I moved from Durban to Cape Town as a single woman, and the experience of living alone in one of the most beautiful cities in South Africa inspired my novel, The Blog Affair. A lot of the situations in the novel are based on things that really happened to me. For instance, when I arrived in Cape Town, I decided it would be nice to join a tour of the city, as I wanted to explore all the sites without having to find them by myself.
Like my main character, Emma Bradshaw, I don’t have a particularly good sense of direction. So I phoned up a tour company and booked myself on a tour. The tour operator told me that they picked up tourists from their hotels, so I asked them to pick me up from a hotel in Sea Point. I drove there from my house in the suburbs, only to discover to my horror that I was the only person on the tour that day. My hope of fading into the background, while enjoying the tourist sites came crashing down and I spent the whole day having to talk to the tour guide who was old enough to be my father. I felt self-conscious as it looked as if I was on some sort of date with a man thirty years my senior. I slotted this scene into my book as it was great comedic material, although it didn’t feel so at the time!The Cape dating scene also gave me lots of interesting fodder for my book, and I soon realised that it would be an ideal location to set a chick lit novel. In The Blog Affair twenty-something Emma has a pattern of falling for unsuitable men and writes a blog about these so-called “serial datists”. When an anonymous male reader of Emma’s blog challenges her on her ideas about men, Emma realises she must confront her past before love can blossom again in her future.
I’m excited about the format of the book which combines blogs and instant messaging, and illustrates how technology has changed the way we communicate with each other. On the one hand, social media is a very open platform where people often reveal intimate details of their lives. There is also a more secretive side to online communication, however, where people can post their innermost thoughts anonymously. It was exciting to examine this brave new world in which we are living and to create a fun story centred on it.
AUTHOR BIO:Alissa Baxter was born in South Africa, and grew up with her nose in a book on a poultry and cattle farm. After school and university, where she majored in Political Science and French, she published her first novel, The Dashing Debutante. Alissa travelled to London, England, and did an odd assortment of jobs while researching her second novel, Lord Fenmore’s Wager, which she wrote after she moved back to South Africa and settled in Durban. Alissa then relocated to Cape Town where she wrote her third novel, Send and Receive, before moving to Johannesburg, where she currently lives with her husband and son.
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Good Reads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1146980.Alissa_Baxter