Chances - Francine Beaton
Before I start my (very awkward) own interview today, I need to tell you the reason I'm doing it. Today would've been the interview with the 9th author in the anthology, Lara van Lelyveldt.
Lara, unfortunately, is in hospital and hadn't been able to complete the interview yet. As soon as she is feeling up to it, I will post Lara's interview. In the meantime you can follow Lara on Instagram:
Tell us about your writing career
I never had any aspiration of being an author. A chance meeting in New York in July 2016 with a young Jersey rugby player and reading a terrible rugby romance on the long flight back to South Africa, had been the catalyst, however. I thought I could do better than that book. Hah! I was in for a surprise. But, by the time the plane landed in Johannesburg, I not only planned one book, but a series of five. That Monday I seemed to unpack the muse along with my dirty laundry. I must admit, my first drafts were as terrible as the book I read on the plane. I persevered, though and by the time I attended a Romance Masterclass in Cape Town, presented by my writing coach, Sarah Bullen in May 2017, I had about seven or eight completed manuscripts. For three months Sarah coached me, and by September I submitted my debut novel to about 60 publishers. I got 9 rejections, but then got a 3-book deal with a New York based publisher. My debut novel, Eye on the Ball, was published in April 2018. I soon realized, however, that the traditional publishing process is way too slow for me. In May 2018, I self-published Taste for Coffee, the first book in the Taste for Love series. I never looked back. Even before the publisher could publish my second book, I asked for my rights back. I since then published 15 English books. I’ve re-written some of my English books into Afrikaans and have now published 8 of them and another one is due out soon. I also have written one book only in Afrikaans in the Pad na Glorie series, which will be published soon after 'n Man soos Pierre.
Why did you choose to write romance?
I fell in love with romances when I was ten years old. I devoured all the Afrikaans romance books in our local library and by the time I was 15, I switched over to the English section. Therefore, romance was an easy choice for me. Who doesn't like a Happy Ever After?
What is the name of your story in the anthology?
Best friends shouldn’t look like Lia Moorcroft, nor should they make you feel things like she does. Jesse Summers realized it the moment the girl he knew, since she was in diapers, crashed into him after disappearing for eight long years. He needed a little time to get used to the new Lia. It isn’t too much to ask, or is it?
Things never turn out the way you imagine them to. Soon, Jesse and Lia find out that Lia will be Jesse’s new intern. Both treasure their friendship and will do anything to protect it, even burying their growing feelings.
But how long can they do that?
What was your inspiration for this story?
I always knew I wanted to write Jesse’s story. Jesse is the twin brother of Angie, my heroine in Eye on the Ball. He had to have a story. I knew it from the beginning, but didn’t know what it was. I actually started writing this story in 2018 for my then publisher’s Fall Anthology, but never submitted it. I love the friends to sweethearts trope and I knew Jesse would be ideal for it.
What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning this story?
Google is my friend. 😀 When I wrote Eye on the Ball, I wanted to send my South African character to New York. I’ve been to New York. I don’t know how it happened but Jakes ended up in Denver. And then I had to research Denver as I’ve never been there! (I still want to go). I’ve done a lot of research then so I could use that information for Chances. I also had to do research about public relations and the media for Obstruction, and ballet for my Afrikaans novel ‘n Man soos Pierre, which I could use for Chances too.