LaToya: Hi Inge, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Inge: Hi and thank you for having me. I live in Worcester, the biggest small town in South Africa and also the only one completely surrounded by mountains. (The town lies in bowl *smile*) That’s where my love for botanical gardens and parks come from.
I love learning and am crazily contemplating doing a Masters in Creative Writing. I have a BA (Humanities), PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) and Honors-Bed in Learning Support and Community Development.
LaToya: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Inge: In a nutshell, to be commercially successful as an author. I want to write the type of books readers love to come back to.
My first novel was published end of 2014, even though I started pursuing writing in 2012. I’m new to the publishing world and am growing as a writer every day.
LaToya: Which writers inspire you?
Inge: Okay this is such a cliché, but Jane Austen. I read widely, have done so since age eleven when my grandmother handed me my first romance novel. I can list numerous authors I’ve encountered over the years, but whenever I feel stuck or like I’m losing my place, I pick up Jane and become even kilter again.
The same goes for William Shakespeare. Can you imagine a fourteen-year-old with her nose stuck in a Shakespearean play or poem? Well, that was me *smile* I loved his take on romance and life.
LaToya: What are you working on at the minute?
Inge: A contemporary romance set in my hometown, Worcester. Here’s a short blurb.
Looks can be deceiving. No one knows it more than supermodel Morgan Bailey. After surviving an attack from her ‘perfect’ photographer boyfriend, she heads back to her hometown under the guise of supporting her mother after her parents’ divorce. Morgan has wounds to heal and attempts to do so by quitting modeling and starting afresh. But everyone expects the feisty rule breaking Morgan and she don’t want them to know how much she’s changed from the confident woman they remembered. She feels shame for staying in an emotional & physical abusive relationship for so long.
Beau Silverman is the mayor’s son and the town’s golden boy, the one man Morgan steered clear of. Beau was on a fast track, in line to take over the Silverman political dynasty and she didn’t think his parents would approve of her wild child ways. But that didn’t stop the two from admiring each other from afar. When Morgan returns Beau starts to feel the constraints of his family’s expectations. His career as a firefighter isn’t good enough. In a move that shocks everyone, Beau volunteers to be auctioned off as part of the fire department’s annual fundraising charity on Valentine’s Day.
Morgan still pretending to be her old self is goaded into bidding for Beau. This sets them on a course neither was prepared for. Will Morgan & Beau step out of the neat little boxes everyone’s placed them in and find love?
LaToya: What genre are your books and why?
Inge: I love writing flirty and frothy contemporary romances. The kind that makes you feel good after you’ve picked them up. When I started writing my ‘voice’ tended toward the quirky and funny. Contemporary romance is the genre where I feel most excited and upbeat.
I also write YA and have a free series (Lycan Legacy) on Wattpad. I started writing it in 2011 and have switched between my contemporary grownup romances and my love of YA stories. These stories usually fall into the paranormal, science fiction and fantasy categories. My biggest influence, for those categories, stems from reading my older brother’s books and watching those types of TV shows and movies.
LaToya: In 10 words or less can you create a quote that describes you and your writing?
Inge: Inge Saunders writes short, fun & flirty reads.
LaToya: Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Inge: A younger Zoe Saldana.
LaToya: When did you decide to become a writer?
Inge: When people ask this question I always think, “Wait. Are you telling me I had a choice?” *bug eyed* *laughs*
I wrote my first poem at age ten, I wrote my first story at age thirteen. It wasn’t really good according to my brother, so I tried again a year later. In the meantime, I kept up my poetry writing.
Was I ‘born’ a writer? No. I had an older brother and sister who loved reading and writing, so I did the same not wanting to be left out.
I wrote between classes before school started, basically, anytime inspiration struck and I had a pen and paper in hand.
Professionally I perused becoming an author in 2012 after a friend encouraged me. She was one of my Beta Readers for Lycan Legacy and wanted to fund the series. You got to love friends like that. *smile*
But the book was a mess until I joined Romance writers’ Organization of South Africa (ROSA) in 2013. ROSA opened up a whole new world for me and I can honestly say if it weren’t for them I wouldn’t have two books published right now.
LaToya: Do you write full-time or part-time?
LaToya: Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Inge: Writing works best for me without interruptions. So it happens in the evenings when the world has turned in for the night and nothing needs my attention.
LaToya: Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
Inge: I set a minimum of 300 words if I’m busy and a 1K if I have more time to focus on writing.
LaToya: Where do your ideas come from?
Inge: I do believe being in tune with the world around you plays a big part in creativity. Observing things most people wouldn’t pay attention to. Questioning. Wondering. Reading. Music. My first novel Falling for Mr. Unexpected was inspired by Demi Lovato’s Give Your Heart a Break.
I also get some of my ideas from pop culture. Today’s entertainment news headlines make for great inspiration for themes.
TV and movies. My 2nd book Dance of Love was inspired by the reality talent show Got To Dance and Simon Cowell *smiles*
LaToya: Do you work with an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you
Inge: I’m a pantser by nature, but I have learned the value of having an outline and jotting down all the major plot points. I’m big on characterization, so before I type the first word I will have a good idea of who the person is I’m writing about. I make picture boards on Pinterest and keep a folder of every book I’m working on, on my laptop. I don’t do story boards (yet), right now I like my walls ‘clutter’ free *grin*
And in romance, the plot is pretty straightforward.
LaToya: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Inge: I’ve moved from writing main characters I favored‒the strong woman who voices her opinion, who know why she’s making the choices she’s making, who makes mistakes but always finds her way ‘home’‒to main characters I couldn’t even imagine being friends with.
It became such a journey of discovery, delving deeper and literally placing myself in someone else’s shoes.
I gained empathy at a level I didn’t have before and I believe in that way I’ve evolved from where I started out.
LaToya: What is the hardest thing about writing?
Inge: Recently, it’s been sitting down and writing those 1st three chapters.
I know what I want to do, but getting the opening chapters right takes work and skill. I think it’s going to be something I’ll always work hard on as a writer no matter where I am in my career.
LaToya: What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Inge: Those 1st three chapters *smile*
LaToya: What is the easiest thing about writing?
Inge: Coming up with the story. I literally dream stories. My folder of Ideas are too many for one lifetime, but I’m going to give it a go anyway *cheeky grin*
LaToya: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Inge: I would say two months. I’ve written two of my books in a month’s time and then edited triple that!
My YA three book series I wrote one book a year (100k each), while working on my contemporary romances (50+K) as well.
A novella of say 20K words takes me 3 weeks.
A detailed synopsis works well I’ve found when you have a deadline on full and short length works.
LaToya: Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Inge: In five years I see myself as a hybrid author (traditionally, self-published and e-published), with a savvy website.
I will have taken part in writing competitions and maybe even judging some of them.
I will form part of more romance writing organizations (local & international) and take a more active role at ROSA’s annual conference. As an author of color I will use my platform to promote stories that are multicultural.
LaToya: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Inge: Believe in yourself more. You’re good enough.
LaToya: Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Inge: Goodness, it’s a toss between Jane Austen and William Shakespeare…I’ll go with Shakespeare. I would like to know how his mind worked.
LaToya: If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Inge: I find that I always want to have written political and social fiction of certain South African authors. The rich perspective of life in Apartheid and even colonial SA fascinates me.
If I have to pick one it would be Afrikaans author, Andre P. Brink’s n Droë Wit Seisoen translated as A Dry White Season.
When I read the book it was the first account I read of how some white people felt trapped within a system they felt were created by politicians who long since stopped asking them what they wanted. They’ve grown tired of the National Party government. The protagonist gets in trouble with the police once he starts to see all the cracks in the Apartheid government and how it treats black people. I would’ve loved to write such a story. Maybe I will *wink*
LaToya: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Inge: Join a writing group. Find critique partners (three at the most). Work on your craft. Listen to those who’ve gone before you, but don’t follow blindly. Research publishers, agents, and editors. Stick to the submission guidelines. And always remember, you’re not aspiring to write (you’re doing that already), you’re aspiring to become a contracted author *smile*
Connect with Inge:
Play Google: http://bit.ly/1d81rHY
Books by Inge Saunders
Books by Inge Saunders
Books by Inge Saunders Facebook Page: http://bit.ly/1defI54