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An Interview with Author Anita Louise Jay

Jay 1

Writer. Qualified Speech, Drama, and Dance Teacher.

Active member of West Coast Writers’ Circle, Cape Town.

Short stories published on and in various online and print magazines. Poetry published in anthologies and journals.



Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

My English teacher in Primary School encouraged creative writing in class. One day we were asked to write a poem. I wrote a poem about fairies. It was marked as excellent, and was mounted and displayed on the classroom wall. At the time I was 6 years old. I have been writing ever since. I think this demonstrates what a positive influence a good teacher can have on his/her students.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

I wanted to write a character-driven story about a child who overcomes all her youthful difficulties, of abandonment, racial prejudice and autism, to succeed in life. A character with whom people could identify. I hoped it would encourage young people struggling with similar problems to know that there may be light at the end of the darkness. I want the youth to understand how important it is to connect and support one another. I also added a little romance, mysticism and mystery to the mix. (I know a little about the problems connected with autism, as I have an autistic grandchild.)

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

It came to me as inspiration, when I was writing the passage about the attack on Thandi by the foreign guest. Of course, my heroine is the very antithesis of ‘Black Dirt’.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

‘Colours of the Wind’ because it is a beautiful song about connectedness and the preservation of our natural environment.

Describe your dream book cover.

A young African girl of mixed race standing beneath an acacia tree against a background of the Karoo at sunset.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I have worked as a tour guide at a travel agency, a personal assistant, a realtor, and a creative designer.

What books did you read (for research or comfort) throughout your writing process?

I read prolifically at all times. I don’t think there is any one specific book that has influenced my writing.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I hope readers take away a sense of hope for the future. Also, that they are left ‘wondering’ about the various possibilities, due to the mystery at my story’s conclusion. I have already written a sequel. I believe readers of all ages from young adults upwards could enjoy this story.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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