“Cape of Good Hope” was released this month. Photo courtesy of Tate Publishing.
Margaret Zeitzew, a Redondo Beach resident and recently published author, never meant to move to California.
As a child growing up outside Rio, Brazil, she studied English and was fascinated by American life. She took a trip to the United States 28 years ago and never left.
After living in Los Angeles for a decade, she has now been a resident of Redondo Beach for 15 years. She spent most of her early years in California as a stay-at-home mother for her two girls, Sarah and Becky. In 2007, Zeitzew received her degree in Portuguese Literature from the University of California at Los Angeles.
“My mom and aunt are a writers back in Brazil,” she said. “I was inspired by Clarice Lispector, a Brazilian writer whose books I read at UCLA. She is doesn’t follow normal literary guidelines. I wanted to write like that.”
This month, Zeitzew’s published her first novel, “Cape of Good Hope,” a psychological thriller that combines the author’s spirituality and love for mysteries.
“I grew up reading Agatha Christie and Sidney Sheldon,” she said. “My dad loved those books, and I think that’s why I am drawn to thrillers.”
“Cape of Good Hope” centers around a young woman named Tetis. Naive and selfless, Tetis spends her early years catering to the needs of others. When she goes away to college, she finally falls in love but things quickly start to go wrong.
“He disappears and never comes back,” Zeitzew explains. “Meanwhile Tetis starts feeling threatened by those around her so she prays for strength to a transcendental being. Next day she wakes up with physical powers.”
The author, Margaret Zeitzew.
Zeitzew talks excitedly about her novel. She has to stop herself from saying too much; she doesn’t want to spoil the ending.
“Basically, she becomes a heroine,” said Zeitzew. “She is a symbol of power for women. She has to fight her own fragility.”
The author started writing “Cape of Good Hope in 2008 and completed it two years later. It’s a short novel, around 100 pages. She wanted to keep the story lean in order to hold the reader’s attention and maintain suspense.
In 2011, Tate Publishing offered to publish Zeitzew’s novel, but the fees were too much for her.
“Two years later, out of the blue, they contacted me and offered me a zero investment contract,” she said. “I couldn’t refuse.”
“Cape of Good Hope” was released on March 11. Zeitzew is receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from her family and friends who have read it.
“My book is mostly narrative with very little dialogue,” she said. “But the narrator is omniscient so it really gets into the psyche of the characters. And there is a strong theme of spirituality to it.”
Novels like “The Shack” by William Young inspired Zeitzew to incorporate her faith into her writing. She is drawn to mysticism and greater powers. In fact, she is already working on a second novel.
“My second story is about young teenage girls who find a magical little box,” said Zeitzew. “The box transports them to new places but it is as dangerous as it is magical.”
The author speculated about why her books are centered around young girls. Likely, it is because of her close relationship with her teenage daughters.
“Sarah is 15 and Becky is 12,” she said. “And we do everything together.”
Zeitzew has an aura of gratitude and contentment to her. Though she may not have intended to live in California, she is very much at home here now.
“I love my life and I love Redondo,” she said. “It is everything I want.”