Love, in Writing
by Elsa Winckler
A hardcore Science Fiction writer and a softhearted romance novelist clash on the sunny South African coast…
Margaret Parker is a hopeless romantic whose fantasies fuel her writing. For Graham Connelly, science fiction is the perfect genre to express his cynical worldview. A chance meeting in a lift leaves them both interested and aroused — with no clue as to the other’s identity.
Margaret has been looking for a face to match her new fictional hero — and Graham’s is it. Graham has been looking for proof that innocence and optimism still exist — and he’s found it in Margaret. But fantasy isn’t reality, and both Margaret and Graham are used to controlling their fictional worlds. Can they step off the pages long enough to find their own happy-ever-after?
“This is not helping, Connelly, not helping,” he muttered to himself before he turned around with a forced smile on his face. “Well, I think this one will do.” He gestured inside the room. “There is an adjacent bathroom.”
Margaret peered inside, then looked up at him. “No, I don’t want to sleep here,” she said, and walked on down the corridor. Her hair had been pinned up but now she was taking out the pins as she walked.
Graham pushed his fingers through his hair. What the hell? “Well, the next three all look like this one. You can pick any one.” Something was going on here and he wasn’t sure whether he was reading the signs correctly.
He opened the door to the next bedroom, Margaret took out another pin, peered inside and shook her head. Her hair cascaded down onto her shoulders. His hands itched to grab hold of it, but he walked on and opened the next bedroom door. She looked over his shoulder this time and shook her head again. His mouth was dry, his heart beating in overdrive. What was she up to?
“Well, this is the last guest room,” he said, and opened the door. This time, she walked in and looked around, even opened the bathroom door as well. Then she came back to him where he was standing just inside the door, and shook her head again.
“No, I don’t want to sleep here either,” she said, and looked up at him. “Show me the other room,” she said softly and took his hand.
Graham could literally feel the blood leaving his brain and dropping down to the lower part of his body. He was harder than he’d ever been.
“It’s my room,” he said softly.
“I know.” She smiled.
Hi Everyone, I’m Elsa Winckler – wife, mother, grandmother, romance writer, dreamer.
I’m one of the lucky ones – I married my best friend who also happens to be my soul mate. We celebrated our 45th anniversary during 2020 and even amidst the chaos of the year, I was so grateful to have met him all those years ago. He makes it so easy to write about happy-ever-afters! Not that life has always been an easy ride, mind you – both of us are quite stubborn, a trait our three kids also inherited. Family dinners could be quite loud, filled with laughter and bantering – something I sorely miss nowadays. Life so far has been many things, but it has never, ever been dull ☺ . We’ve also been blessed with four grandchildren – three gorgeous, busy boys and a little girl with curly brown hair and beautiful blue eyes who made her appearance early on in 2020.
And each day I get to make up stories about life and love – I feel very blessed.
Love, in writing is a single title.
What were your inspirations for the story?
It started with the phrase ‘suspension of disbelief’ coined by the British poet Coleridge way back in 1817 to describe an audience’s tolerance of content and critical thinking in order to enjoy something surreal, for instance, science fiction.
And then the idea of a meet-cute between a divorced, cynical, jaded science fiction writer and a scantily clad woman in an elevator, popped into my head one night. But she’s really the girl-next-door type, she writes romance and is holding out for her own happily ever after. So how come she’s wearing next to nothing when she gets into the elevator? And how do two such opposites fall in love with one another? That was the question I tried to answer.
Please share your setting for Love, in writing. Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most?
The heroine in the story has a bookstore in Kommetjie, a small coastal town near Cape Town, South Africa, my country. It’s a beautiful small coastal village, about an hour and a half drive from Cape Town. The drive around the Cape Peninsula from Cape Town to Kommetjie is one of the most spectacular, with False Bay on one side and lovely mountains on the other. If you’re lucky, you may just catch a pod of dolphins or whales while on this scenic route.
The hero in the story has a wine farm near Stellenbosch, a beautiful historical student town surrounded by mountains, about an hour’s drive from Cape
We lived in Stellenbosch while our kids were in school and while they studied at the local university. It’s a vibrant, beautiful town surrounded by mountains with a charm all of its own. We’ve visited Cape Town and Kommetjie on numerous occasions. So while writing, it was easy to picture the characters going about their busy lives while trying to sort out the strange feelings they’ve been experiencing ever since they’ve met in an elevator.
The hero in our story has a lot of issues. He’s been through the humiliating experience of finding his ex-wife in bed with his best friend, so he’s not looking for love or a relationship. And to add to his frustration, for the first time in his life, he has writer’s block. But then he meets the gorgeous woman in the elevator and pieces of a puzzle fall into place – he starts writing again. She’s only his inspiration nothing else, right?
When did the writing bug first bite?
I can’t say that I’ve always wanted to write – it sounded way too far-fetched when I was younger. But then I entered and won an Afrikaans magazine competition which asked for love stories and as I have read thousands of love stories ever since I can remember, I decided to try my hand at also writing a story. I was fortunate enough to win the competition and suddenly I was writing stories, giving voice to the many, many voices in my head ☺. It was such a relief!
Who are your favorite authors, book/series?
I love the classics. Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Henry James, the Brontë sisters, and I re-read most of them every now and again. I’m also a fan of Katie Fforde and Marian Keyes and my go-to author for romance is Nora Roberts. My favorite series of hers is the Bridal quartet. I dreamt of Malcolm, the hero in the last story, for weeks.
If you could have an author roundtable discussion with any authors, who would you invite?
Stephen King, of course. Not because he writes horror (I’m too much of a wimp, I’m afraid) but because of his book, On writing. I would love to pick his brain. Nora Roberts – because she also doesn’t like other people in her house. Marian Keyes – I love the talks she regularly has on Facebook, I find her hilarious. And Jane Austen. I’d love to ask her whether she’s had any more stories.
Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time?
I knit and I crochet – not very exciting I’m afraid, but both hobbies keep my hands busy and my brain free to roam and think up stories. I also love to cook for the people I love. Two of our children now live overseas so the times we have all of them around one table, is so precious, I pull out all the stops.
What is the one thing that you would tell an aspiring writer to do?
Sit down and write your story. You can read thousands of books, attend one conference/Zoom meeting after the other but in the end, you can only have a story if you actually sit down and write it.
Thank you very much!
*sigh* I didn’t want this book to end. Seriously, it’s that awesome. The blurb grabbed me and then when I started reading it, oh my word, I couldn’t put it down. Graham is a grumpy dream and Margaret is just plain hilarious. Talk about opposites attract. I know that when we read romance, we can “see” the conflict or what would be the conflict down the road but with them, I didn’t see it coming. At first, like so many novels, it is always the hero that blows it but not with this on. Margaret just couldn’t take off the blinders long enough to see what she had in the end.
The opening scene is one for the books. It actually took me a minute to realize that the book is written by a South African so when it came to some of the words, I was like…what? After that, I was laughing out loud at some of Graham’s dialogue. Another thing that really captured the essence of the book was the fact that they are novelists. Completely different genres but it was nice to see the difference in their thinking and approach to their work and how it relates to their personal relationships with others. Of course, that’s the biggest and downright perfect thing about them. When you read the book, it will make complete sense. Graham you naughty boy. LOL!
I really can not say enough about this book. Beautifully written with characters that you will fall in love with even if one of them really needed to be slapped. *sigh* Ms. Winckler, she really did. What a shrew, in my opinion. The setting is gorgeous, the emotions run high, the dialogue hilarious at times, plausible plot, and an epilogue that had me rolling with laughter. And I completely understood both the heroine and hero when it came to their thoughts and emotions. Most of the time I don’t. It’s either one or the other but with Ms. Winckler’s words, I got it. Truly specular writing.
I miss Graham and Margaret all ready. This is a must re-read for me and I normally don’t do that when I’m reviewing a book. Ms. Winckler has outdone herself and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for me. Don’t delay…pick this one up. Green aliens…I would love to read one of Graham’s books. Hint…hint.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Elsa has been reading love stories for as long as she can remember and when she ‘met’ the classic authors like Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Henry James The Brontë sisters, etc. during her English Honours studies, she was hooked for life.
She married her college boyfriend and soul mate and after 45 years, 3 interesting and wonderful children and 4 beautiful grandchildren, they are now fortunate to live in the picturesque little seaside village of Betty’s Bay, South Africa.
She likes the heroines in her stories to be beautiful, feisty, independent and headstrong. And the heroes must be strong but possess a generous amount of sensitivity. They are of course, also gorgeous! Her stories typically incorporate the family background of the characters to better understand where they come from and who they are when we meet them in the story.
Personal Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/elsa.winckler
Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ElsaWincklerRomanceAuthor?ref_type=bookmark
Twitter: https://twitter.com/elsawinckler @elsawinckler
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:
Elsa Winckler will be awarding a copy of a short story to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.