Happy with creating and playing with new characters, Nadine Rose Larter was always passionate about words, and has now published her first book, Coffee at Little Angels, with another one on the way. Apart from novel writing she also writes poetry and runs her website The Katalina Playroom while residing with her family on the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
Bonnie: Your story Coffee at Little Angels (my review) is character driven, what process do you have when it comes to getting to know your characters?
Nadine Rose Larter: You know when it comes to characters I think you might start out thinking you’re in control but very soon you realize that your characters have minds and quirks of their own. There is a lot of instinct involved when it comes to characters and I do think it is just best to follow those instincts. It might seem insane that these people just arrive on your pages knowing exactly who they are, but as soon as you try to manipulate their personalities away from what your instincts are telling you things go wrong. I find it’s best to just let them play out as they want to.
Bonnie: In what way have things gone wrong when you’ve tried to manipulate your characters?
Nadine Rose Larter: I don’t think things necessarily go wrong in the “manipulation” process so much as they just simply don’t go right. You might want to make your character one way, and then keep getting very frustrated when your character insists on being another way. I have learnt to let go of the frustration and let my characters boss me around. This of course is not easy for me considering my severe control issues 😉
Bonnie: Coffee at Little Angels, besides a couple of areas alluding to location, can give the feel of being anywhere in the world, is this something you set out to achieve?
Nadine Rose Larter: I did specifically set out to achieve a bit of a generic feel in this book. I think as you grow older you start to realize that you are not as weird as you initially thought and as soon as you start admitting how you feel about things (no matter how insane those feelings might seem) you learn that there will always be people who understand those feelings. I wanted people to be able to relate to the book, so I left out a lot of specifics.
Bonnie: Do you think being less specific in CALA, apart from being related to geographically, was also a way to help readers understand the processes of grief?
Nadine Rose Larter: I can’t say I set out to achieve that, though it might be more impressive to say that I did. I imagine that if you read Coffee at Little Angels and understand the emotional aspects of it, it has a lot more to do with the fact that humans are relatively similar when it comes to things like grief and it has little to do with me being clever at what I do! I simply asked myself questions. How would I feel if it was me? How did I feel when I found myself in a similar situation? How might I feel if I was someone else? I removed (or at least did not include) the time and space aspects so that the focus would be directed towards the heart of the people.
Bonnie: You grew up in a small town situated in a place that sounds quite similar to your story, would you say CALA shares several similar elements to your real life?
Nadine Rose Larter: It definitely shares similar elements but many of those elements are exaggerated greatly. It certainly helped that I grew up in a small place because I think I understand small-town-ness more than the average person would.
Bonnie: You’re on GoodReads and, like so many GR users, I noticed you’re taking part in the GR Reading Challenge. How are you finding the challenge?
Nadine Rose Larter: Goodreads is toxic! Wow! I have been reading like a demon. There’s something about GR that just constantly reminds you how wonderful books are and it makes you pro-active about it. That sounds crazy – I’m a writer and I already know that books are wonderful! But, I don’t know, there’s something exciting about sharing what you’re reading and learning about new books that other people are enjoying. As a reader I am absolutely LOVING Goodreads. As a writer I am starting to forget how to write because I’ve been reading too much 😉
Bonnie: What would be the highlights with books you’ve read this year?
Nadine Rose Larter: Gosh! Book highlights! Wow it’s kind of hard to answer that question. For me the most exciting book-related highlights for this year would definitely have to be meeting Tracy Engelbrecht and Peter Church. Both are South African authors with mountains of talent and discovering their work was really exciting. I don’t think SA writers really get the support or the recognition they deserve. It seems that if we aren’t writing dreadful politically driven novels then we must simply be prepared to suffer invisibility. Tracy’s book was incredible. A definite must-read with a relevant message. I thought it was great. And Peter Church’s novels are just brilliant. I LOVE crime fiction and it is definitely my indulgence genre, so finding a South African author who writes it so well was just awesome. I was also lucky enough to have him at one of my book launches last week and that was SO FRIGGEN COOL!!!!
Bonnie: Are you able to share with readers what future projects you have in store?
Nadine Rose Larter: I am currently working on a novel called The Tequila Thursday Writing Club and I am hoping to have it done by late next year. I am also working on two children’s books as well as a poetry/photography compilation with a bunch of friends.
Thanks goes to Nadine for a wonderful interview, it’s been a pleasure to quiz her and to read her book, which you can grab a copy of at the following websites;
Nadine has also generously put forward several eBook copies of Coffee at Little Angels, which we will be giving away very soon. If you want to be in to get a free copy make sure you stay tuned! You can get direct updates via Facebook, RSS, and subscribing in the side panel.