Elaine Coetzee

1. Who are you? What do you do?
Who am I? Hmm … I am whomever I need to be. Sometimes, being a writer is a bit like being a schizophrenic with a more tangible grip on reality. I don’t envy my loved ones at all – every time I start a new story or novel I take on certain characteristics of my main characters. So today, I’m Elaine – tonight, I’m Suni, or Ashley, or Victor or Adrian … when I’m not doing all of that, I’m a mother and wife.

2. What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine?
I don’t have much of a process. I listen to music that will anchor me in the story (this changes from story to story / book to book) and I prefer working at night, when everyone’s asleep and the house is quiet.

3. What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?
A good imagination. Grammar and spelling can be taught, but a good imagination is a talent you are born with and develop over time. All writers must have basic grammar, spelling and punctuation skills though.

4. What motivates you to write?
Life. It sucks a lot of the time, and getting lost in my imagination and crafting my own little worlds (where nothing is ever perfect either) is an escape from reality. I’ve done it for as long as I can remember … when I was a child, they called it daydreaming and ADHD, now that I’m an adult it’s a skill and a talent – go figure.

5. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Yes. I listen to music and daydream until it gets better. Otherwise, I just keep writing until I get myself over the hump.

6. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write, write, write. Read a bit, and write some more.

7. What is the message in your book? What are your readers’ reactions to it?
Good question. I suppose the biggest message is that even those we consider to be ‘better than’ the rest of us are only human too – they get lonely and need comfort too.

8. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I am not Catholic. I know a lot more about the Catholic church now than I ever thought I would.

9. What are your current/future projects?
I’m currently working on a follow-up to a 2014 novelette called Runo’s Curse. It had a great response, and readers constantly ask me ‘what happens next.’ Well, let’s find out together, shall we? After that, I’ll play with the priest again … see what road he takes us down.

10. What book(s)/author(s) have influenced your life and writing?
Let’s see, the ones who really stand out are Stephen King, Roald Dahl, Anne Rice, Edgar Allan Poe, even Virginia Andrews at times. I tend to gravitate towards the darker side of the fictional world, and I suppose it did influence me in a way. My imagination, in general, is extremely dark and I scare even myself with the thoughts that pop into my head. That said, while my imagination is evil, I am not.

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