I Fell in Love with a Girl
Tell us about your writing career (how many books, when did you start writing, did you do any courses, won prizes? – anything interesting)
I have always wanted to write, but after I left school I decided I didn’t want to end up as a starving artist. So I did something sensible and did an accounting degree. As I headed towards retirement I looked to writing as a second career. About two and a half years before I retired I started writing. I wrote a 50k word novel just to see if I could. I found writing 1500 words per day came fairly easily. I then enrolled for an on line course with The South African Writers College. I have one novel traditionally published. I have written five other novels which I’m hoping top place with traditional publishers in due course.
Why did you choose to write romance?
I spent 33 years of a 44 year career working in the travel industry. Those 33 years placed me in offices that were numerically dominated by women. I found in that situation women are at first discreet about what they talk about if they know men are listening, but after a while they assimilate us and conversation carries of as if we are women too. My daughter who is an electrical engineer works in a company numerically dominated by men, and the same thing happens there, it’s just the other way around. A writer is someone who observes people and writes what he or she sees. I have spent 33 years observing the demographic from which romance novel readers come.
The second reason is that that my wife and I have conflicting tastes in the kind of movies we enjoy. This is with the exception of Rom-Coms Rom-Drams and Rom-anything else. So every time we go to movies it is a romance movie that we end up watching.
What is the name of your story in the anthology?
I Fell in Love with a Girl
Robyn Atkins’ growing affection for movie maker Graeme Fletcher is tempered by rumours in the media that he is involved with a famous actress. Oblivious to his much publicised jilting at the wedding to his ex, can Robyn turn this relationship to this striking but enigmatic figure into what she desires?
What was your inspiration for this story?
I was given the title, and I know that men fall in love with girls all the time. This falling in love had to be exceptional. I therefore took a man who had been jilted at his wedding, had gone off women completely, but when Robyn arrives there is something spectacular about her that enables him to fall in love again.
What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning this story?
We accountants study law as part of our qualification and implement law in the practice of our profession. Robyn as a corporate attorney was a fairly easy switch. At one stage I subscribed to a business magazine that focussed on the ad industry. Further to that I have a fascination for the work of the late Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman and have read extensively about his life and work. Graeme’s life as a movie man was based on that. So I didn’t specifically do research for this book but drew from my experience and reading over many years.
How long did it take you before you began writing this story and then, how long did it take then to complete?
I got the title in October 2019 and submitted it to the editor at the end of December 2019
How do you select the names of your characters?
I download a list of names from somewhere like members of parliament and then select a first name and combine it with a surname.
How do you like to collect and organise your ideas?
I start with a phrase, title, or incident and write from there. As the story begins to take shape I start to organise the plot.
Are you a plotter or a Pantser?
I was born and brought up on the Witwatersrand, and as an adult have lived in Johannesburg. I wrote a radio play when I was 10 years old. My mother kindly typed it out for me. I still have it somewhere. Late in high school I started working freelance for the Springs Advertiser as a photographic journalist over a period of five years. Since then whenever there was something to write I would write it. That is church newsletters, staff newsletters, and anything else.
I’ve been married to Audrey for 44 years. She is a nursery school teacher. We have five children, six natural grandchildren, one adopted grandchild, and three foster grandchildren.
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Website/blog: PG BARKER.COM