I have spent most of my working life as a creative copywriter, rising to the position of Senior Advertising Manager for a large, Cape Town based corporation. I am a recipient of the I.A.W.M.D. Golden Web Award (2001), for web design, content and creativity. I was also awarded the Cape Friends of Calligraphy President’s Award (1993), for distinguished service as Editor of their monthly News Bulletin.
I have self-published the story of my own paranormal experiences “Four Minutes Past Midnight” via Amazon and CreateSpace. Also edited and published under my imprint “Good Hope Publishing” on Amazon are “Bongo Bongo Bongo – Life in the Belgian Congo” authored by my late grandmother, Vera Renaud, as well as a small volume of Children’s stories “Santa and the Blue Teddy and other Tales” by Kao Shen.
What inspires you to write?
An inner yearning I’ve had since childhood – from the time a read my first storybook.
I will never forget that magic moment when I discovered I could read unassisted. Then, when I wanted to show off my reading prowess in class I would be most disappointed if the teacher by-passed my eagerly raised hand for another, more struggling, kindergarten pupil.
Since then, life has been full of successes and disappointments, both minor and major, which have shaped me, and my honed my writing. I am grateful for all of them.
Right now I am poised to tackle the “Great South African Historical Novel” and am under no misapprehension about the blood, sweat and tears that lie ahead of me. But the time is right … I must rise to the challenge of my own beckoning “swan song”. Much of the material for this work has been boring a hole in my brain for years! It will be an epic story of courage in revered, local settings, and it is going to take every ounce of my own reserves of courage and perseverance to the end. But, as the old-timers once said in a distant time and a distant place: “California or bust!” Because they knew for certain there was “gold in them thar hills”.
Tell us about your writing process.
Usually, I find that building a blog in serial form is both satisfying and rewarding, a pleasant writing discipline to follow, with the added advantage of sharing work in progress with a fairly selective, critical audience.
It is through this very medium that I was first encouraged and then extolled to write for wider publication.
However, my next, more ambitious work will require several additional disciplines, outside the public eye. The task of plotting and sub-plotting has already commenced in dedicated hardcover notebooks. Character setting will follow here. Then there is my trusty tablet, already brimful of random notes and suggestions. Easily accessible. Period research is aided by the internet although several old books are piled high beside me, together with my well-thumbed dictionary and Thesaurus,
In an unorthodox way, I plan to use the Tarot cards both as a means of maintaining character consistency as well as “dealing” with (quite literally) mental blocks when they arise. The court cards are ideal “significators” and I am intimately acquainted with them.
However, the basis of the story and its big scenes are already in mind, having gleaned certain gems from years of researching my own family history. To all intents and purposes, it will be a work of fiction, based upon historic fact, and a thread of courage!
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I have written non-fiction mostly so this now becomes a challenge for me. I should like to listen not only to my characters, but the moods of their time, and the echoes of the valleys and mountains that surround them.
What advice would you give other writers?
Be true to your purpose.
Seek advice but do not let other writers put you off your stroke.
Never give up!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Readers of my blogs told me to “write a book” so I did!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
With e-publishing things are so much more democratic. Mean-spirited critics are easily spotted. Narrow-minded publishers can’t thwart your efforts. A book will rise or fall on its own literary merits. Who could wish for more?
What genres do you write?
Non-fiction: Spiritual, paranormal. Historical fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print