Now for My Next Big Thing....
What is the working title of your book?
If Not For This
Where did the idea come from for the book?
This book is mostly motivated by guilt. It involves a couple who have survived the German genocide in Namibia and they are trying to make a new life in Botswana. The wife was a prisoner on Shark Island, a concentration camp at the coast. Some years ago my family camped at Shark Island. There are no signs to tell you what it was, that thousands of bodies are buried under your tent. I only realised what we’d done years later when a Namibian friend told me. I felt awful, complicit in some way. After that, things kept happening, I’d meet people, or I’d run across stories that kept pointing to me writing this book. But the beginning is the guilt that we didn’t know, that we were part of the attempt to forget.
What genre does your book fall under?
Literary, historical fiction, I hope.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
For the man, Idris Elba, mostly because I think he is fabulously hot, but also slightly tortured, as my lead man in the story is. I’m not sure about the woman. She needs to be a certain way, proud and beautiful, tough and damaged. Maybe Sophie Okonedo or Pam Grier, if she was a bit younger.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
How do two people find love and kindness again when all that they’ve been through taught them only evil and hate?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I hope to find an agent for this book, hopefully get it published off the continent.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I don’t know because I’ve barely started writing. I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching, I’m still researching actually but because the story refused to wait I’m writing a very rough draft at the same time. This is not my normal process at all. Almost everything about this book is not my normal process. It makes it quite exciting for me.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’d hate to even compare the book with anything for fear I’ll let people down which is likely, but my hope is to write a book in the same line as Memory of Love or Half of a Yellow Sun in the way that Chimamanda and Aminatta took historical events and showed the impact of those events on the personal lives of a few people. I feel history is made more real in an emotional way when it can be made personal, when it can be happening to people we know, not famous people in the midst of it, but just people who that was their life. This is my hope. I realise the shoes are very big.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Well, I’m primarily a good storyteller, not always the best writer. I’m trying my best to push my writing to a place it rarely goes. I’m attempting some experimental things with this book too. Without a doubt I’m punching above my weight class. So we’ll see how it goes.
And I'm passing The Next Big Thing onto South African based author Rachel Zadok and Texas based author and former mermaid, Helen Ginger. Here's what they have to say about their Next Big Things:
Exploring the themes of superstition and taboo, Sister-Sister is the story of twins, Thulisile and Sindisiwe Nxumalo. In childhood, the gregarious bright Thuli and her stuttering introverted twin, Sindi, are inseparable, but the arrival of an uncle they never knew they had sets into motion a course of events that will destroy their relationship and, eventually, their lives.
Sister-Sister will be published by Kwela next year in April.
Read all about Rachel's Next Big Thing- HERE next week on the 28th November! Don't worry I'll remind you.
Dismembering the Past is Helen's next book and here's how she describes it: The Texas Butcher has killed twelve women around the state, dismembering them and displaying the body pieces. He'll add three more in Mesquite Cove if the FBI and Hallie can't stop him -- unless he kills her first.
Read all about Helen's Next Big Thing Here.
Their posts will be up on the 28th November, don't worry I'll remind you.