The Secret Letters
Tell us about your writing career
I started writing in 2013 when someone suggested it to me as a way to express my need to be creative. I had tried writing as a teenager, but I was writing in the first person, and for some reason the story never flowed.
When I tried again in the third person, I found I couldn’t stop the story from developing, and I then knew I had found my passion.
To date, I have written two novels, Perfect Imperfections and The Secret Letters. The next one will hopefully not take as long to finish.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
I’ve always loved reading romance novels with a little twist of mystery that builds as you read it. So when I decided to write, I knew that was the genre I would love to write in. My favourite books are the ones that remain with you, and that make your heart soar. That’s my aim for the books I write.
What is the name of your book (the book you want to promote), and what inspired it?
The idea for this story, The Secret Letters, released on 09 August 2020, came about one afternoon when Alshandra Visagie visited our home and shared her harrowing account of being attacked in her home by a stranger.
The way she told that story shook me to the core. Having known of her story my entire life, it was completely different sitting in the room and having a first-hand account of it. Her bravery and courage together with her story of survival were hair-raising, to say the least, but completely inspirational.
I knew then that I needed to share her story with the world somehow.
Being a fiction author, I contemplated for months how to tell that story. Whether to tell it as she had, or whether to fictionalise it completely. Eventually, I came to the realisation that I would use this book as an avenue to present the topic of a woman overcoming this horrendous attack, through a work of fiction, and then have her share it with my readers in her own words in live chats.
What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning this book?
Fortunately, this book's research was minimal, as a true story inspired it, even though it was a work of fiction. So the most I did was research places as I wrote the story. The main character goes to a conference in Switzerland, so finding the right place to send her took hours of me trolling YouTube, watching videos of Switzerland before I found the best place I wanted to send her.
How long did it take you before you began writing this book and then, how long did it take then to complete?
It took me about 2 years to write, simply because I did it part-time, whenever I got time off work. The difficulty with that is you continually need to re-read the story to see where you left off and start to feel the characters again before you can write another chapter. So you spend more time reading what you wrote than actually writing more during each free moment.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Names are a sensitive thing for me, as it needs to feel authentic to the character. I spend hours researching names, and their meanings, and then I imagine the character with that name, and if it doesn’t fit, I then look up more names.
How do you like to collect and organise your ideas?
For me it's all in my imagination. I play the story over in my mind like a movie. Then when I am certain I have the right story, I type an outline of the story. The thing is that the final product is never as the initial outline. My characters always have a mind of their own and write the story for me.
What's next for you as a writer?
I would like to branch out into other types of books, like children’s books, but first I need to get the next story in my mind written, so I can share it with the world.
Taryn Leigh is a South African author, who spent her childhood with her nose buried in books. Her love for reading transpired into her ambition to become an Author.
Taryn Leigh’s first book, Perfect Imperfections, is available in Paperback, eBook and AudioBook. She lives in Pretoria with her husband and son.
Connect with her on social media, she loves to hear from her fans and is known to always respond.
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