung up on technicalities of writing that they end up ruining their story, or hating on the person who tells theirs in the best of their ability. Of course I will never negate the need for a editor and proofreader – but sometimes, the most technical and grammatically correct piece of writing, does not tell the story. It is because of this linguistic and literary snobbery that very few people tell their stories – whether it is their life’s tales or just a general flight of the imagination. That makes me sad.
- I would say your grasp on the English language is superb. Your phrasing is unique and shaped by Afrikaans. All local dialects originate partly from the influence of another language flavoring the main language of another. Why do you feel you have a limited association to English? How has this effected your writing?
Long story short: I have no understanding or grasp on the technical side of the English language. While I can agree that many local dialects originate partly from influence as you said, you have to understand that there are 13 official languages in my country, of which I speak 5, but read and write only English and Afrikaans. Take all of that, and throw it into a pot, and now try to write in one language, with the technical expectations of those who were raised with it… and you have a recipe for a painted target on your back. I’ve endured a lot of this in the beginning but I have learned to just shake it off. Some people ‘correct’ my phrasing, and others ‘correct’ my sentence orders and others yet [apparently] have no clue what I’m trying to convey… Which is all good because majority who enjoys my reading, does so for the story.
- What is Booktrope? What made you decide to republish your books under Booktrope?
Well, clearly, Booktrope is my publisher. They’re a hybrid publishing house operating from Canada. I chose to go with them because they offer a true Indie Experience with a very supportive community involvement. This gives me best of both worlds. I get to have the professional backing but retain the control over my work. Neat right?
- Briefly, what is Hidden Carmina about?
Vampires, shifters, love, family, loyalty, trust. It is about a girl learning her identity and then having to learn who she is mentally, physically and spiritually.
- What inspired you to write Hidden Carmina?
The short answer is Twilight.
The long answer is: My love for vampires, and Twilight. It was meant to be a one page fanfic and turned into three epic novels which, I do declare… is nothing like Twilight HAHA!
- What do you hope readers take away from Hidden Carmina? If only one thing can be taken away from it, what is your strongest desire for it to be?
My only real desire is for people to read, and to find a few moments of escapism in a world that I have created. They don’t even have to like it … If I have one person who found a margin of relieve or release from the every day hum-drum of the world, then I’ve reached my goal.
- Can you tell me what Second Breath refers to, without giving away a plot point?
Well that is actually quite simple: Second Breath is a reference to being made immortal. I learned of the term many years ago when I went on a mythology binge. It stuck with me.
Philosophically the phrase is explained as casting off your mortal life [first breath] and gaining immortal life [taking a second breath].
- All the reviews on Hidden Carmina are glowing. What is your favorite sentence in those reviews? Why?
Loaded question and I’m not going to answer that as I don’t choose favorites among my readers. I will however take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them for writing a review!
- What made you want to be a writer? How long ago was that? How hard was it to follow your dream? When did you feel you could say, yes, I am a writer?
I have always been a writer. Anyone who writes is a writer. It is an action, not a title – in my mind. So yes, from the time I’ve learned to write my name, I was a writer. I wrote, didn’t I? But calling myself an Author, only came on the 16th of February 2016 when Booktrope re-published Hidden Carmina. Then I achieved the right to a title for my writing. Writing has never been a dream – as such. I’ve always written poetry, essays, short stories, kid’s stories… In fact it was my ‘go-to’ therapy on many occasions.
- Did you have other dreams besides becoming an author? What were some of them and how old were you when you wanted to pursue them?
I had not time to dream in my life. I had responsibilities from an early age, which meant: Grow up, get a job and contribute. So I did that. I am a realistic, logical and practical person because of it and not prone to playing “I wish I could…” mental games with myself. I see a problem, I fix it. If it can’t be fixed, it is not a problem it is an opportunity to create something new. So I create it. That is pretty much my entire attitude and personality in a nutshell.
- What genres do you read? Why? Which genres do you write? Why?
I read according to my mood. I like historical romance as much as I like a book of cheesy jokes or a Sir Terry Pratchett Fantasy [though the latter wins hands down if I am given a choice]. I write Romance. Just that. There’s plenty of sub genre’s to dip into so I can be selective, but in general, I write about relationships …
- Have you ever regretted your decision to write? Why or why not?
Well, writing and reading is really a matter of needed education. I can’t imagine anyone ever saying: I wish I never wasted time on learning to write and read. So why should this be any different?
- How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first award winning [school thing] essay about a depressed stick when I was ten years old. I wrote my first published [award winning] poem in 2000. I wrote my first three novels in 2014.
- How many books have you written?
Since 2014 I’ve written 5 epic novels.
- How many are you planning on writing as of now? Can you give us some details about them?
I never plan ahead. So there are no details really lol. I will write until I’m unable to write, and then I may have to do dictation …
- What is your favorite of your works and why?
Living Human is my most favorite writing to date. It is a short story, sci-fi fantasy and a tribute to the late Sir Terry Pratchett. It is whimsical and lighthearted and came from the truly raw core of my inner child.
- Who is your favorite character you’ve written and why?
Agri – [Gabriella] in the Dual or Dance series because I took a vanity liberty and pretty much wrote the story based on a specific part of my life. So … Agri is me and Ash… well, I’m sure you can figure it out.
- What other hobbies and interests do you have? Do any of them impact your writing? In what way?
I do pottery [clay-work] and pencil drawings – I also do sewing, needlework, knitting. The only real ‘impact’ it has on my writing is in the fact that when I get to do those things, my brain is conjuring up / or unraveling / stories and plots.
- What things inspire you to write?
Everything. People, random notions, words, colors, music… Finding inspiration is not hard, translating it into writing … Now that is a whole other story.
- Who are some of your favorite authors and why? Does that impact your writing?
There are two authors who will always stand apart from the rest: First and always first is Sir Terry Pratchett [Have I mentioned this before? Hehe] and second, always second, is one Neil Gaiman. I refuse to choose beyond that. There are too many indie authors to mention by name, and too many accomplished authors to single anyone out. I admire, respect and salute each and every one who’s crossed my path, and those who I am yet to meet too.
- Do you have any links or projects that you’d like to share?
At this point, as I am taking a break from social media and the likes, I’d like to just share my published works on amazon, if that is okay?
- In closing, what advice do you have for aspiring authors?
I don’t. I think there’s a lot of advice out there that is both good and wholesome. So I simply offer them a hug, a kind word and a genuine invite to reach out to me if ever I can help with anything.