Friday, April 5, 2013


Author bio:  
I was born in Johannesburg. Growing up in Johannesburg was truly an amazing experience which I will always treasure. It is a city of bright colors, vibrant people, stark contrasts and extremes: extreme wealth, extreme poverty, extreme emotions, extreme thunderstorms, often extreme violence and yet every minute I lived there I felt alive. As I sit here in safe and picturesque England I long to leave this sterility and head for the chaos of Africa where somehow every minute means so much more. Perhaps my image of my homeland is very much my metaphor for life: that at the extremes of existence one is truly living and experiencing this thing we call life to the full. I am incurably inquisitive and if there is something going on on this planet, I want to know about it.
At school I was a rebel – no not the sort of rebel who smokes in the loo and makes out behind the bike shed – I was more of an ideas rebel, I wanted to think for myself and never just accept what I was told. Although I studied Law at Uni, my secret ambition was always to act or work in the arts; but of course you have to keep the family happy by making some sensible decisions you know. I ended up with a degree in Economics, however the economics and financial world never beckoned and so at 23 I took a pretty sharp left turn and decided to study astrology. I have always loved helping people and I am fascinated by the meaning of life, destiny and karma and so I often think it was fate that prompted me to take this direction which in many ways has been a difficult route, but very revealing in terms of self-discovery. I was the resident astrologer on many local UK radio stations for many years.

Personal favs:

Drink – Apple juice with ginger and lemon.  Mandarin juice.

Food – As a Taurus I adore food and love cooking.  All time fav foods are biltong, boerewors, Macaroni Cheese, waffles with maple syrup and ice cream.

Vacation – Umhlanga Rocks, Durban.

TV show – Hunted, Morse, Lewis, Orkney Snork Nie and Big Brother.

Movie – Erin Brockovich, The Odd Couple, Out of Africa, The Party and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World.

Animal – Lion.

Sport – Cricket, Rugby, Tennis, Golf, Soccer and F1.

Book – Star Signs by Linda Goodman.

Book title:
A Sealed Fate

Brief synopsis of your book:
A Sealed Fate is a unique blend of chick-lit and thriller in an unusual setting and with an unusual theme at the centre – the concept of sacrificial and compensatory karma. The tension revs up with my main character, the singer and wannabe rock star, Valda, who speeds through life in a sequence of emotional car crashes until she washes up on Dubai’s shores at the feet of the mysterious Sheikh, who, whilst pretending to be her patron, has his own needs to satisfy. And boy does Valda satisfy them until she realises, when in very deep, that she has predecessors with the same experience. The only problem is she can’t consult them because they are all dead – in suspicious circumstances.
Her clandestine relationship with the Sheikh, propels her further into a murky web of deceit, and she turns to Larissa for help. As an astrologer, Larissa predicts that Valda and the Sheikh’s destinies were sealed from the moment of their first meeting; however she keeps the dire fate that she reads in the charts a secret.
Together, Valda and Larissa take a gamble in a game of cosmic Russian Roulette where the stakes are their lives and their adversary, Fate itself. Can they beat Fate? Can freewill triumph? Take a leisurely tours of the City State’s night spots and its haute cuisine; rub shoulders with the beautiful and rich, but never forget that nagging question of destiny and the price you have to pay to change it.

Current book or project you’re working on:
A thriller set in Italy called Men of a Dark Moon.

What was the inspiration for your novel?
When I was an astrologer my clients wanted definitive answers most of the time; I think they thought I was an emotional and spiritual satnav - "To meet Mr Right take the next left; straight up this street for the perfect job" etc. But should fate be taking all the credit, or blame for everything in people's lives or is it free will, our own choice, however influenced by our surroundings, which govern our actions? My clients and their questions about their lives really got me thinking – astrology is all about freewill, encouraging clients to use the impetus the planets are giving them at any one time to make positive changes in their lives. However it seemed that most people almost wanted to believe that they had NO choice and that it was all written out for them and what they wanted me to do was just tell them how it would all work out, rather than what they needed to do to get the result they wanted. Astrology gives you the ingredients; you still have to ‘make the cake yourself’.

I hope that the storyline in A Sealed Fate will get people debating in their heads whether Lara’s prediction became a self-fulfilling prophesy, whether Valda’s choices alone determined her fate or if it all would have happened regardless of ‘the reading.’ A Sealed Fate will make readers think about how much we all put down to fate and how much we could change our lives by taking more control.

Please share three interesting facts about your book which are not covered in the synopsis.
1) Small decisions really can alter your life course.

2) You don’t have to look that similar to another woman to pass yourself off as her when officials only have a passport photo to go by.

3) The aromatherapy dog range does exist.

Who is the most complex character from your current novel?
In A Sealed Fate, Valda is the complex character and I have drawn her with much care.  Readers may love her or hate her, but she is a very defined figure you will come to know well.

Are there any characters in your book that remind you of yourself?
Larissa and Valda are both a lot like me.

If you could pick any well known or famous author to review your book who would you pick and why?
Sophie Hannah as she writes in a very similar way in terms of being contemporary and creating absorbing twists and turns.

What, who, and when were you first inspired you to write?
Although my foray into astrology may have left my spiritual life richer, my bank balance was a basket case, so it was back to the drawing board career wise and I began studying to be a Chartered Accountant. Bored to tears with studying audit, I decided to start writing a book one night. The strange twists and turns of my own life and my own constant querying over whether I had a destiny or a fate inspired the theme of my novel.
Added to this a tarot reader told me she saw me becoming an author and that did provide quite a bit of impetus to what was simply a new hobby at first.


What genre does your book fall into?
Psychological thriller.

Which genres do you write?
Thriller, suspense, mystery, literary.

What is the first book you remember reading, that affected how you thought or felt about something?
Mcbeth.  I studied McBeth in my final year of school and I was inspired by the way the various themes were woven together; the way the imagery and language always reinforced the themes and the way the characters either grew stronger in the case of Lady McBeth or spun out like McBeth.  I think it showed me that character is not about traits, but about how your characters reacts when the going gets tough.

Is there a book you loved that was also made into a movie that you also loved? If so, how did the movie connect with you?
Out of Africa – Usually the movie is a disappointment, but Meryl Streep is one of my favourite actresses and she really captured Karen Blixen so well.  The soundtrack and cinematography were sublime; which really added to making this a terrific movie which exceeded my expectations.

Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) Robert Ludlum – The excitement of how he conjures up stories.

2) David Icke – Fearless.  Explains complex ideas very well and always with humour.

3) Sidney Sheldon – Terrific titles, terrific stories and every one of his books were different.  He did not rely on a detective or a cop storyline.

Have you ever read a book you couldn’t finish reading?
Probably every book I was forced to read at school – there was one particularly drab book called A Rose in Winter…awful.

Do you read a book, while you are writing a book?

The process:

How many books have you written? Which book is your favourite and why?
Three, one play and one screenplay and a few half finished efforts that I have neglected.  I don’t have favourites, they are all very different.

Is there anything that helps get you in the mood to write?
Music!  Most frequently Queen, Barry Manilow, Cher or Bon Jovi – has to be full blast.  If all else fails, coffee and sugar.

What were three challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) Dealing with distractions.

2) My Grandad died half way through and I actually never thought I would get back to writing again, but I knew he would have wanted me to as he was so happy I was writing a book.  He was always a major source of encouragement to me.

3) Can’t think of anymore – I was lucky!

What lessons have you learned as an aspiring writer?
Never be afraid to re-write and edit…you can only make it better.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so what helps you to ‘overcome’?
Touch wood, no.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned, either in the self-publishing or traditional publisher, route?
The arts are very tough and you need self-belief more than in any other field as there is so much rejection and criticism to take along the way.  You need a big reservoir of positivity and friends that will encourage and give you constructive criticism.

How can people connect with you?

Where can readers find your book?

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