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Interview with Helene Louiesa Mynhardt

Q.1 Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
A. On GoodReads, I ranked as the 3rd best book reviewer in South Africa. I was awarded the top LitPick award.

Q.2 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
A. My autobiography is written as a trilogy. The first 2 parts have been published. The third and final part will be published in 2019.

Q.3 Where do you get your ideas?
A. My daughter transferred to a U.S. school in California, and their prescribed book was written by a South African author: Athol Fugard, “Master Harold and the boys”. They had to write essays for or against the book, and that gave me an idea of writing my autobiography that may help readers to become critical thinkers.

Q.4 What advice do you have for writers?
A. If at first, you do not succeed. Do not give up. Try and try again. My work was rejected by one of the major publishers in the world. That did not discourage me. I realized that everybody is different, and I found another publisher. My royalties are not taken by a big publisher; it comes to me.

Q.5  Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
A. Like some reviewers said I am not really an author. I remind them of their grandmothers who told them stories while they sat on their laps. My story is unique, and I want to tell it as simple and truthful as possible to be understood by the most basic person without huge vocabulary.

Q. 6 If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?
A. If only I was financially able, I should have started writing at the tender age of twelve when I presented my first novel. Although, it was unaffordable back then, at least I still pursued my dream and succeeded.

Q.7  What are the most important magazines or websites for writers to subscribe to?
A. The White Review, GoodReads, Barnes and Noble, and Lulu. 

Q.8  What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
A. My writing is story-telling, and I relay the story, and openly and honestly as possible. I do not pay too much attention to characters, except telling my story about that particular person.

Q.9  How do you select the names of your characters?
A. Since it is non-fiction, the names are their actual names.

Q.10  Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
A. I realize that we cannot please all the readers all the time. Therefore, I take the negative reviews in the spirit it is given. One reader gave a poor rating because she did not like the fact that I wrote about myself in the third person.

The good reviewers enter into a conversation with me. That made me realize that things that I take for granted are different in the rest of the world. Customary or traditional marriages are not experienced in other parts of the world, and ante-nuptial marriage agreements are unknown in some parts of the world. In my second edition, I will explain it more clearly.

Q.11  Does your family support your career as a writer?
A. Absolutely, my husband took care of the business while I was promoting my books. My daughters bought my books and excitedly wrote reviews on Amazon, and their reviews were denied. This is strange because I would assume that your immediate family would be rooting for you.

Q.12 What do your fans mean to you?
A. Without them, my writing would have no meaning. I really appreciate it when reviewers or fans question something I wrote in the book. That proves to me that they take notice of every word in the book. I thank them for their support. Without their support, I would not be an author.

Q.13 How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
A. I have written two books, and I really cannot choose between them because each one is about a different stage in my life. I feel that the third one will be positive with a good ending.

Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
A. Once I start writing I just cannot stop. Storytelling is my line of writing.

Q.15 What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
A. Having started my own business in 1998. That business is still running.

Q.16 What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
A. I am a novice author with very little experience and cannot answer this question.

Q.17 Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
A. Reach Publishers. Their price was reasonable, and they do not withhold any fees as royalties. Authors have to do their own marketing, and as far as I am concerned this was a good deal. I selected them after being rejected by Penguin Publishers.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A. Nelson Mandela for his freedom fighting ability and sacrifice made to free South Africa from apartheid.

Q.19 What is your favorite book and why?
A. Long walk to Freedom; Nelson Mandela’s biography.

Q. 20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
A. It has been a roller coaster ride. One day I am positive about potential reviews. The next day I realize how difficult it is to get reviewers to review my work. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that a novice author will never be able to make money from selling their books. I write for my books to be appreciated and do not mind offering it for free. My second book was written to create financial debt awareness. If I can achieve that, my mission would be accomplished.

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