My last blog post was in JULY!!! What is wrong with me? Did I get writer’s block? Did I become a recluse? Did I surf too much?
NOOOO, none of the above. (I don’t believe in writer’s block, I love ALL the friends and it’s impossible to surf too much.)
Instead, I was carried away on the crazy wonderful roller coaster ride of publishing a book; and then the marketing roadshow that goes along with it. Thank you all for buying/reading the book, supporting the launches, sending messages and generally being awesome.
My first stop since my last blog post was the Montagu Book Festival. I’d been to Montagu once before on a road trip and loved it, so I was really stoked to be invited to their wonderful Literary event. We were hosted at the beautiful Monte Vista Boutique Hotel My friend and publisher, Karina Szczurek of Karavan Press, interviewed me and as you can see below, we had fun.
Our next stop was in August at our Southern Suburbs launch of Shadow Flicker, hosted by Xpression On The Beach. XOTB are the lovelies who, when they taught me how to SUP surf, really taught me so much more.
It was epic to have the support of so many of you friends, wahines, writers, surfers and readers who came. You all made it such a memorable evening. We had fun catching up & discussing surf noir, windfarms, St Francis Bay, surf history and more with you all. I’m indebted to the ever kind, patient and wise Karina Szczurek of Karavan Press. Also a big thank you to Glen Thompson for his time, attentive reading of the text, for sharing his knowledge of surf history and for leading an insightful discussion. Thanks also to Gary van Rooyen and the crew at Xpression on The Beach for hosting us. As always the shop was aglow with its trademark warmth and vibe.
One rainy morning in September we headed down to the Fishhoek Library for their literary tea morning, where I spoke about Shadow Flicker and A Fractured Land, about strong women and overcoming fear.
I met so many interesting readers and writers at the event, it was real treat to be able to speak at their tea. (I have since gone back to attend a poetry reading!) We are so lucky that our local libraries in Cape Town are brimming with new books (and timeless classics) as well as knowledgeable staff. Take advantage of the resources at your local library, if you are not already!
Another highlight of September was the launch of the Hair anthology. I’ve always thought short stories were not my jam. I had no idea how to even start, but, as with most writing endeavours I discovered that you just have to sit down and write-think-edit on repeat. With a bit of encouragement and time at the desk, I rustled up a story for Short Story Day Africa at the end of 2018. It didn’t crack the nod for SSDA but the editors of Hair, Joanne Hichens and Karina Szczurek, picked it up and, wow. There it is among such excellent writers in the Hair Anthology. I am super proud of Spa Ritual, my first foray into short story writing and writing about beauty therapy… I was also so stoked to be included on the panel at Open Book. The Hair Anthology was recommended by the Sunday Times Book Club HERE and this is a link to a review on Goodreads
Okay, so now where are we? October? But not quite. On the 29th September Shadow Flicker was reviewed in the Sunday Times and I was so excited I showed all the women at the tills in the garage shop where I dashed off to buy the paper. They were probably slightly disturbed by my crazy Sunday morning bed hair. Then, in October, I was thrilled to read Nancy Richards’ review of Shadow Flicker in Country Life Magazine.
I was a busy bee all the way down to November and it did not stop there. The first weekend of the month was the World Cup Rugby final, (where were you watching?) as well as the Prince Albert Leesfees, a delightful literary festival in that quaint little Karoo town. First, we were enchanted by our guest house; then the wonderful people we met; then the food and service at the restaurants and pubs we discovered; and we were charmed by the old functional simplicity of small town things, like the leiwater system.
Then there was the excitement of Siya and the Springboks, we watched in the Swartberg Hotel bar and after that (and a Panado for a stress headache) it was time for our our panel discussion at the Leesfees. We met so many people with an interest in renewable energy and windfarms. Huge thank you to the organisers for including us and the wonderful company of my fellow writers, Dawn Garisch, Helen Moffett and Karina Szczurek.
Next stop and it was already December 2019. The year had flown by and it was time for some sunshine and surf in the Eastern Cape. On the 19th December I had the opportunity to speak about Shadow Flicker at the St Francis Brewing Company’s brew pub. The crew there were so kind and hospitable. I set a scene in Shadow Flicker at SFBC because it has great food, the beer and gin are amazing and all round the vibes are good. They have also just launched biodegradeable six pack rings to do their bit to preserve the health of our oceans. Huge thanks to all who came and to Linky and Lance for having me.
The best story of the night came from a relative of the brewery owner, who recognised my Dad from when he used to visit Kromme in the 50’s. It turns out she and he had a crush on each other. The relative asked that not only I, but also my Dad to sign her copy of Shadow Flicker!! That’s a first, but at least it had a romance-on-the-Kromme theme to match the book.
Finally, Shadow Flicker came home at the end of December, to the place that inspired it, the Kromme River. My parents first took me there when I was two years old. The area is so much a part of me, from the howling wind, to the cool swims in the river, the smell and sounds of the bush and the feel of hot dirt under my feet. It was fitting that the place that inspired the story became the setting to celebrate Shadow Flicker. A huge part of Kromme is the people, our Kromme family, the friends who have known me since those toddler years and also those with whom I have become acquainted as an adult. They turned out as a community, to bond, to listen, to share and to laugh. Thank you all so much, especially to Karen for helping me be organised and brave, and to Pamela, for popping in from afar.
Thank you all for an amazing whirlwind six months, while it’s been busy and crazy and exhausting, I’ve learned so much, been shown such kindness and I continue to be inspired by all your messages of encouragement, messages that tell me that the stories and characters in my books have touched your heart.
In conclusion if you have a minute, and I can ask one favour, could you hit me up with a review or a few stars on Goodreads? In the world of algorithms it makes such a huge difference, CLICK HERE to review or rate. Thank you