Hi there and a big South African wave to the gracious ladies and followers of The Pen and Muse Blog. I'm Judah Raine, and I'm thrilled to be here to share a little and get to know you. I've done my best to answer the wonderful questions that have been cooked up for me
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I currently live in a little leafy suburb of Durban, South Africa, called Westville, where I share a house alongside a river with my "all-growed-up" interior designer daughter and our "zoo". I'll be moving soon, a little futher up the hill - a place called Hillcrest, which is just that - and I'll be exchanging our river for the closest thing to country life a girl can find in the city! As a farmer's daughter, I'm living proof that you can take the girl out the bush, but not the bush out the girl!
Along with writing, which is my abiding passion, I'm a singer, musician and songwriter, and also dabble in poetry, mainly for my own fun. I suppose you could say I'm "creative-obsessive", having tried everything there is in the "arts and crafts" genre. Beading remains a firm favorite, though, and I make wedding gowns for family and friends in my "spare time."
What inspires you to write?
It's a necessity! Take away my writing and you got one mean and nasty woman... seriously though, I've been writing for as long as I can remember. My Dad used to say I was born with a pen in one hand and a book in the other. It's also the only way to deal with the gazillions of people that live in my head... For me writing is therapy, fun, obsession, and my way of interpreting life and situations. I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, with endless sweeping landscapes of high gradeur and harsh beauty, soft rolling hills and pristine beaches... with all that at hand, and the incredible passion that encapsulates Africa, being able to share it all through my writing is a challenge and a joy.
Do you find that your muse takes over when writing?
Not only when writing, lol! I have a very demanding muse. Petulent when ignored, loud and persistent too... I tend to write in marathons, letting the words simply pour out and do what they need to do. Editing comes much later, when the muse is resting... Being an incredibly busy person, I find I don't have "daily" time to write much, so it means setting aside chunks of time and setting a "date" with the muse, who usually has so much to say by then that I don't get a word in edgeways!
Tell us a bit about your current work? What inspired it?
I currently have three books in progress, all of which are up at Textnovel, and one of which earned an "Editor's Choice" award. The Unmaking of Missy is one I've been busy with a long time - Missy (or Mellua) is a complicated girl, having been caught between a Victorian type grandmother and a domineering mother, and it's taking time to sift through the layers and explore the emerging woman as she discovers life and love for the first time. Being Mrs Belamy is my version of the marriage of convenience scenario, and one that started out as a fun concept but which is becoming intriguing as Maeve discovers that being the wife isn't the simple business arrangement she expected. A High Wide Place is a little "darker" (my "Editor's Choice") and is set in the magnificent Drakensberg mountains - a place dear to my heart, truly high and wide and intensely beautiful.
Do you have any have any other works in progress that you want to share?
I'm currently researching for a series on the British 1820 Settlers, a group of people "exported" to South Africa by the Colonial Government to settle on the eastern frontier, and provide a buffer between the Cape Colony and the Xhosa tribes. They endured incredible hardships, most of them being hopelessly ill-equipped for "farming" in an area that wasn't at all suitable for agriculture. Being of 1820 Settler descent, it's a part of South African history that intrigues me, and I'm looking forward to being able to "meet" the characters and tell their stories.
What would be your advice to aspiring writers out there?
First, be disciplined. There's no substitute for good old fashioned hard work and self-motivation, especially when things aren't going too well. Second, be "teachable". Listen, ask questions, look, and learn. Hone your craft, and be open to criticism that is honest and objective. Third, have fun. Enjoy your work. Love writing and it will love you. Never let it become a chore, and always listen to the inner voice. It's usually right! Finally, don't rush it and never give in. Remember the old question about how you eat an elephant? Spoon by spoon...
What are your favorite books at the moment?
I'm an avid reader with a very eclectic taste. I still love the old classics (being an English major, they move with me wherever I go!) and will read anything as long as it's well-written. I hate slap-dash or bad writing. At the moment I have my hands full with moving and with Classic Romance Revival, which is growing rapidly and needs constant attention (A group for authors writing "classic romance, which can be found at http://www.classicromancerevival.com) Hopefully, once I've settled into my new home I'll have time to read again.
What is your favorite word? Least favorite?
Favorite word... difficult, there are so many. But if I have to choose... okay, it's a real "South Africanism" - "Eisch!" Which basically is an amalgamation of everything you can think of (oh no, oh dear, hell's bells, wow, amazing, fancy that, no-way.... the list goes on, but I guess you get the picture!) Least favorite? There are three,actually, and they're inseparable: "You can't do..."
Well, I guess I've used up my fair share of space... it was great to be here, and thank you for inviting me along. If you'd like to find out a little more about me and my books (all set in South Africa), please visit my website at http://www.judahraine.com
or find my books at http://www.bookstrand.com/authors/judahraine/
Happy Reading Everyone!
Judah Raine - Welcome to my Romance World, where things are as Write as Raine!