Mia has known the highs and lows that life throws at us in what seems to be such wreckless abandon. She used writing as an outlet, and discovered a love she hadn’t explored until recently. Read about her writing and self-publishing adventure here.
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself and the book(s) you have written, including the genre you prefer:
I will always be a mother to three beautiful daughters and a handsome son, even though two daughters now rest in peace. I have always worked, helping with the running and managing of my husband’s medical practice, so I had to learn the art of being able to juggle between motherhood and being an entrepreneur. Both tasks are not your normal 9-5 job, so it was important to understand the definition of balance. Sometimes your children need a lot more attention than your business but then there may be times when your business needs more attention. You learn to be flexible and the ability to quickly change direction. The upside of this is that it teaches your children to be independent and self-reliant, important skills to have in this day and age. Although I must admit that I do wish I had spent more time with my children.
I started writing close on 7 years ago, which was inspired by a difficult family situation that took years to resolve. I thought then that it being so dramatic would make a good story. I started, got to chapter 3 and then laid it aside. Suddenly in 2012, I was confronted with one of the most heart rendering tragedies in my life and couldn’t help recalling my mother’s agony. Do children suffer because of the sin of their parents? So my book, A Mother’s Sin, arose from recollections of my mother’s verbal agonizing, brought back to mind each time a tragedy struck. Reflecting on that, I felt I could add far more to the originally intended story. So six years later, I once again picked up my pen and completed it within four months. I took real life tragedies and turned it into a novel. The protagonist in this story is Ella. She had a fair number of tragedies in her life. When tragedy strikes any family, many questions arise. Although reliving some moments in my writing proved exceptionally traumatic, I tried to portray the raw emotion, so I hope my book will be an inspiration and a catalyst for healing to those whose lives have also been struck by tragedy.
2. Why did you decide to self-publish? What was the process leading up to this decision?
After researching both options, I realized I lacked a bit on the side of patience besides the fact that by the end of the six years any patience I did have was now exhausted. After doing some research I felt that going the traditional route was like playing the Lotto …. You may or may not win, what are the odds? I was also wary of using a company which assists with the self-publishing route. Internet is full of trolls everywhere, and with all the warnings and scams, it was very disconcerting. Fortunately, I knew an author who used the same self-publishing company I chose to use. Her reassurance put my mind at ease that I was dealing with an authentic company. I have been very impressed with their proactive approach and how quickly they respond to any queries I may have. It doesn’t come free, but making the publishing so hassle-free has to me, been worth every cent.
3. What kind of feedback have you had from your readers and editors?
The book was supposed to have been launched in December but the OCD in me kept changing things so the marketing team then decided to rather launch it as a 2017 publication. Now just waiting on a launch date which will be sometime in February. The reviews from the publishing company have been great. They want me to attend the book-to-screen Pitchfest in New York in May, and are even willing to subsidize some of the costs.
4. Please give us a quick list of pros and cons for the self-publishing route:
I think I covered that in point 2. My only criticism is that they kept pressurising me to submit the manuscript. I would have liked more time to spend on the editing.
5. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
They need to work out what will work out best for them. Speak first hand to those who have gone both routes and then decide what you can afford and what will suit you better. There is a lot the self-publishing assist companies can offer, but that comes with a price.
I loved being consumed in the world of writing so I have started on another book.
Then, just some fun questions:
6. Do you try to be as original as possible? Or do you prefer to stick to what you know readers / publishing houses are looking for?
7. When did you first experience the power of literature?
Always loved reading. My preferred genre are biographies. I also enjoy legal thrillers.
8. How much time do you spend writing per day / week?
When I’m on a roll, I can spend hours and into the night for days. Then I can go weeks without writing, but my mind is constantly thinking and plotting. I’ve even stopped my car whilst driving to make quick notes.
9. What do you tend to edit out of your books after the initial writing?
I tend to add more to enhance. Although I do often need to change words so that they don’t become too repetitive
10. What are the hardest scenes for you to write?
Emotionally, it is reliving through tragedy. Also accepting the fact that sometimes in order to make a character authentic to his/her personality will require cursing and profanity that could be offensive.
11. What could you have done as a child or teenager to ensure that you were an even better writer today?
12. What else do you do, if you aren’t a full-time writer?
A juggler ….help manage husband’s businesses, own guesthouse, interior-designer, wife, mother, traveller.
*Note: all interviews are published as submitted, and not edited*