Hello Marion! Welcome back to the Book Loft. Can you tell us a bit about your family, and what it is like where you live?
I come from a very close-knit family—two brothers, one sister and I’m the baby. We’re so blessed that both our parents, aged 88, are still alive and cherish each day they’re spared.
I’ve been married to the love of my life for thirty years. We have two gorgeous, creative sons, and two irresistible grandsons. My youngest son married a Finnish girl. They’re missionaries and live in Budapest. My oldest son and his family live right next door to us which is great because we get to see the grandkids often and have them for sleep-overs. My mother-in-law lives in the townhouse on the other side of us. Did I mention we’re a close-knit family? J
Our home is in the capital city of South Africa, Pretoria, which has the best year-round weather in the world (I think)—summers not too hot, winters not too cold. The best thing about the city is the Jacaranda trees that wash the streets in purple during spring.
I love those trees! Is there a story behind Orphaned Hearts?
Yes. While on holiday in Finland this past December and January, I was bevering away at a Christmas novella I intended to write and submit to my publisher (yes, my laptop went with on holiday). A few thousand words into my story set in Lapland, I got an email from a fellow author in the UK inviting me to be part of a boxed set (SPLASH!) several international authors where putting together. They thought a story set in Africa would be a great addition. Two criteria had to be met…the stories had to take place in summer and beside water. For me there was no other place in Africa for this story than at the Victoria Falls, along the banks of the mighty Zambezi River. I’d been there so I knew I could pull out something great. I immediately said yes, and put Lapland to bed.
Another reason I wanted to set this story in Zambia is because it’s the country of my birth.
Drawing on my past experiences, I knew there were two things that had to form an integral part of the story…elephants, and a sunset cruise up this magnificent river. I enjoyed both writing and reminiscing about these two aspects.
What is the last thing you wrote?
I’ve just finished writing a short story, 6000 words, for an anthology contest. I’ve never tackled anything this short before and found it quite a challenge. Again, a theme was part of the story. This time—Dance. Despite the challenge, I thoroughly enjoyed writing this piece and now eagerly await the outcome of my submission.
What’s the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?
Wow, what can be classified as first thing? I try to keep everything I write. I think the first real thing I wrote was a very long poem titled, ‘The Emigrant’s Lament’, which as the title suggests, I wrote after we left South Africa to live in Ireland. There’s one thing about that poem that will always resonate with me—the last line: “Africa will always be in my blood.”
What’s your favorite genre of writing?
Contemporary Inspirational Romance.
That has to be Luke Maskil, a secondary character in Oslo Overtures, my second Passport to Romance novella (White Rose Publishing, Pelican Book Group), releasing August 14th. Luke is the best friend of the hero, Kyle Sheppard. He is such a character that several of my critiquers have asked me (several times) when Luke would get a story of his own. I am still thinking about that one because he does deserve to be the hero in his own love story.
Who is the most annoying character you ever created?
Probably Viscount Alexander Tilney from Orphaned Hearts. Although I did not like him, I did love creating him. He doesn’t feature much in the book, nonetheless, he impacts greatly on the heroine’s life.
Does music help you write?
Definitely. Currently I’m listening to Michael Bublé’s Christmas CD…in July! What else would one play when writing a Christmas novella set in Lapland? I need something to remind me of all that snow, and sleigh bells.
Do you type or write by hand? Computer? Typewriter? Legal pad? Any special reason for choosing to write this way?
Why would anyone want to write by hand? You just have to do it all over again. My laptop, and only my laptop, which never leaves my side.
How many writing projects are you working on right now?
For the first time in forever, I’m actually only actively working on one and that’s my Christmas novella, Poles Apart, which will form part of a Christmas boxed set in conjunction with several of the SPLASH! authors.
Do you ever write based on your dreams?
Never, but I did write a Chicken Soup for the Soul story that was published based on a dream my sister had. Does that count?
Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write your first draft?
Absolutely. The more I can get right the first time, the less I have to look for while editing, because it’s amazing how many errors still go unnoticed despite several different pairs of eyes going over that manuscript.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Orphaned Hearts released on June 23rd, 2015 as part of the SPLASH! boxed set, and independently on June 10th. It’s available on Amazon.
In August my second Passport to Romance story, Oslo Overtures, releases through White Rose Publishing (Pelican Book Group).
Beautiful Norwegian, Anjelica Joergensen, and Kyle Sheppard from New Zealand are part of an international team of wingsuit pilots aiming to break the formation flying Guiness World Record in a high-flying event over the skies of Oslo. Kyle is sworn off the adrenaline-junkie females who gravitate to his looks and daredevil career. Anjelica still tends the scars from a personal tragedy. She’s keen to meet this amazing Kiwi wingsuiter and learn from him. But the first words Anjelica hears from Kyle are, “If women were meant to fly, the skies would be pink,”—a comment made totally in jest.
She tries to avoid Kyle, but the more she does, the more they seem to be pushed together. Despite their awkward start, she is drawn to him. But Kyle makes a foolish agreement which endangers his life and jeopardizes the event, reinforcing to Anjelica why falling for another wingsuiter would only be another love doomed.
I’m certain readers will love strapping those jetpacks onto their armchairs and taking to the skies with Oslo Overtures.
An Ebook of Oslo Overtures, downloaded from the publisher’s site (Pelican Book Group) in either Epub (EPUB), Adobe (PDF), or Mobi (MOBI), will be gifted.
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Marion Uekermann is giving away an eBook copy of Orphaned Hearts. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author.