Dear Diary Magazine did an interview with me…
- Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? What you do?
I’m an author of hot, humorous and heartfelt romance novels set on the African continent. I live in Cape Town, South Africa. I’m delighted to offer the world “a new kind of romance” through Ankara Press, the romance imprint of Cassava Republic. What they’re doing is special because they’re giving us vibrant African heroines who know what they want, and are not afraid to go out and get it. Women we can recognise in ourselves.
- When did you decide to write romance books?
In 2010 I started toying with the idea of committing to being a writer. Then I had a child. In 2015, when he started play school, I started taking writing seriously… because I wanted another child! Nature is very persistent. I thought that writing romance was a good choice, because romance sells (as does self-help) and you need money to raise a family. Well, my second baby didn’t turn up, but my book The Seeing Place was born! As was my love affair with writing romance. I always say my unborn child was helping me from the Other Side, so I could have something just for me 🙂 – she’s very generous with her love.
- How many titles do you have published? What is your favourite and why? And where can our readers find them?
The Seeing Place was published in 2016. And its sequel, This Crazy Paradise, came out in 2017. Ankara Press is currently reviewing the next two books I’ve written in this series. In each book, you’ll find a secondary character, a friend or family member, who then has her own romance in the next title. And these ladies find themselves all over Africa: Cape Town, Johannesburg, Maputo, even the Maasai Mara. They’re also world travellers, so we see them in London (so far) and in New York (forthcoming). I also have an erotic romance series with settings in Italy and Bali.
My favourite has to be This Crazy Paradise, because it’s about a psychologist who switched to writing romance, and that’s me! Readers have said they love the psychological angle in this one: a gorgeous guy pitches up at Dr Dlamini’s writing hut in paradise, asking for help with his insomnia – over another woman! Should she comply?
You’ll find all my books on my author page on Amazon (including sneak peeks where you can “look inside” to see if it’s to your liking): https://www.amazon.com/AZIZA-EDEN-WALKER/e/B0791DLQLG/
And you can read more about Ankara Press here: https://www.ankarapress.com/pages/about-us
- The African man is not known to be the romantic, buy you flowers kind of guy – Do you believe this is true and what kind of man do you write about?
I think stereotypes are the death of romance. My guy doesn’t buy me flowers, but he has his own way, you know? A humorous, sexy emoticon. Putting Our Song on in public, when no one else knows. Giving of himself to our child. To me, that’s romantic. In my books, the guys are human. Yes, they’re dishy, but sometimes they have a bit to learn, and they also have problems. They make mistakes. They also do wonderful things. Sweeping, unique things that are about who they are as people, rather than who they think they should be.
- Do you think women are oppressed (or abused) in romance books? What is the perfect female character for you?
Historically, there has been a kind of romance where women need to fawn over the Alpha male for the story to happen. This is 2018. I trust no one is writing that stuff anymore. Nowadays it’s more about women coping with the power they have, the many responsibilities, the difficult choices. Their relationships are about two individuals getting over their wounds from the past so love can win. My perfect female character is surprised by how amazing her life turns out, considering what she’s had to face, and crest, to get here! She’s her own hero. The guy is a catalyst. Love is great, but without self-love there can be no romance.
- When you write your novels do you write for pleasure or do you have a message hidden beneath the romance?
Writing is a pleasure, and it needs to read like that too: fun, easy, surprising, engaging, page-turning. But there are always messages in my work. I don’t put them there. They creep in all by themselves. I hope they are messages that encourage women to trust themselves and make their own magic.
- What is the heat level of your books?
High! They’re steamy, because it’s about passion, and for me that is not just sweet hand-holding. I’m not afraid of writing sex. It’s an integral part of how two people get close, and really get to know each other. I had a friend complain that my heroines are too sexually assertive! I just laughed. Come on! If you’re not asserting yourself, then what are you doing? Waiting for someone to read your mind? 🙂
- Why is the romance genre not taking off in Africa?
It is, actually. Ankara Press started in Nigeria, and now Cassava Republic has offices in London and New York. They sell e-books so that modern women the world over can enjoy African romance. You don’t need a fancy device to read their books. You can read, discreetly, on your mobile phone or PC. Plus, e-books are cheap. So, I think as women continue to empower themselves, they will reach for the kinds of books that reflect themselves in the most positive light.
- What is your favourite romance novel of all time and why?
I love Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes. Without wanting to give the story away, things are not what they seem in that novel. I never guessed what was really going on. And then, when the reveal came, it was so real, so gritty, that that scene will stay with me for life. Can you tell I’m a Marian Keyes fan? I’m busy working through all her books.
- What advice do you have for aspiring writers of romance out there?
Do it. Don’t stop. And enjoy! The rest will happen naturally. (Sounds like one of my love scenes!)
I have lots of encouragement for new writers on my Love Blog, especially the earlier posts: https://edenwalker.blog/
And do please connect with me:
Facebook: Eden Walker (Romance Writer) https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100017017429158