Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Introducing .... Elaine Pillay

Elaine and I first 'met' online through the New Voices contest. She is a member of the ROSA Yahoo group, and I recently had the pleasure of meeting her in person in Cape Town.

* * * 

All my life I’ve wanted to write. I remember being fifteen and reading my first Penny Jordan book. She became my Romance Writing Goddess whose altar I worshipped at regularly. I secretly feasted on her books and developed a ferocious appetite for all books romantic, and a dream was born.

I remember working as a secretary while I paid for my degree. I would, unbeknown to my bosses, write stories of dark, sexy heroes and heroines trembling with desire, and print pages of fantasies. Of course, I never submitted them but the dream lived on.

I remember getting my degree and moving to Joburg from Durban to work as a Teacher. I had it all mapped out, I would Teach in the day and write at night and the holidays, my, that would certainly help.

Boy, was I wrong. I had no time!

Whenever a child disobeyed an instruction, I would wish that I could stay at home and write or that a submission would be accepted. I would silently pray to the Universe about how I was meant for better things, of how I was meant to be a Writer. So the dream lived on.

I met a guy, he was wonderful. He listened to me dream about my dream. He read my countless pages of man meets woman and laughed. He asked questions, “Why did you choose that title? Do women really want that kind of man?”

He entertained my dream and it became his dream for me, so much so that he asked me to take some time off, stay home and chase it.

But the weight of rejection was too heavy to bear as depression set in and self-doubt grew in leaps and bounds.
Maybe, I was never meant for this.

Then, on my birthday, I woke up and read Anthony Ehlers' blog post, “Do You Remember Your First Time?.” And I remembered the dream that was born at fifteen.

I remembered, writing my first romance short story, as my Matric Prelims Creative Writing Exam. My Teacher, a single woman and an avid romance reader, who had never previously paid attention to me, spoke to me. Really spoke to me.
“I loved your story,” she said.
She looked satisfied and dreamy which surprised me as she was always aloof and strict. For the first time that year, she really looked at me, as though, she was looking for where the story had come from.

And now, I realise that I need to look too, inside me because that is where my stories come from and that is where my dream lives. So I will dust off the cobwebs of rejection and find that romantic beacon that beats with a heart so strong. I hope that you will find yours too because we were born for this.

* * *

If you would like to join ROSA, please email either myself or Amanda (email addresses below) or leave a comment below with your email address and we'll contact you. The Yahoo group, where we provide moral support, and exchange news and ideas can be found at:


  1. Elaine, what a great story. Keep chasing the dream, and keep submitting. The more you submit, the less you feel about rejection!
    Do what you love, and love what you do!
    Gina x

  2. What a beautiful story of self-discovery, Elaine. Definitely, dreams are meant to be conquered! :)

  3. Elaine! Reading your intro is like reading a character questionnaire for a heroine in the next romance novel! And it deserves a happy ending!

    Never let go of your dream! Every step you take towards it will get you closer until you've reached your goal!

  4. Wow, Elaine! I'm sure your books are wonderful by the sounds of your bio. I sincerely hope you clinch that contract soon!