Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Author Interview: Elsa Winckler

Today I'm pleased to welcome our first author, Elsa Winckler to the interview room. Elsa is a well-known author in South Africa and has several Afrikaans novels published as well two novels with Escape Publishing, the Australian division of Harlequin.

What genre do you write in? Any specific reason why you chose the genre?

I write contemporary romances. I do like the odd shape shifter story and maybe I’ll write one of those some day. But I prefer to write about the present and colour reality with a little bit of fairy dust.

Where do you get the ideas for your books? How do you go from idea to outline?

It varies. I’ll hear or see something that triggers the famous ‘what if’ question. For instance, I read an article about a horse whisperer a while ago. The idea fascinated me so I spent hours on the internet, found someone weird and wonderful to talk to and the story was born. I then decide on characters (or they decide to be in the story) and I start writing.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Why?

Probably more of a pantser, I’d say. I mainly start with an idea, then decide on the characters and maybe write down one or two things. But I mostly make up the story as I go along. And it mostly tells me how it should be written.

What is your writing process like? Do you finish the first draft and then start editing or do you edit while you write? Is there any specific reason why you do it like that?

I edit as I write. And when I’m finished with the first draft, I edit the whole thing again. Normally I’d start each day reading what I’ve written the day before and edit it as I go along. This helps me to remember what I’ve written and also gives me a chance to do the first round of editing.

If you have to choose only one element (setting/ character development/ structure/ conflict/ etc.) that is absolutely essential to every novel you’ve written, what would it be? Why?

I’d say character. Characters take the reader on the journey, so you should make sure the readers care about them. 

If you have to give one sentence advice to a novice writer, what would it be?

If you’re a writer, write.

Could you please give us a list of your published books and a short blurb about each one? Please state the publisher and year published as well.

Love, in writing (Escape Publishing) 2013


A hardcore Science Fiction writer and a soft-hearted romance novelist clash on the sunny South African coast...
Margaret Parker is a hopeless romantic whose fantasies fuel her writing. For Graham Connelly, science fiction is the perfect genre to express his cynical world view. A chance meeting in a lift leaves them both interested and aroused — with no clue as to the other's identity.
Margaret has been looking for a face to match her new fictional hero — and Graham's is it. Graham has been looking for proof that innocence and optimism still exist — and he's found it in Margaret. But fantasy isn't reality, and both Margaret and Graham are used to controlling their fictional worlds. Can they step off the pages long enough to find their own happy-ever-after?

Touched to the heart (Escape Publishing) July 2014

Discover beautiful South Africa in this sweet, heart-warming Cinderella story about a blogger, a billionaire, and one chance meeting. When it comes to men, if physiotherapist Caitlin Sutherland didn't have bad luck, she would have no luck at all. To help cope, Caitlin starts blogging in her spare time, about the types of men she meets and the bad dates she goes on. While on duty during the annual Wines to Whales bicycle race, a gorgeous, sweaty cyclist walks in and sets her hormones dancing. But he is Don Cavallo; one of the four Cavallo brothers — hotel tycoons, famous as much for their business skills as for the number of beauties regularly seen on their arms. Don Cavallo has his own issues with the other sex. He has yet to find one who is interested in him and not in his money or hotels. But when this sexy physio puts her hands on his back she not only touches his body, but also his heart. They've both been burned before, but neither of them can stop themselves from playing with fire.

 Where can we find you on social media?

Elsa has been reading love stories for as long as she can remember and when she ‘met’ the classic authors like Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Henry James The Brontë sisters, etc. during my studies, she was hooked for life.

She married her college boyfriend and soul mate and after 38 years, 3 beautiful children and three grandchildren, he still makes her weak in the knees. They are fortunate to live in the picturesque little seaside village of Betty’s Bay, South Africa with the ocean a block away and a beautiful mountain right behind them. And although life so far has not always been an easy ride, it has always been an exciting and interesting one!

She likes the heroines in her stories to be beautiful, feisty, independent and headstrong.  And the heroes must be strong but possess a generous amount of sensitivity. They are of course, also gorgeous!  Her stories typically incorporate the family background of the characters to better understand where they come from and who they are when we meet them in the story.

She won an award for her first Afrikaans romance in 2010. 

Elsa, thank you very much for sharing your insights with us today. If you're a reader, you should get yourself one of Elsa's books for the pure enjoyment thereof and if you're a writer, read one of her books to see how she develops the characters. And above all, heed her advice: If you're a writer, write.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Learning From Published Authors

Isn't she just gorgeous?
I have sorely neglected this blog for quite some time. The excuse I could use is that I've been extremely busy, but that is flimsy as everyone leads a hectic lifestyle in modern times. We have to if we aim to survive, don't we? In my defense I must reveal that I had two erotic romances accepted for publication under a pseudonym in the year (yes, it has been a year) since I last posted here, self-published an Afrikaans novel and became a grandmother (I refuse to reveal my age) of a beautiful baby girl. 

However, I'm thrilled to announce that starting next week Wednesday, several published authors have agreed to give us some insight into the way they write. You can read ten self-help books on how to write and the rules that apply, but you still have to sort out how to do the practical stuff. Methods that work for some, others find completely impractical to use. So I decided to ask a few successful authors how they do it. 

If you've ever tried your hand at writing fiction, you would have heard the advise that you have to read what you like to write and try to discover what exactly about the book made you enjoy it so much. You have to pay attention to the way the novel was structured (took me a while to get the hang of this one, but luckily we seem to do most of it by instinct), the writing style and most of all, what about the writer's voice captured your attention. 

The authors who agreed to share their methods are all published authors, each with an unique voice and writing style. Different publishers contracted their books, so we'll get a general idea what works and what doesn't. 

I hope you will join me as we try to discover what made these talented writers so successful.