A Sealed Fate by Lisa Gordon

Today I’m pleased to welcome Lisa Gordon to Off the Page chatting about her new book A Sealed Fate.

An only child to a single Mum, Lisa was born and brought up in Johannesburg, South Africa. Despite a lifelong ambition to act, she enrolled at the University of the Witwatersrand to do a BCom Law. She later moved to UK, where she achieved a BSc Industrial Economics Hons Degree from Warwick. Still wanting to be a star – her Mum encouraged her to study ‘The Stars’ and Lisa became an Astrologer. Lisa worked on hospital radio for many year, before becomming a regular Astrology guest on BBC local radio. As an Astrologer Lisa was always asked by her clients to make black and white definitive predictions about their futures: this made Lisa ponder the role of fate in our lives and how much freewill we really had. Hence the plot for her philosophical thriller, ‘A Sealed Fate’ was born. Choice versus chance – which prevails?

Lisa wrote her book while also writing the ACA Chartered Accountants exams. She hopes to become a successful writer, not an accountant! Lisa is grateful to the wonderful support of both strangers and friends and their inspiration. Lisa is also grateful for having a ‘power-house’ Mum; who is her biggest supporter and best buddie.

1. Tell a little about yourself, what you do when you’re not writing, what are your aspirations for the future?
I often think I am pulled in 100 different directions as my interests are so varied and all consuming.  I love watching sports like cricket and rugby, although I will watch any sport and I enjoy playing tennis and swimming.  I love crafts, cooking and playing the piano; apart from cooking it’s a hard job finding time for all this.  I follow current affairs and politics as I think it’s vital to stay abreast of things when you write contemporary thrillers; inspiration is everywhere.  My aspirations are to keep writing and to finish my 3rd book and the four I have chasing about in my head.  I often get involved in campaigns for innocent people in prison, this is a hugely rewarding pursuit.
2. When and why did you start writing?
At school writing was actually my weakest subject and it was not until I was seventeen that my English teacher, Mrs Worth noticed that I had talent and gave me some really good advice; advice I still follow today. A great teacher really can make a difference and Mrs Worth was one of those gifted teachers who made a difference to so many of our lives. However, I never considered writing as a career choice until at 30, during a mini mid life crisis, that I had a psychic reading where the psychic told me that I must write as it was what she saw for me. I have always been an avid emailer and pen-friend – as we used to call it in the 80’s, you never hear that word anymore do you – so I certainly fancied giving it a go. As an only child I spent most of my time by myself and so developing characters in my imagination and creating a fantasy world was second nature.  My first book was written on a film set: yes it’s true where I lived at the time was built on the old MGM Studios at Elstree where Dr Zhivago; Star Wars, The Shining, The Dirty Dozen etc were filmed.
3. If you could only read one book over and over again for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
It has to be War and Peace or maybe I should say The Bible – I am not very religious, but the Bible is probably the most quoted book ever and so it may be a good thing to try and get the measure of it and see what it really does say and not just what people tell you it says.
4. Give us some back story about A Sealed Fate, where and when did you write it?
I started to write A SEALED FATE at age 30, right after the psychic reading.  I was working as an astrologer at the time.  I had studied law, then economics for my degree, but I took a serious left turn and became an astrologer at age 23, however nothing really clicked for me. I bumbled along until one day crisis hit – I turned 30! Suddenly I realised that I was nowhere, my belief that all would work out magically without any major planning on my behalf had lead me a merry dance;and while all my friends seemed to have it all sussed career wise and family wise, my life was a basket case. It really made me question my beliefs and wonder if there really IS a plan or a destiny for us all, or whether it’s all down to free choice and our own strategic planning.  This became the driving theme for A SEALED FATE.
5. What inspired your story?
The strange twists and turns of my own life and my own constant querying over whether I had a destiny or a fate and what the heck that destiny actually was, inspired the theme of my novel.   As an Astrologer I was always asked my my cients to give definitive answers as to the when’s, why’s , how’s etc of their futures.  I often felt like some kind of human sat-nat giving them the directions to Mr Right, Dream Career and Lucky Location.  Astrology is about self development and guidance rather than some spiritual quick fix; freewill plays a huge role and that was something my clients had to be reminded of.  I began to ponder precisely how big a role freewill plays in our lives as opposed to fate and this is something I explore via my novel.
It’s important to realise that life is a great mystery and that is part of the fun; you never know when things are going to change and when the best part of your life is going to begin. Writing a book was something I never expected to try and yet it is now my greatest love and my greatest achievement.

6. What was your favorite part of A Sealed Fate to write?
The climax – but saying any more would be telling wouldn’t it?
I also loved writing the first chapters where I create my characters and set the whole story up.

7. Your book’s going to be made into a movie, who would you cast in the main roles?
Mmmm terrific question.  Valda would have to be Angelina Jolie or Melissa George.  Brett would be Adam Rayner.  Richard would be Hugh Grant or Robery Emmanuel.

8. Are you a Pantser or Plotter? Why?
LOL!  Bit of both.  You cannot be a complete Pantser when you write thrillers as things have to add up in order to have believability and logic.  However a novel is not all nuts and bolts, it has to have verve and that is where being a bit of a Pantser comes in very handy.  I find my plot develops as I begin to write; I never plot first; I create characters first and then the plot appears to me.
9. Do you have any tricks to your trade, bottomless coffee, a magic pen, a special muse?
Sometimes great ideas come to me when I am listening to Queen or Bon Jovi full blast on my headphones at two in the morning.  Music, I learned in Astrology is best way to access the spiritual realm and I do find music puts me in touch with another part of me, a higher self. Other times via daydreaming and often a news item or anecdote I hear sparks an idea. If I can develop it in my head over a few days and visualize the characters; then I get excited and think; this could be a great story.
10. If you could be any fictional character for a day, who would it be and why?
Gosh, this is actually a very tricky question. I’d have to say Indiana Jones as I do love a good old mystery and some adventure. 

“One often meets his destiny in the path he takes to avoid it.”
To escape the pain of failed relationships and careers, both Valda and Larissa take themselves to Dubai seeking not only success, but a reason and purpose in life. Valda does indeed find success and to her astonishment love, but all is threatened when she is introduced to a billionaire Sheikh. Her clandestine relationship with the Sheikh, propels her into a murky web of deceit, and she turns to Larissa for help. As an astrologer, Larissa predicts that Valda and the Sheikh s destinies were sealed from the moment of their first meeting; however, she keeps the dire fate that she reads in the charts a secret. Valda knows she is in deep, the Sheikh is an omniscient character and not an inch of Dubai seems shielded from his glare. Someone has her back however as she receives cryptic warning messages posted to her. Life as the Sheikh’s personal courier is filled with perils – will it be he or the law who end this relationship. Together, Valda and Larissa take a gamble in a game of cosmic Russian Roulette where the stakes are their lives and their adversary, Fate itself. This pacey, thriller has a spiritual theme which bravely merges genres and embraces with sensitivity personal relationships underlying the theme of choice versus chance. Upbeat and contemporary in style, A Sealed Fate features an eclectic mix of characters awash with local colour.


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