I first read the opening chapter of this story on the New Voices contest site back in 2010. It instantly intrigued me as it is the first historical romance I'd ever read set in the Cape of Good Hope! Gina got a request out of that contest, but it was The Wild Rose Press who brought this story to the world.
I highly recommend this book, and hope it starts a wonderful new trend for South African settings in historical novels.
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What is your writing process?I like to get chores out of the way first thing in the day, or they hang around providing excuses for me not to write. I’m usually at my most productive from 1pm onward, writing straight on to the computer. I feel guilty if I don’t do it every day. But, I can spend a whole morning thinking up eg. a name for the hero’s dog or wondering what model and colour car he drives, so I frequently have to use words like ‘blah-di-blah’ and ‘yakkety-yak’ to keep myself going.
The idea for a new book goes around in my head for ages and is always a huge temptation for distraction from any work in progress. I jot down brief notes and ideas, trying to focus on a title and some decent opening lines. By the time I sit down to write, I've got enough for some kind of outline - at least for the first chapters. After that, I wing it, making sure I get down a good daily quota of words. Each day, when I start writing, I read through and briefly edit what I wrote the day before - it makes editing that first draft just a little bit easier.
Everyone who writes knows it's not easy - what methods do you use to keep at it on days when it would be so much easier to go shoe shopping?Very few writers make a fortune, nevertheless when I start looking for excuses not to work, I think of millionaires like Jackie Collins, Lee Child, Jeffrey Archer, J K Rowling etc. They didn’t get to be successful by shoe shopping, did they? I have a brief red carpet fantasy moment and get back to work! I live in hope.
Keeping fit: Do you have an exercise regime to counterbalance all those hours sitting at a computer?Certain chocolate-based foodstuffs are banned from my house! Apart from that, I walk absolutely everywhere, and that’s about it. I hate gym. The minute I enrol, I don’t want to go anymore and will fake death to avoid it.
Do you believe in writer's block?In my case it’s a question of extreme laziness or procrastination, but I’m not saying it doesn’t exist for other writers. I understand it can be a very painful process to work through. Thinking about it, if I truly ever felt blocked, it would probably be a case of the story running out, or just not ‘being there’. I would start something entirely new and fresh. Many great writers suffered from block and wrote about it so there is plenty of help out there for the blocked writer.
Have you ever used an incident from real life in a book? If so, did it get you into trouble?No, but I have used gestures, habits and sayings of friends and family. So far, I haven’t got into trouble but - fingers crossed - I guess there’s always a first time.
In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?There is no feeling in the world like the one when you get ‘the call’. I hadn’t realized the sense of empowerment it brings, the feeling of ‘Hang on, you can do this.’ The confidence boost is incredible. When I enrolled at a new dentist recently and wrote ‘Writer’ in the space next to ‘Occupation’ I nearly burst with joy. Silly, I know, but it felt amazing!
Promotion is no longer a dirty word. In what ways do you strive to reach more readers?A medium-level profile on Facebook and Twitter is about as far as I go, because the best form of promotion is to write more, and better, books. It’s probably not a good idea to keep throwing promotion for your book at your followers. I know I find it off-putting and tend to unfollow people who do that. Apart from anything, it’s boring – so mix a little promotion with thanks, retweets, ‘likes’, everyday statuses, interesting links, photos, and sprinkle on a little humour. Give more than you get.
What is your top promo tip for other authors?I am a recent Pinterest convert, okay addict. I love the visual angle and it’s a great way to get appealing info and images across to your readers, plus an excellent way to store ideas. Here, in case you want to take a look, is my Pinterest link
What did you learn while writing this book?That there are a hell of a lot of words in a book! On and on and on it goes. It’s a huge amount of work and you have to be dedicated, committed, and totally ‘on it’. I understand why people give up, why so many books never get written.
What was the most fun part of writing this book?‘The Wild Heart’ is set in the Cape of Good Hope in about 1800 – in Cape Town and also the spectacular mountain landscapes of the ‘back-country’ around Franschoek. I loved weaving the setting into the story. It became like a character in its own right.
And just for fun: what would your hero’s honeymoon destination of choice be?Anton, the hero of ‘The Wild Heart’ is a wanderer, so he would choose the wild, unexplored, savage beauty of the northern Mozambique coast. However, given his refined wife, the danger of wild animals, hostile tribesmen and fever, and the fact that he says, at one stage of the story, that he could think of nothing more pleasant than returning home ‘to Leeuwfontein to while away the warm evening by an outside fire, listening to the rustle of the river and the squeak of bats’, he would probably settle for something closer to home.
Georgina Blake flees a refined life in eighteenth century England to avoid a scandal. Determined to begin a new life, she voyages to the Cape of Good Hope, only to find death and destruction await, endangering those she holds dear.
Though she is intrigued by stranger, Anton Villion, trader, adventurer and maverick, his arrival threatens her precarious security. Anton, himself privy to a painful secret, shadowed by heartbreak and seeking peace, is drawn to Georgina despite his hurt and mistrust, and his reservations about her history.
In time, their growing love is thwarted by the past – and Louisa Somerville, hell bent on diverting Anton’s attentions. Fate has thrown them together but can Anton and Georgina salvage their bond before destiny tears them apart? Together, can they find the strength and courage to embark on a journey to redemption and everlasting love?
The Wild Heart is available from Amazon, All Romance eBooks, Barnes & Noble and direct from the publisher, The Wild Rose Press. It is available in both eBook and paperback formats.