So, I’ve been hit by the process blog tour with a little more force than may have been necessary. Suzanne Egerton, Vic Oldham, and Penelope Grey have all decided to gang up on me, so I guess I should just get down to it and answer the questions…
What am I working on? I’m currently completing my research for The Chameleon. Which will be published by Bold Strokes Books, I hope late in 2015, but publication date is to be confirmed.
The Chameleon is the story of Amhale Zuma and Imogen Frost; they are multiracial childhood friends in a South Africa driven by fear and separated by hate when children are colour blind and the eyes of the world were watching as Apartheid began to crumble. Separated by tragedy many years laterthe girls find themselves reunited as Imogen returns to South Africa to find a world different than the one she remembers and where she is expected to pick up her estranged father’s reigns and run the family vineyard, nestled in the valley of the Western Cape at the foot of Table Mountain. Betrayal, confusion, and uncertainty make uncomfortable bedfellows as she tries to navigate the difficult path before her whilst Amhale finds herself drawn into family conflicts with far reaching consequences for them both.
How does my work differ from others in the same genre?I find myself drawn to situations with heightened emotional conflict that is impacted upon by sociopolitical events. Apartheid particularly was a big draw for me as I spent a portion of my childhood growing up in South Africa. I saw the inequality and segregation from the inside, and it has affected me much more deeply than I ever imagined it would. It is probably one of the main reasons I’m drawn to writing the stories I do and in the locales that I choose.
Why do I write what I do? Lol. Maybe I should have read these questions before I dove in. One of the reasons I’ve already stated above but another is much more fundamental for me. Books have helped pull me through some of the darkest points of my life giving me something I sorely needed. Some of the most influential to me have come from the most unexpected of places. I read The Clan Of The Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel when I was seventeen and my parents were divorcing. I was angry, scared, realizing I was gay, and I didn’t know where to turn or what to do. I was trying to bottle everything up and be strong. I read a line in that book. Just one line. ‘Crying doesn’t make you weak, it just makes life a little easier to bear.’ That one sentence allowed me to open up and cry for the first time. None of us know what the future will bring. If one day a simple sentence that I’ve written can bring one person a little light in the darkness…that’s why I write.
4. How does my writing process work? I’m a planner. Biiiiiiiiiiiiig planner. I have a huge poster sized diagram of a story arc up on the wall in my study. When I complete my research I outline each chapter–briefly–on a sticky note and put it on the appropriate part of my arc, different coloured depending on who’s point of view the chapter will be written from. OCD, right? I know, but it helps me keep all the plot lines, characters, and places straight in my head. I also prepare cards on all my characters–with pictures–places that are important to the story—with pictures–and specific research notes of importance. Also with pictures if appropriate. Once my board and cards are complete I start writing the chapters. I write quickly when I start writing, around three weeks from start to finish.
So, now I get to pass this little meme along to the next victim…I mean, writer to have a go at. Eeny meeny, miney, mo, who’s turn is it for a go…I’m gonna tag…Kathy Knowles and Yvonne Heidt. Have fun, ladies!