Regency England. My choice is probably influenced by my love of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen romances, but the easy grace of life in those times strongly draws me. The reality of the era (especially if you weren’t an aristocrat) was probably grim, but those times strike me as being perfectly balanced on the cusp between a mellow, bucolic existence and an exciting period of social transformation. There was time to enjoy the beautiful and gracious things in life, and yet the promise of technology was already beginning to ease the physical hardships of life.
Do you draft your stories in longhand or on computer?
First draft is always in longhand, in pencil. Then I transfer it onto computer and do all my edits on computer. If I try to write the first draft on the computer I get too easily distracted by the temptations of the internet and email and, more importantly, when I write in longhand, I feel closer to the words I write.
What single thing would you do to improve the quality of your life?
How did you come up with the title?
That’s a long story! When I started writing it I called it “Albino Blues,” but the supervisor for my Master’s degree didn’t like that title. After some serious brainstorming, we finally agreed on the title “And the Sea Looked.” I liked that title because the sea/ocean is one of the major symbols in the book, meant to represent a neutral, non-judgmental and ever-present Divine Presence that watches over our lives.
But when I was struggling to place my book with an agent or publisher and, despite receiving many good comments about the book, getting nothing but rejections, I treated myself to a visit to a psychic (with a father who was born with a caul over his head and who is a gifted dowser, of course I visit psychics!) and she channelled a message from my Ouma (grandmother), who said “The name is wrong!”
I was attached to “And the Sea Looked,” so I had quite a struggle finding a new title before realisation hit me. I’d always known the painting that I wanted to use for the cover was “Man & the World of Stars” by Wenkidu and, one day I looked at it and realised what my new title should be: the painting shows three women dancing as they reach up to the Divine Presence in the sky above them. And my final title was born: “Dancing in the Shadows of Love.” Third time is the lucky charm!