Name: Natasha Wright
Where are you from: Originally, I am from South Africa
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I was raised in a rather deprived part of Pretoria but lived happily and never went without. My parents both worked within the SAPS (South African Police Service) and therefore my upbringing was one of militaristic discipline. I have an older sister, Talitha to whom I owe much of my inspiration and determination to get the book completed. My family had been an absolute pillar of strength for me when I wrote Set Apart as they somewhat knew of the darkness I was going through. I grew up with a love for wildlife and nature in general, a love for writing, especially poetry, for Strauss, and for, with thanks to my mum, Ballet and being in the kitchen! Today I am happily married to a man I wouldn’t want to be without, and we have three beautiful children. I live in the Spropshire hills surrounded by outstanding natural beauty!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I am excited to finally jump on board the marketing train to success with regards to my ebook! I am, along with a great group of people, also planning on climbing Mount Snowdon in June, raising awareness and money for children suffering from Chrone’s disease, for the WhiteFlowersFoundation!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I first started playing with words when I was around the age of 11. I remember writing some form of poem and being so very impressed with myself that I ran to my dad and read it to him as he was mopping the kitchen floor! My parents had always encouraged me to continue writing and so writing poetry became like breathing to me.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I never allowed myself this luxury until I self-published in December last year. And even then, I didn’t feel confident to market the book! It was only recently that I had a light-bulb moment and decided to embrace it – I am a writer, I am a poet, I am an author!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Set Apart came from somewhere deep within. From the wrong I grew up with, seeing apartheid and not being able to change it. From the desire to tell every man, woman and child who had been done an injustice that I am sorry, on behalf of us all. It also stemmed from a very intense homesickness. The privilege of using words to describe scenes, in my book made me feel closer to my home country. To be able to describe the smell of first summer rain on dry African soil, gave me the peace I have today; that I no longer live in my beautiful land, but that it is all right.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I think everyone has their very unique way of writing. For me, I find words flow easier when I am sad and I am trying really hard to write from happiness instead.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Set Apart speaks of Apartheid in the most basic form. There is also a deep beauty within as “set apart” sounds rather more like “privileged” or “special” than the harsh reality of “rejected”. The main character in my book was most certainly special, and so was his whole family.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
YES! It is a message of forgiveness and of unconditional love for the human race. I feel that the book strongly outlines so many of the struggles that was and in a way still is, very real in South Africa. Through these struggles though, comes the beauty of change, of growing and of letting go…
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
It is completely realistic. Growing up during the apartheid years, I saw many things that I disagreed with, and many things I did not see, but I knew, just like others did, that it happened and there wasn’t a thing we could do about it. Although my characters are all fictitious, one would not have to search far in South Africa to find people who had gone through exactly these events that I wrote about.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult – I don’t think I would ever want an organ donated to me after reading and researching the facts in that book!
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Probably my sister. She guided me throughout writing Set Apart and gave criticism when needed….I don’t know how well I would receive it from someone I don’t know and trust.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am not, but I am going over a friends’ manuscript and can’t wait for the next installment!
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
With a busy family life consuming all my time, I regret to say no. But I am just about getting a grip on marketing my novel and so I find myself in a see of new writers…so watch this space!
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Getting to grips with formatting for hard copies of my novel and marketing marketing marketing!!
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
When I was writing the novel I was going through a very dark time in my personal life. Once the book was written I had to face my situations and couldn’t cope. I had a nervous breakdown and had to leave in order to soul search for quite some time. It was during this time that the church helped me back onto my feet and for that I am eternally thankful.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I didn’t. Although I had always written poetry I never planned to write a novel, it just happened. I allowed the manuscript to gather dust and only about six months ago did I decide to do more about it. Now, I can actually see myself writing more books which is, exciting to say the very least!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. If I wanted to change anything I still could, as it is an ebook on Amazon. Another great advantage of self-publishing!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I recall my dad, sitting on the front porch quoting a poem with such gusto…his brown eyes shone with the love he had for his language, and for expressing it so beautifully. It grasped me, and I started to love reading poetry, and eventually writing it too! I also remember sitting in my Afrikaans lesson classroom listening to the teacher explain a poem, learning to understand what the writer wanted to say, be it to create an image by using assimilation, creating suspense with simple typography…I fell in love!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I am not currently writing, but working through all my years of poetry to share it with an audience.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Whenever I do have the time, which, with two kids in Primary, a 1 year old, a husband working away and two loving but needy dogs, I find that writing can only be accomplished with complete silence. I am one of those writers that needs a clean desk, and a white wall to stare at.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I just love Jodi Picoult! She works with a concept and create something so emotive and beautiful from it, she is amazing!
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, but I believe that in order to write about a certain setting, you must be in that setting. So therefore I would not write about a place I had not been in. Luckily for me I have lived in quite a few different countries and have had to adapt to different cultures so I have enough in my memory bank for another novel or two!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I used a cover from Amazon.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
My first draft was mainly factual and although my natural writing style and prose was visible, it took me going over the manuscript three times before I was satisfied. Each time I would amend, add but not really take away. When I went over it for the third time the book had been dormant in a cupboard for a year and when I started reading again I felt exhausted after page one and thought I might never write again! Thankfully, that passes in due course!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yes! I learned that I am a writer, and that I do have talent! This was something I humbly tried to shy away from for a long time. I learned that anything can be done if you put your mind to it…I never would have thought in my lifetime I would write a book so it really surprised me.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
I would give the advice that I am giving myself: Try your very best to write every day, even if it is just a letter to someone that never gets sent. Use beautiful prose in whatever you write, a facebook status update, a note to the school teacher…just keep your style of writing in constant use!
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
My novel, Set Apart is on sale on Amazon Kindle, or on iphone/android if you download the free Kindle App. The price is set very low because I am more interested in gaining an audience than a profit at this stage. You can like my facebook page, Natasha Wright, Author where I regularly post poetry and excerpts from the book. Or you could follow me on twitter, @NWrightAuthor. I would like to thank you in advance for your support, without readers, no one would be writing!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No…but I remember my favorite book ever: A place called here, by Celia Ahern!
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I love to bake! But sadly that means that it then needs to be eaten so I try not to bake too often! I have an adventurous nature and I love the outdoors. I especially love animals and could spend hours with my dogs if nothing else needed to be done. I also love photography and would love the opportunity to explore more with it in future.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I am in love with American culture so, I shamefully admit to be a Real Housewives addict! I also like Revenge, Wild At Heart, Modern Family and Family Guy. My husband and I also love watching informative documentaries together.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food: I love Lamb, apricots, mushrooms and lemony desserts!
Color, it has to be green! I also love Yellow and Orange
Music….well that is a tough one; I love most styles so one day I might be in the mood for some Il divo or Strauss, and the next a bit of Sandi Thom, Lifehouse, or good old Nickleback, if the mood takes me there!
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’d have loved to have been an explorer for National Geographic and travel the world, discovering new species and unknown places…Or somewhere in Africa, raising orphaned elephants or lions…bliss! But my more realistic goal once my youngest is a bit older, is to work with the RSPCA…I well up with tears just thinking about rehabilitating dogs who have lost their trust in humans. I think I might have found my purpose on this earth with that last one…
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Not yet, but you can find me on facebook, Natasha Wright, Author and I am planning to have my blog on wordpress up and running within a month or so!