My guest today has a deep love of Africa and its wildlife, which shows in her writing. Greer comes from the same country as me, and although we have never met, we have a special bond that only those who grew up there can develop.
Greer, your books seem to have one common thread, that being Africa, although they are quite diverse in genre. Yes. My fiction encompasses romantic murder mystery & erotic thriller, while my non-fiction work in progress is about African wildlife.
Are you a pantser — you write by the seat of your pants and the story is all there in your head — or are you a plotter? (You prefer to create a plot first?)
A little of both. I live, eat and sleep the storyline while I’m writing, but I’m continuously plotting too… scheming… the mind never stops!
Do you use any kind of method?
Typical skeletal… beginning, middle, end.. but integrated with twists and turns.. so the plot can change and dive, like a contortionist, into an unexpected angle.
Do you think it’s important to write a detailed list of your character’s habits, likes, dislikes and family members?
Often a character is complex, may have traits from two or more persons, friends, enemies, so this is essential to avoid confusion. It’s also important for the attention to detail aspect, idiosyncrasies, peculiarities, charisma, annoying, happy, hateful, loving personalities… to avoid duplication… their appearance… so many reasons.
Sounds like you have that under control. You’d be surprised how many authors don’t really know their characters. Writing in first person, present has been controversial in the past, but now it seems to be the trend for best-selling authors. Do you think it is more powerful than other tenses?
Personally no… I find it irritating… but each to his own. It also depends on the plot as to whether one needs the changing of tenses.
What do you think today’s readers want and how does it differ from readers of the past?
For starters, I don’t believe readers really know what they want until they read it! But the norm today would probably be something topical or any form of escapism from the monoty of everyday living… but at the same time different. Humor is important. With the leaps and bounds in the advancement of technology time is more valuable than ever before so if anything, I feel one’s writing should be more succinct and less waffle or flowery fillers.
I agree. People don’t have time for the frills anymore. What book do you want to feature in this post?
Erotic, romantic murder mystery: Sanya, a hauntingly beautiful teenager, the epitome of her mother so cruelly plucked from her at the tender age of five, is destined to attract the opposite sex like bees to a beautiful flower. Both good and evil. But nothing, not even O’Hara, her devoted father and fearless hunter can protect her from this unseen enemy. Tentacles not unlike the roots of the wild fig tree, invisible, waiting to strangle… as unstoppable as the mist creeping in over the lake, veiled by the darkness of night. Never has O’Hara felt so helpless. There’s not a weapon in his entire arsenal that can fend off this unfathomable predator… or is it predators?
A series of events unfold, too chilling, too calculating to lay the blame on anyone… until everyone is to blame. Everyone has motive… even Sanya herself. Lost, devastated, all hope dashed, Sanya is at her lowest ebb when one glimmer of hope comes to her like a falling star… but can it last?
Wow!! That would make anyone want to read it. What kind of readers do you think would most enjoy this book?
Adventurous, thrill-seeking adults wanting to lose themselves and treat their minds to an exciting and unpredictable sojourn. Those who have a love of or fascination for Africa.
Romance readers want steamy love scenes. Do you agree? Yes, I agree
Do you think your book will meet their expectations? Yes, very definitely
Does your book have a message? Please explain.
If it has a message it is that not everything appears as it seems! Be careful who you trust.
Choose one character from the book and tell us what he/she would say to you if he/she was to meet you.
But that would be giving my story away… let’s see… Mugadza.. “I’m so lucky to have such a good job and I love my boss… and Miss Sanya… too much.”
Did you self-publish or query and hope a publisher would accept your work and how did that work out for you?
Yes I did try to first go the traditional route but was turned down, told the market was flooded and that I should try to re-submit in three years! That’s when I decided to self-publish. It was a great thrill of course to see my titles in print but it’s been pretty slow going… then again I’ve been travelling for some time now and have done very little or nothing to try to promote my books.
What are you doing now to promote your writing?
I’ve only really started to promote my work in the last few months in between trying to write short stories for my new title so again have a lot on my plate and know there’s a lot more I could be doing to promote my books… need a secretary!
Don’t we all? What advice do you have for your fellow writers/authors?
1. Decide on your audience and genre… and try to stick to that
2. Write what you mean and be sure to do your research
3. Be concise and to the point
4. Work on your characters… make them come alive. If you can use real people you know it’s a lot easier than trying to configure/make up a character.
5. Don’t be in a hurry… go over your story 10 or 20 times if necessary. Attention to detail remember.
6. Make sure every page is a page turner
7. Find yourself a professional editor (not a friend, bless their hearts!), it’s worth it in the long term – one that doesn’t charge – if they do they’re charlatans!
8. Make sure it’s an editor who specializes in your genre… and be sure, before you commit yourself, to find out who and what titles that have been published the traditional way… over what period and how recently?
9. Keep trying… even if it takes years, through reputable editors to get published the traditional way… publishers don’t like to accept work directly from authors.
10. I would not recommend self-publishing for profit, but if you do, there are many satisfying options on offer.
That is probably the best advice anyone has ever given on my blog. Why should we buy your book?
VEILED MADNESS is a unique window into the Africa of old we all once knew and were lucky enough to have been a part of… it is this Africa that I want to share, that I wanted the world to know about. There have been so many non-fiction books written about that very special part of Africa known as Rhodesia and mainly about the bush war. Wonderful, heartening memoirs, mostly beautifully written by fellow countrymen who, like myself, lost not only their homes, their way of life but their country too. It was with this in mind that I chose fiction. I wanted to portray the excitement and even the fun of it all, before and during the bush war. To spice it up to make it the unpredictable romantic murder mystery that it is. There is a lot of fact and a lot of poetic license… and for those who were there, go figure which is real and which is fiction!
I’d say you should buy this book because it’s a compelling read, or so I’ve been told, that will take you back into that era, on an unforgettable safari of life so typical of that time. Its intrigue and suspense will keep you going to the other side of midnight while the steamy love scenes and sheer terror of the unexpected around every corner will have you gripping the sheets until the birds announce the break of day.
Tell us about your next project.
MY FUNNY AFRICA is a collection of short stories from people all over the world who have lived in Africa or who’ve had a funny or even terrifying wildlife experience in Africa. Having said ‘don’t self-publish for profit’ you might wonder why I’m doing so again. This is a very unique non-fiction book. I had to get the cover done first because of the very nature of it, i.e. attracting others to write about their wildlife and or bush experiences… and it’s working. Also very hard work… a lot harder than if I were writing it myself… firstly to get people, nag would be a better word, to actually write in and secondly to then edit their work or, in many cases, send their story back encouraging them to embellish… quite a daunting task but still very encouraging. I’ve already had tremendous response… and stories. Now need to approach a lot more people… mainly ones I don’t know— if anyone reading this blog has a funny story about Africa I’d love to see it. So MY FUNNY AFRICA is underway – a collection of enthralling authentic anecdotes… which, once published, I will also try to channel the traditional way.
Please include a paragraph about you, your family, your interests… anything you’d like people to know about you.
If I told you I’d be lying so I’d prefer not to talk about myself other than to say I’m a very private person. Like all Rhodesians my family is scattered, thanks to the black Hitler who has for too many years ruled the roost. I’ve seen my family maybe once in twenty years so there’s not an awful lot to say other than we’ve grown apart, not out of choice but circumstances. What I am blessed with is a man who puts up with me, two extraordinary children, one a pilot turned home executive and one a professional student and skate board enthusiast, as well as two gorgeous and equally talented grandsons… our health and our unquenchable thirst for adventure.
What made you decide to be a writer/author?
I’ve always wanted to write. I started when I was 16… then life intervened. But what ultimately got me started was escapism… if I’m honest with myself I could never write if I were blissfully happy. It took me a while but eventually I discovered this wonderful place called ‘the mind’ where all sorts of amazing things take place… where no one can reach you… a very private place. I’ve come to love that place… and from it flows my writing like a river in full flood. Sometimes I hit a few rapids but mostly it flows… for without it I know not what I’d do. Problem is there are just not enough hours in the day.
What are your hobbies/passions/pastimes?
Hobbies… writing… dreaming about what I’m going to write next.
Passions… a deep love for the wilds of Africa and all its creatures… wildlife expeditions both on the ground and under the sea. I adore eccentric people, those who don’t care to conform much and with a deep sense of adventure. I enjoy exotic food, exotic places and exotic music, designing and decorating my homes with exotic ‘finds’. My treasures are driftwood and shells, authentic African artifacts and tapestries.
Pastimes… alas I do not have such a luxury as time to pass. But the little I do have is spent reading… and if I had more it would be all of the above.
Is there a key cause you support?
I support conservation of wildlife and Greenpeace… and now, of course, the Born Free Foundation and for those less fortunate… where I can, the Salvation Army and Red Cross.
Where can we find out more about you and your work?
Mainly on my website.