It’s been seven months since Mine hit the shelves and the promotion trail is slowly coming to an end. Time methinks, to share some recent highlights.
In August, I jetted off to Knysna for the Knysna Literary Festival Young Writers Awards Ceremony. I had a grand time chatting to the kids and generally being completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of amazing young writers in the audience. The day was all about celebrating these talented creatives and recognising their prize-winning stories.
I was asked by the organisers to talk about how I became a writer to inspire the kids to pursue their own writing journeys. I’m a big believer in destiny, and that stories that want to be told will be, so I hope these young writers continue to put pens to paper (or fingers to keyboards) and get their stories out into the world.
There were quite a few Garden Route schools in attendance including some primary school readers, which was hugely encouraging. There was plenty of talent and enthusiasm in the room. (If any of you reading this want me to send you some short stories suitable for younger readers please get in touch.)
Sasha and her team at the Knysna Literary Festival are doing amazing work promoting literacy in the region. I was incredibly lucky to see the fruits of all their hard work firsthand.
In August I also sent out a call for sponsors for what I called The Ultimate SA YA Book Box for charity. So, armed with generous book donations from NB Publishers and Cover 2 Cover Books and treats from Nomu, I set out to fill ten limited edition boxes with everything a reader could want: a book bag, stationary, treats, magnets, stickers, bookmarks, LEGO and lots of South African fiction.
All proceeds were given to the charity closest to my heart, Nazareth House. I also took some extra book boxes to Nazareth House myself for the kids in their care to enjoy.
Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to the contents or bought a box. This was such a rewarding project and definitely something I want to do again.
Finally, in September I participated in the Open Book Festival – one of the most electric literary events of the year. Once again, the festival featured a jam-packed programme with a stellar line-up of local and international authors. Well done Frankie and Mervyn for putting it all together so seamlessly. As always, I had a brilliant time.
My first panel was alongside the incredible Mariko Tamaki and Sam Beckbessinger (who I’m sharing a table of contents with next year in an amazeballs anthology – watch this space). We spoke about everything from collaboration and why we write for younger audiences to how awful high school is and the reasons I think Stephen King is actually a YA writer.
My second panel tackled one of my absolute favourite subjects ever – worldbuilding. I shared the stage with animators Ree Treweek and Kelly Dillon. We could have spoken for hours about character mapping, setting the scene and what you need to think about when creating new worlds.
Any writers reading this, take note:
Imagine your book as a movie or your protagonist as a character in a game. What do they see, hear, smell? Describe where they live, where they’re going, where they spend their time. Visualise the scene on your page so your reader can picture it clearly in their minds.
Worldbuilding isn’t only about creating vast maps, mythologies and languages like Tolkien did for The Lord of the Rings. It’s about creating the microcosm your characters inhabit. It’s their families, their friends, their viewpoint of life. It’s your character’s world brought to life.
I’d like to send a special shout-out to Allison and Ernst who came to find me after one of my Open Book panels to share their experience of my book. It means so much to me when readers come to chat with me and share their thoughts. You guys made my day.
My promotional activities may be over for the time being, but Mine is still out there in the world for purchase. I’ll keep my eyes open for new reviews and mentions and try and like and share every one. Thanks to everyone who has supported me over these last seven months. Without you guys, none of this would be possible.
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