What first inspired you to write?
My Standard 3 English literature teacher arrived for our lesson and played an extremely emotive piece of music with drums and bugles. We then had to write a story about what the music had brought to mind. My composition was about a fallen soldier during WW1. My teacher was so impressed with my writing that she asked to keep my work. She also asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I replied, ‘I want to be a writer”. I was 10 years old at the time.
When did you start writing?
After we emigrated from South Africa I found that people in our new home country were perpetually asking the same question namely “What made you leave South Africa?” I decided it would be easier to put pen to paper and pass them a book than repeat myself and keep on stirring up demons. My novel is titled “Out of Nowhere”. Set in South Africa it addresses what transpired there between 1965 and 2000.
You were born in South Africa? How did you come to live on Corfu?
I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. My father was Portuguese, born in Oporto in Northern Portugal. My mother was South African but of Portuguese parentage. I therefore have a Portuguese (EU) Passport. I first fell in love with Greece in 1979 when I visited Athens with my parents. It was our last stop of a 5 capital city holiday and I cried at the airport not wanting to return to South Africa. I married in 1989 and nagged my poor husband to bring me back to my beloved Greece. Finally in 2009, after 20 years of hearing about my love affair with Greece, he told me to book. Like me, Steve fell in love with Greece too and we were able to immigrate in 2015. We have made Corfu our permanent home and just love living here!
What made you choose Corfu?
We loved the diversity of the beautiful island, the greenness and lushness of it and especially the kindness, friendliness and helpfulness of the locals. Added advantages were that most of the Corfiots speak English and make the most scrumptious traditional food.
Have you written anything since being on Corfu?
Yes, my second book published and distributed by Corfu Press titled “From the Donkey’s Mouth’ was written here. After visiting Corfu Donkey Rescue and chatting to the volunteers who described the plight of the donkeys I felt obliged to give them a voice. My book is therefore written in the first person by Doukis, the little Greek donkey. I illustrated it to give the text further punch. It is a historic non-fiction book which is educational as many people are unaware that equids are the most abused animals in history and in danger of becoming extinct.
You mentioned that this is your second book to be published by Corfu Press. Could you tell me a little about the first?
The first is ‘The Dog Lover’s Survival Guide’ which is very different from ‘From the Donkey’s Mouth’ as it is humorous in nature and highlights how quirky and silly dogs can be. It is a gift book aimed at dog owners and dog lovers and should have them in stitches and tears of laughter in parts.
You have written other books too.
I have written a couple of other gift books also designed to amuse the reader. They are “The Cat Lover’s Survival Guide’, The Survival Guide to Houseguests’ and ‘The Survival Guide to Traveling Light and Smart’. Their titles are a dead give away that they too are hilarious although also informative. I have also written three short story anthologies the majority of the stories having a twist in the tale.
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
When not writing books I write articles for MyKerkyra.com so the majority of my time is effectively spent writing! I love playing Scrabble on the Internet and I also paint.
What do you paint and in what medium?
I love water colours. My favourite subject matter is green tree frogs which are endangered, pelicans and Australian Kingfishers.
What are your other interests?
Antique furniture restoration, reading, cooking and photography.
I am sure you have been asked this question before but tell me, have you learnt to cook Greek food?
I have! I make a rather good Tsoutsoukakia and Moussaka if I have to say so myself! My first attempts at Moussaka were not brilliant as I used eggplant grown in South Africa and Australia and the eggplant is horrible by comparison to the Greek eggplants as they lack the creaminess. I thought there was possibly a secret ingredient or a certain part in the preparation or cooking that had been omitted from the recipe. Since moving to Greece my Moussaka has turned out quite yummy. I absolutely love Greek eggplant!
What are your plans for the immediate future?
Well, initially just catch up with myself after a hectic summer and continue writing. I may even get around to finishing a tapestry which has been 3 years in the making and restore a couple of pieces of furniture I have acquired.
To wrap up; what advice would you give other writers?
Get your words on paper and you can later edit or rearrange your chapter order. Do not look for the ‘perfect’ word when you are writing; if it does not come to mind use a synonym or even an underline so you are able to insert the word you are searching later. Finally, do not compare your work to other authors. You are unique, as is you writing, unless of course you have plagiarized! You should not compare a Lamborghini to a Fiat. One is luxurious, the other cute. Both have worth.