Judah Raine

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Westville is a leafy suburb on the outskirts of Durban where my daughter and I share a house on a riverbank slap-bang in the middle of suburbia. We also share it with "our zoo"a German Shepherd Doberman, one of her offspring from a gorgeous German Shepherd Timber Wolf, and a Great Dane masquerading as a miniature Maltese Poodle. We also have two cats, both of which have personality issues. But that's another long story.

I have a degree in Communications and English, with some Education and Psychology thrown in for fun. The need to earn a living has taken me from managing my husband's plumbing business through an animal science laboratory (who put me there and what were they thinking?) and conferencing, and finally into the property industry. But my nature is essentially creative, and I have tried pretty much everything there is to try in the "arts and crafts" genre.

Beading is a passion, especially on wedding gowns, which I design and make in my "spare time". I am also a guitarist and vocalist, and I am experimenting with combining my love for words with my love for music and writing some of my own songs. As a widow (my husband passed away eleven years ago from bone cancer) and with my daughter now "all grown up", I am finally able to focus on doing what I love bestwriting! It was a passion discovered years and years and years ago growing up on the farm. Through the years it's been my friend, my therapy, my way of self-discovery, and sometimes the only lifeline to sanity!

Q: How would you describe a typical day in your life?

A: There isn't one. I avoid routine. Or it avoids me, I'm not quite sure which. Except that I'm a very early riser. Anything from 3a.m. onwards, which is an ingrained habit from the farm. But that's about the only thing that's typically me. The only real "rule" I have is to do what has to be done now, especially if it's stuff I don't enjoy. That way I can free up my time to do the stuff I want to do. Luckily my "day job" has flexible hours, so I can set things up as I want them to be.

Q: With this kind of flexibility, how do you structure things to fit in time to write?

A: That's easy. Writing is my priority, so I find that most things are worked out around this. Anything non-essential just has to wait until I'm all written out. But I don't necessarily write everyday. I tend to do it in marathons, with a day or two in between to regroup and charge the batteries.

Q: Do you structure the book before you begin?

A: Not really. I have a rough idea, and I start writing. I prefer to let the characters tell their own story. And I also never revise as I go along. Basically I just let the story spill out until it's done, then I go back and rework what needs fixing. I prefer to capture the heart of it as it happens instead of second guessing all the time.

Q: What is the driving force in your writing?

A: I love words. And I love people. I love the way the way they react and feel in different situations. I love the way none of us is ever exactly the same. And I love the complexity of life. This is what I try to capture.

Q: Do you have a purpose in mind when you write?

A: To tell that particular story. To capture something of human experience, good and bad, and make something positive out of it. To touch on things that all of us feel, things that are essentially human, and to share them in a way that we can "touch".

Q: Why have you waited so long before submitting your first book?

A: That's a question I've asked myself often. Life happened, I suppose. Other stuff. And maybe I needed to just get to that space where I was ready.

Q: Do you think you put yourself into your books?

A: As creator I suppose it's inevitable. I have a strong value system and that's bound to come through. But I do try not to make my characters rigid, and to allow them their own space.

Q: What made you pick romance as a genre?

A: Because life without it is pretty dull! To love and be loved is something we're born to. And I believe that love is the most powerful force in the world.

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