I’ve always had a romantic fantasy that has nothing to do with the plot of romance novel. Rather it’s a fantasy of living the life of a successful romance novelist. Some may call it visualisation, I call it day dreaming.
In this fantasy, I live in an apartment building in Sea Point, as serene and glorious as an ocean liner immured in the blue mountains of Cape Town. Of course, I live in a penthouse – you probably saw it on last week’s Top Billing.
In the morning, I wake up and have a fruit smoothie, hook into my iPod and take off for a long run on Ocean Drive. In this fantasy, I’m not only a wealthy novelist but I have a fab body – you probably saw it on last month’s Men’s Health. When I get back to my pad, my assistant Sebastian – I’ve already decided he’s a geeky/cute UCT English Major and works three mornings a week – has ordered in breakfast.
Over frothy cappuccinos and chocolate croissants, we discuss my social itinerary for the week. I get invited to every thing these days, so it’s important to be selective of what parties, galleries and openings I attend. After that, I have a shower and decide what to wear to my meeting with my accountant.
The accountant meets me at a trendy cafe, he’s a very serious sort of chap, and discusses my latest royalty statements. He advises some off-shore investments as a tax break and I nod sagely from behind my Ray-Bans. After that, I take an executive car to my publishers’ office. It’s such a chore but they want to show me the mock-ups of the covers of my latest bestseller. I have control over all the art work, so I have to be there. You’ve probably seen the latest one displayed in a Perspex holder above a mini-mountain of my books at Exclusive Books.
With the afternoon done and dusted, it’s time to have a long nap in my Top Billing bedroom – sleep mask, dolphin music on the background, silk pyjamas. In the evening, I attend a Veuve Cliquot launch, crammed with yummy finger foods and delicious celebrities. Of course, everyone wants to know if I met Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson on set when they were filming the big screen version of my last book. I’m not the type to drop names, so I just smile demurely and sip champagne.
It’s late when I get home, but of course it’s never too late for my fans – so I spend an hour or two responding to the endless emails from fans from across the world. In between, I confirm with my travel agent. Off to Spain in two weeks and then a quick shopping trip in London. I must say, I’m exhausted by the time I get to bed...
Of course the only thing I don’t do in this fantasy is write – because that’s the hard part. If you’re writing, you know what I mean. There’s no glamour in the actual graft of trying to get a book down: it’s hard, bum-numbing, sweaty work and nobody really cares if you do it or not. And whether you’re writing in a penthouse or a coffee shop in the mall, it still takes the same amount of work, the same hours, the same frustration and occasional joy. And when things are not going well, I conjure up this fantasy life. Sometimes it gets me through the bleak patches.