What were you like at school?
I was just an average kid. I loved sports, and though I didn’t excel, I loved participating as well as the social aspect of being part of a team. I was friends with everyone and are still in touch with most of my school friends, some friendships going back fifty years.
What was your favourite subject?
Afrikaans, English and Geography
What superpower would you want?
How do you relax?
Reading, painting, taking photos and socialising with friends and family
What is your dream destination?
I’m a nomad and although I’ve been to many places, Scotland is always my favourite destination. I still want to go to New Zealand, Germany and Norway. And I would love to see the lavender fields in France, the Keukenhof Gardens and the cherry blossoms in Japan.
What is your most precious time of the day?
Early mornings. It is quiet and peaceful, and in the same breath also invigorating, bringing a promise of a new day with new opportunities.
Your favourite quote?
Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever. – Walt Disney
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Outlander (Diana Gabaldon’s series). I love the history of Scotland and even as a child, I imagined living in another time.
Which writers inspire you?
Nora Roberts, undoubtedly. I love her books and style.
If you could have lunch with any four authors who ever lived, who would be at your table?
Barbara Cartland, Nora Roberts, Diana Gabaldon and JoJo Moyes
What book inspired you to become a writer?
Inspired? I won’t call it that. In July 2016 we were in New York on holiday. I read (or tried to read), a rugby romance on the flight back to Johannesburg. It was not the best book I’ve ever read, riddled with inaccuracies. It was as if the author flung together a sex scene on every second page and bam, that was it. For goodness sake, I followed rugby since I was a young girl. I even played a match once (and scored a try). I thought I could do better. Haha, I was in for a surprise. By the time the flight landed at OR Tambo, however, I had planned a whole series of five books. I even knew how my characters would look like. That Monday, I started writing, and I must admit, my first attempts were just as bad as that book I tried to read on the plane (only with fewer sex scenes). I persevered, though.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I still hope to write that best-seller. In the meantime I’m trying hard to get to that hundred books I hope to publish before I die.
How do you think you’ve developed creatively?
In leaps and bounds. If I remember my first manuscript when I started in July 2016, I cringe. It was terrible. Since then, I’ve found my voice and also learned to cut the crap out of my writing.
How long on average, does it take you to write a book?
Depending on the length, it could take anything between a week and a month to complete the first draft. Saying that there are books I started in 2016, but I only now can finalise it as the characters had been stubborn and refused to reveal their secrets. Amazingly, I could finish three of these in quick succession.
What genre are your books?
What draws you to this genre?
I fell in love with romance when I was still at school. I love happy ever afters. We have so much bad stuff going on in the world. If I read, I want to escape to a nicer, better place. Romance provided it for me.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Encountering stubborn characters. On a more serious note: the most challenging part is self-promotion, whether it is to submit your book to an agent or publisher, or if you self-publish, to get your book in the hands of the readers.
How much research do you do for your novels?
For some less than others. For the Playing for Glory series, I have to do a lot of research as most of the stories, even though they are listed as sports (rugby) romances, deals with other underlying issues. For example, Jakes in Eye on the Ball suffered from panic attacks after being in an abusive relationship. Obstruction deals with teenage pregnancy and in two of the soon-to-be-released books in the series, one deals with the aftermath of rape and the other with dyslexia. Also, the characters in the series often suffer injuries that I need to research. The Taste for Love series is much easier, as I only have to eat or drink a lot of the specific item, such as coffee, wine and the next one, cupcakes. I might have a problem with the whisky one.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you?
I’m a planser. Yes, there is such a description which is something between a planner and a pantser. I plan my series, and I know the names of the characters and I even have the titles of their books and their covers. I also do know where they fit into the timeline of the series, but that is it. I find out what they want to reveal in the first draft. I then go back, draw up a new timeline for that book, and set out the scenes. That’s when I find the weak spots and where to add or delete scenes or change them around. I quite like that part, because I know more about the characters and their quirks. Sometimes I have to gently steer them in a new direction, although they can be obstinate. Jakes, for example, was supposed to go to New York. The next thing I knew he was on a flight to Denver and I couldn’t get him on a different plane. Just as well, isn’t it. He might never have met Angie if he went to New York!
Romance author Francine Beaton published her first romance novel—a contemporary sports romance called EYE ON THE BALL—in April 2018 after she first started writing in July 2016. Francine calls Pretoria home, but she loves travelling to faraway places and considers Scotland her second home. When she’s not reading or writing about love and Happily Ever After, she’s most likely busy painting or taking photos of everything that catches her eye. During rugby season, you’ll know where to find her. It will either be next to the pitch or in front of the television, following her favourite teams. It’s probably not difficult to figure out why her debut novel, Eye on the Ball, as well as the series, Playing for Glory, has rugby as a theme.
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