Thursday 15 August 2013

Twenty Questions with... Natasha Hardy

I am delighted to welcome Natasha Hardy onto my blog today, author of Water, which is being released tomorrow from Carina (Harlequin UK).

If you've been following me for a while, you'll have noticed that the bulk of my guests are either British, American, or Australian. But not today - oh no siree - I have Natasha here on a whistle-stop visit from South Africa to take part in a round of twenty questions.

ACT ONE – all about you…

Natasha Hardy began writing when the adventure of her life had turned dark and gloomy, as all adventures must at some point, if they are to be classified as a true adventure.  It was in the depths of the winter of her adventure that she found a way, through writing, to escape into the sun. 

Like most escapes it turned into an adventure all of its own, where characters have their own problems to solve, albeit far more complex problems involving mythical creatures that aren’t meant to exist, and expect far more than they reasonably should.

Her escapes, for there are many still to come, are sparked by the adventures she has had in the wildly beautiful South African bush, seasoned with the true stories of the explorers who make up her ancestry, and woven through with the intrigue, and sometimes sheer madness, of living in Africa.

She now spends most of her time-happily- in a world of words, and the rest trying to keep up with her part time rock star, full time doctor husband and their two gorgeously mischievous little boys.  

1) Have you always been a writer or is it something you fell into?

Not in the book sense of the word. I previously did a lot of writing as a marketing executive for a credit insurer- press releases, magazines etc. Writing stories is very different and I love it!

2) Do you have a particular writing style or ritual?

I like to write where there is lots of sunshine and fresh air and preferably garden.

3) Is there a book or an author that has influenced you in your writing?

Yes, Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight was my first introduction to fantasy, my previous reading being murder mystery or romance and the odd biography. I fell in love with the genre and the style and the ability of the book to transport me to a completely different world.

4) Is there one piece of writing (or life?) advice that has stuck with you, or that you would like to share?

Our former president Madiba quoted this once and it never fails to inspire me.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

5) Can you tell us three things about yourself that we probably don’t already know?

One of my other hobbies is playing drums

I have had the privilege of meeting with and talking to Mr. Nelson Mandela in person (he is as amazing in person as he seems!)

I have been stalked by lions, charged by several elephants and a rhino and dived –sans cage- with sharks. (for anyone wondering none of this happened in my back garden but in a game reserve- I only mention it because I have been asked if I have lions in my back garden by a tourist before *blush on their behalf*)

6) What five luxury items or gadgets would you hate to be without?

My P.C.

My dongle (which is what we call our external model internet connection thingies- )


My blitzer

My phone

ACT TWO – all about your new release…

Surrender to the power of the water…

Alex knows she is different. She’s plagued by nightmares that feel shockingly real and an intense restlessness she cannot explain. As the long hot summer holidays stretch before her, Alex seeks out adventure in the rugged mountains of Injisuthi. But during a camping trip to the mystic jade pools, Alex meets Merrick, a boy who tells her the shocking truth about herself, and Alex’s nightmare is about to become reality. Because Alex is no ordinary teenager…she is a half-mermaid and her adventures are only just beginning.

7) Congratulations on your recent release of Water, what was your inspiration for writing Alex's story?

Water was inspired by a camping trip I went on when I was about ten, in Injisuthi, which was a relatively wild part of the Drakenberg (a range of mountains the name of which means Dragons Peak). On the trip we discovered the most incredible natural rock pools of ice cold water, turquoise blue at the edges and midnight in the middle.

8) Did the story flow from your finger tips or did some scenes take a bit of cajoling?

I wrote Water as an escape for myself, so it flowed really easily because I was the only one who was ever going to read it- or so I thought.

9) I see Water is your debut, how long did it take for the initial spark of the story to make it onto the page and then onto the publisher’s desk?

Three years.

10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence from your story that you would like to tantalise us with?

“Coming up for air I floated on my back, relishing the cool water and weightlessness it offered, at peace for the first time in years. I’d drifted to the middle of the pool watching Josh and Luke taking turns to see who could stand under the force of the waterfall the longest, when something long and slippery slithered around my ankle.”

11) Over to you, what can you tell us about Water, to make us rush out and buy it?

Water is a tantalising mixture of adventure, romance and intrigue in which mysterious mythical creatures desperately await the arrival of a seemingly ordinary girl. They have been waiting for her for three years because she is the only one who can save them.

12) What can we expect from you next? Is there something you are working on right now?

Yes I am working on the sequel to Water.

QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…

13) Plotter or pantser?


14) Secret Seven or Famous Five? (please tell me you know them!?)

Yes and will have to go with Secret Seven

15) Digital books or print books?


16) Tea or coffee?


17) Cats or dogs?


18) Extrovert or introvert?

Extrovert most of the time

19) Save or spend?


20) Facebook or Twitter?


And that’s a wrap!

Thank you so much for taking part, Natasha, I wish you every success with your new release.

To discover even more about Natasha Hardy and to keep up with her latest projects, you can visit her at:

Blog/Website     Facebook     Twitter

Buy it now…

Add to Goodreads
Out tomorrow!
ISBN: 978-1-4720-1807-6




We’d been running for days. The children were exhausted and I was worried that we’d lose some of them if they didn’t rest soon.

I still seethed at the betrayal. How could they?

The fathers of some of these precious little ones who were so trusting and so young!

Slavery at that age would mean they’d never really remember freedom, which of course was what the slave traders wanted. If a person couldn’t remember freedom then freedom was not something they’d long for, not something they’d fight for. They would be happy with their lot in life, content to live as animals, owned creatures.

I didn’t have the energy left to expend on fruitless anger. Anger that I could do nothing with because we were in a hopeless situation and should I have the opportunity to confront these monsters my worst fears would be realised, and all would be lost.

We’d crossed the river sometime around midnight when the moon was directly above us and I was pushing to get to the dark slash of forest that signalled a vague hope of rescue.

Vellamo, love of my life, had promised to meet us there with as many men as he could find from neighbouring tribes. My heart twisted, as the bile rose in my throat, at the certainty of the battle that would follow. The tribe that pursued us was renowned for their ruthlessness. No one left alive unless they wanted them for darker purposes.

“Almost there,” I whispered to some of the women beside me. One of the small babies cried pitifully as its mother shushed it urgently, trying to keep it quiet, and all of us safe.

My heart began to pound with fear as we approached the forest. Our tribe didn’t venture into the forests of these mountains. There was ancient magic here that was not friendly to the mere mortals that lived on its door step.

A rustle in the trees ahead froze every muscle in my body, as I crouched, spear in hand, ready to fight whatever revealed itself as best I could.

A warbling whistle filled me with relief as I recognised our tribe’s greeting. He was here, Vellamo, he’d kept his word. My body trembled with exhaustion as he stepped out of the shadows along with some of the other tribal leaders I’d been hoping would come.

He was so beautiful in that moment, tall, lithe and strong. I was only too happy when he led our little band of vulnerable women, children and babies into the shelter of the mountain.

As we picked our way through the shadowed valley over boulders and around the icy stream I was surprised to hear the rustle and whispered voices. Instantly my senses were on high alert.

This was not part of the plan.

I daringly brushed Vellamo’s arm, challenging his decision with a questioning expression meant only for him to see. Insubordination of this nature was not well tolerated in our tribe, and I was afraid to offend him.

“They are the families of the other tribe’s men, Sabine. They are also worried about the safety of their families.”

I thought this over carefully. It made sense that if the men had agreed to leave their villages to protect us, they would be concerned about the safety of their loved ones too.

Regardless, the logic didn’t completely wash away my anxiety.

I was all too aware how power could corrupt, having watched the chief of our village agree to sell the women and children in exchange for more grazing land and power, women and children, some of whom were his own daughters and grandchildren.

We rounded a corner and I stopped short, my heart in my mouth.

We were at a complete dead end, a massive waterfall in front of us, falling in a white froth into an inky pool.

One entrance.

One exit.

I looked up at Vellamo again, struggling not to question his authority, struggling to follow him into what appeared to me to be the worst possible position. I didn’t touch him, but he must have felt my hesitance, and surprisingly wasn’t offended by my concern.

“This will allow us to defend you more easily without worrying about them coming around from the back.”

His voice was firm but his eyes gentle as he took my hand and led me and the other weary travellers into the perfect trap.

Chapter One

Brent’s happy freckled face laughed at me as he raced me to the pool. I laughed a delighted giggle from deep within my belly as I flung myself from the edge of the pool and into the water, a few moments after him.

I didn’t hit the water as I’d expected.

The air pummelled out of my lungs as the water closed over my head in a viscous bubble that seemed too thick to be water. It moved over my skin in sickening silky threads, pushing me deeper and deeper.

Brent seemed to move in slow motion above me through the dappled light, the splashing of his arms and legs as he swam creating a halo of bubbles around him.

I was out of air. The surface may as well have been a million miles away, because I couldn’t move to get to it.

Pain seared up the sides of my head, so intense everything around me faded in colour. I screamed, the last of my oxygen bubbling to the surface, as the pain intensified to unbearable.

And then with a sharp jolt, it was gone.


  1. Hi Natasha and of course Aurelia.

    I greatly admire Madiba and would love to meet him soon. I always remember the year I was 21, because he was 21 years in captivity at that time.

    I wish you every success with the book and look forward to reading it sometime soon.

    1. BTW when I said I'd love to meet Madiba soon, my meaning was that because of his advanced age, it might not be possible to meet him after a while, not that I move in his circle, LOL.


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