Can you believe it’s Friday again?
And halfway through the first month of the year.
Today, we’re chatting to a South African author who is actually an ex-pat from her beloved England, Anna Jensen. Anna wrote two of the books in our In All Things boxed set, and it’s a pleasure to interview her today. I think we’ll take her first book first—Musings from an African Garden.
Shirl: Welcome Anna! Great to have you with us today.
Anna: Thank you Shirley. I’m always happy for a chance to talk about my writing, and especially this boxed set, which has been a real treat for us all.
Shirl: I was very grateful when you offered to do a second book for this set, bringing our numbers up to thirteen books (3 months). One of the first things I noticed was that the two themes were linked. What motivated you to choose two approaches to one theme?
Anna: I chose to write about gardens, not because I am a great gardener (I’m not!), but because I love being in gardens. I especially like curated public gardens that have been designed for a specific purpose, allowing musings to take place in various hidden away corners. I find all gardens to be places of tranquillity, perfect for spending time in quiet contemplation with my Father. Hence the first of the two is called Musings from an African Garden.
A musing is, according to the dictionary, ‘a period of reflection or thought’. I want my readers to muse with me as we look around seven of my favourite African gardens. I’d love them to discover with me the delights of quiet contemplation, to catch glimpses of the Creator God in every leaf and flow.Anna Jensen gives us some insight into her book, Musings from an African Garden, part of the In All Things boxed set available on Amazon. Click To Tweet
Choosing Seven Gardens
Shirl: You had to produce seven chapters based on musings on African gardens. Were all seven easy to find? Or was there one (or more) that caused you to struggle? Why?
Anna: I have been to so many gardens through the years that it was quite fun deciding which ones I wanted to highlight for my readers. Once I had decided which gardens I would focus on, it became quite easy to write about each of them. I have fond memories of being in each of the gardens I presented, and each had its own story to tell.
Working on the book
Shirl: Each book was short. How long would you say it took you to write the first draft of this one? And from start to completely done?
Anna: I aimed to take no more than a couple of days for each chapter before forwarding it to a friend who would then read it and give me feedback. Then of course came the editing process which took quite a bit longer.
Shirl: What was the best thing for you about the whole process?
Anna: I enjoyed having a specific writing goal to work towards, and working toward a deadline. Working on my own, it can be easy to allow myself to take as long as I feel like over a project, but working as part of a team helped keep me accountable.
Shirl: And the toughest?
Anna: (Laughing) Perhaps the thing I enjoyed most was also the toughest! The need to be disciplined is always a challenge!
Shirl: Have you ever participated in a boxed set or any other multi-author project before? If so, how did this one compare with the others?
Anna: I have had a couple of stories accepted in another multi-author project recently (Beneath the Mask, currently available in paperback on Amazon) but I haven’t been so involved ‘behind the scenes’ with that one. I was quite involved with this set and I enjoyed that.
Shirl: I have heard from so many people, and indeed experienced it myself, that the year 2020 has been an incredibly long year. I thought I had achieved nothing, and yet when I sat down to make a list, I was astonished. Things I thought had happened at least a year before were actually part of this year. Did you also experience this?
Anna: Yes, most definitely. We were talking about it as a family just the other day. I suppose it is because pre-COVID life is so different to living with-COVID that it is almost impossible to consider the two things as having been in the same year. A bit like going on holiday to a place with a completely different culture – it feels as if you’ve been there for ages when it’s actually been just a few days! Although of course with COVID it’s been months!
Listening to the Author of Musings
Shirl: Thank you again, Anna. I’d like to end this short chat by listening to your lovely English voice reading a short introduction to Musings from an African Garden.
Other authors in the set already interviewed:
Shirley Corder – 7 African Animals
Sunrise to Sunset- – Deryn van der Tang
What God Wants – Ashley Winter
Inspired to Worship – Ann Goodfellow
Steps of Faith – Crystal Warren
Life is Good – Yvonne Tippins
Promises to Cherish – Vida Li Sik
Saints in Lockdown – Val Waldeck
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Dear Reader: Now you share with us. What is your favourite type of garden?
How do you feel about the concept of Musings in a garden?
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It’s been lovely working with you, Anna. And so wonderful to listen to you read your musings aloud in your beautiful accent!
Isn’t it a gorgeous accent, Ashley! I loved it too.
I can relate to Anna when it comes to loving gardens but not being a great gardener myself. I loved her musings about different gardens—great job!
LOL! Yep, Vida. I hear you. I’m not just “not a great gardener” the plants see me coming and die before I get to them!
Anna really spoke to my heart too with her Musings and the contemlative appproach she took. My favorite garden which I found quiet recently was a Franciscan Monastary Garden in Pennsylvania, where I could feel the garden was soaked in prayer. Beatutiful!
How lovely. That sounds amazing. Thanks for the visit, Deryn.
It was so great working alongside you and Shirley behind the scenes with this set, Anna. And I loved reading this interview.
We both appreciated your input as well, Marion. It was a good time all round, hi?
Thank you for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts and experiences with the writing of Musings from an African Garden
Thanks so much for all your hard work and for your insight into African gardens, Anna!