Writing in different genres is a challenge and an interesting one. Life is diverse; there is so much to say, so many ways to say it. It is impossible to put all I have to say in one category. It may work for some writers; it doesn’t work for me. Christian fiction contemporary is my main genre, but there are more than one sub-genre, like thriller and suspense, cozy and light entertainment, religious and spiritual, and most stories have a little bit of romance and a little bit of crime included. Woman abuse, drug abuse, wealth and poverty, moral and immoral and religious atrocities are among the topics most of my books are about. My first book is in Afrikaans, a compilation of short stories about people indulging in a hazardous life style, then being confronted with the Saviour and have to make a decision to follow or reject Him.
My first book in English, “My Father’s Will” is a cosy light entertainment, the next, a novella, “The Bigger Fish” is a tween about students and their challenges, like drug abuse and behavioural issues that stem from sexual abuse during childhood; the next, soon to be released, is about sixty-somethings and their challenges, hopes and concerns, followed by another light entertainment, “Late Summer Lily”, followed by another light entertaining story, “Man in a Picture” but not so cosy, with a bit of historic moments and lots of deep emotion. Then comes a love, hate and murder story, “Deadly Innocent” I co-wrote with my husband. Another story currently half-way to completion, “Seagull’s Prey”, is about murder, deceit, corruption and big-time gangsterism. I am also busy creating my “big story”, a sort of end-time, religious, conspiracy thriller titled “The god of these Times” that will be a full length novel and might overflow into a series.
Besides the fiction books, I write about hospice, the work they do, funding and donations given to them and the stories of their patients. I write these accounts for the Stellenbosch Hospice Facebook Page. I am currently working on a third book, a non-fiction/faction book about death, bereavement and the journey to acceptance and healing which lead to the founding of the Stellenbosch Hospice Butterfly ward.
In time a number of books will, Godwilling, be added.
A number of factors link the genres together. First of all, I write from Christian perspective. All my stories are about Christ, the Saviour and people’s reactions to Him. I use the same writer’s name for all. The religious thriller might be an exception. Hope and the fact that death is not necessarily to be feared is also factor. Another factor is this one character that pops up in most of my stories: Anton Joubert, the mysterious, seemingly boring man – but behind the scenes – the guy who, in secret, solves many problems, including eliminating evil adversaries by whichever means. Although I have pulled in a little bit of history into a story or two, they are all contemporary.
I have always loved stories. Storytime, as a child, was my favourite time, whether in school, Sunday school or Saturday afternoons when my dad used to gather us kids together and told his own stories, not to mention sitting by the radio every afternoon with my mom to listen to Springbok Radio soaps, the fifteen minute evening regular after the seven ‘o clock news, the Wednesday evenings “Klein Teater ” and Saturday evenings “Radio Teater”. Books played a big role in my life as well. I became a member of the local library at the age of ten. My parents always had books and magazines in the house, enough to read for anyone who wanted to.
At the age of twelve I was so inspired, I decided to write my own story. It was about a ballerina. Many stories followed, but I wrote for my own entertainment and the thought to try to publish never occurred to me. Only after my children flew the nest and my first grandson started school did I begin to write seriously with a vague idea to test the waters for publishing in my mind. I sent my Afrikaans short stories to several magazines and got rejected. Just keep on writing, I convinced myself not to be discouraged. It was about three years later when I found a publisher, that my first book, “Areafees” was published in printed form. Shortly after that, I discovered self-publishing. I published eight stories on Smashwords, including a one page non-fiction piece about mental health and fitness, that is still available for free.
Marketing a book is ten times as difficult as writing it. I investigated many avenues to get my books out there. One way of doing this, was to join writers groups on social media and learn from other writers’ experiences. One day a number of writers commented in a threat about publishers, marketing and all the problems around this topic. After my comment that I would join the cow and jump over the moon if I could find a publisher willing to publish my books at no cost on my part. Evan Swensen from Publication Consultants joined the tread with the comment: “Send me your book, I will publish it.” Well, long story short, five days later I was ready to join the cow for a jump over the moon. A contract was signed and my book “My Father’s Will” was going into production. I unpublished all my books but one, on Smashwords, and sent them to Publication Consultants, the second book was released in June with the next one to follow soon and three more to be released at regular intervals.
Inspiration to write comes from people. I watch people, I listen to people, hear their hopes and desires, see their differences and how this influence their way of interacting with each other. In my writings I try to illustrate these issues best I can.
There are more than one memorable moment in my writing career. The first highlight was holding my first book in print in my hands, the second was seeing my second book appear on the prime catalogue of Smashwords and five years later on Amazon. The best moment of all was the day when a hundred books of “My Father’s Will” was delivered to my house for the upcoming launch. Of course I also have to mention the newspaper interview that showed a photo of me holding my book; big highlight.
The target reader I aim to reach is wide and all inclusive. Each book has a specific target group, but not excluding any other group. Let us say everybody older than sixteen and younger than hundred-and-twenty.
As a dedicated, committed follower of Jesus Christ, this is the image I want people, readers and fellow writers to have of me. For this reason also, my aim is to entertain in a clean and wholesome way. If one reader get something out of one of my books, something positive that he/she can take home and keep for the rest of his/her life, I will have reached my goal and my writing efforts will count for something.