My Writing Corner goes international today as I greet South African writer, Anita Giraud, author of the new book, "Love in A New Dawn." Welcome, Anita. Did you always want to be a writer?
My earliest ambitions were to be an actress and to be a playwright. I only thought seriously about writing novels when I was doing my post PhD. I got tired of the dry research and wanted to branch out and do something that was more creative and my thing.
When did you first start writing and how did you go about it?
I started by going to the local municipal library about two, three years ago and borrowed Elizabeth George’s “Write away” This started me on my first draft of “Love in a new dawn”, only then it was called “Reckless chase”. After I sent my proposal to various agents and publishers, I decided to go to an online writing school and get some coaching. The one teacher who mentored me the most was writer Rebecca Grace. It was only after that that “Love in a New Dawn” emerged as it is today.
Thanks, Anita. I really enjoyed working with you.
How did you come up with the idea for your first book?
Living in South Africa, we’re under the general African influences and the stories of Somali pirates and thug activities going on in the African states are common news. The South African characters especially have a local flavor although the English influence in Durban, where I live, is far stronger than elsewhere in south Africa and this helped me find Lord Somerford’s family.
How do you come up with your story ideas?
There are lots of things happening in the environment where I live and stories of abductions, kidnappings, drugs and crime syndicate activities abound in South Africa and make the background for my work. Of course such activities abound elsewhere in the world as well, so it’s easy to extrapolate. Romance as a genre has always been an interest of mine and having studied literature to doctoral level, I’ve been exposed to lots of different stories over time. However as I said my local environment is the strongest influence as I have a happy marriage and satisfying romantic life.
Tell us about your newest book.
“To Forever Hold” is next on the list. It is the story about the difficult love of an independent art gallery owner, Charlene de Villiers and hotel tycoon Marc Sauzier de la Tour, who, once disappointed in marriage, shuns any further commitment. Their difficulties are exacerbated by the huge Indian Ocean which separates them and how Charlene has to manage with a pregnancy, a crippled father, a nearly bankrupt family business, a spurned admirer who spiked her drink then tried to rape her and her mistrust of Marc whom she disliked heavily in the first place. Marc is at his wits end when he hears that Charlene is pregnant with his child as none of his propositions meet her approval. When both Charlene and Marc realize that they share a deep love that transcends distance, time and all other obstacles it is maybe too late ….
Give us an idea of how you develop your characters?
I use a character sketch list which I fill in but most of all I’m inspired by the many people I see, around me and on television, even passersby whom I catch a glimpse of when I go walking in public places. With the mass media, there’s plenty to go on to have a base for a character. I also socialize quite a lot and come across a wide variety of people.
How do you research your stories?
I have visited the settings in “Love in a New Dawn” and know the local South African sites well. However, I’m also quite used to doing research from my previous job as a researcher and will also research in books as there are lots of libraries available, I use the internet and discuss with the relevant people and so on.
Do you always know how your story is going to end?
I generally have a pretty good idea of what my story is going to be before I start writing it. Following the advice of Elizabeth George, I do quite a lot of preparatory work before I actually start writing the manuscript. Of course, the story has a life of its own and I allow certain steps to develop on their own along the way if those new steps are going to work in favor of the general idea.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a follow up to “Love in a New Dawn” named “Raindrops in the sea” and have also started preparations for a new trilogy. The first of the trilogy, “To Forever Hold”, will hopefully be published in 2015. I’m also keen to have “Love in a New Dawn” turned into a film if I can find a buyer with a decent price and might consider doing the screen writing myself.
What would you tell writers who are just starting out that you wish you had known?
I would suggest having a solid idea to jot down and then look for a mentor to coach you a bit. Join writing circles and writing groups to have some support and be very disciplined and persistent in your work and in looking for a publisher.
What do you read when you are not writing?
I read a wide variety of English and French literature ranging from the classics to contemporary authors in multi genres. I’m very sorry that Mary Stewart hasn’t written any more novels as I love her work but then I also love a host of other writers as well.
Tell us a little about your writing day – how do you make time?
Since I had to be very disciplined with my studies and my research, I find it easy to be disciplined about everything else. When I’m writing, I prefer to write from about 8.30 a.m. until my inspiration runs dry. As I like to keep my writing fresh and inspired, I don’t believe in working like an automaton. However, due to the preparatory work I’ve done, I’m never intimidated by a blank page, because I always have something to fall back on. I generally aim to do one or two chapters a day.
How can readers reach you or find you online?
I can be found on twitter, facebook, reddit, LinkedIn, Goodreads, on my web site www.anitajollivetgiraud.co.za.
Please give us a blurb for your new book.
“Love in a New Dawn” is a contemporary romantic suspense ablaze with the flaming passion that encapsulates the clash of wills of two proud people: Lise Le Thierry the cloistered, idealistic, stubborn, beauty shrouded in mystery whose sense of moral rectitude can never be crushed –until she meets the one man whose sheltering arms made her reason fly. And Morne Louwe, the gorgeous, worldly, tall and muscular CEO of the family Louwe Diamond Mines, who rescues her, is repelled by her time and again, but who can never forget the night his soul was marked by the memory of a body ripe for love…
Where can readers buy it?
Available soon: www.amazon.com.
Thanks, Anita, and good luck with Love in A New Dawn. Any questions or comments for Anita?