Notes from the Paula Hawkins masterclass

The marvellous Fiona Melrose has put together a series of courses and workshops that draw on her own wealth of knowledge, as well as those of special guest authors and members of the publishing industry. I signed up for the Craft Masterclass with Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl On The Train, Into the Water and A Slow Fire Burning. 

I needed a bit of a motivational boost and this class seemed just the thing to do it, and it was.

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My Book Dash storybook is free to download

Last year I signed up to participate in Book Dash, a 12-hour book making marathon featuring teams of writers, editors, illustrators, and designers gathered together to create brand new relevant children’s books for young South African readers. The books are free to download and print, and are distributed for free to kids across the country.

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What to read of mine in 2022

It’s a new year of …. much the same really. I’ll be the first to admit that getting back to (the new) “normal” has been extremely difficult. Sometimes it feels like the rest of the world has switched off their panic button, but mine seems to be stuck in place. But I hope to panic less and to write more this year. And most importantly, to live. The world just has to stop being so scary. 

Last year was quite a productive one, with both English and Afrikaans novels and several short stories hitting shelves. So far this year I have one novel out and one short story coming soon. 

The Girl Who Chased Otters is out at bookstores now. The story is about a boy who befriends a girl and neither of their lives are ever the same again. It’s a slice of life tale about being young and feeling different in contemporary Cape Town.

Buy it now:
Exclusive Books
Takealot
Raru

Next month I have a short story out in Please Like What You See and other stories. Mine is the title story, about a girl obsessed with social media. Having just taken a break from Instagram myself, I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to just live to live, not just for a picture’s sake. The anthology also features stories by Pamela Newham, Nerine Dorman, Toby Bennett, Dumisani Hlatswayo, Ekow Duker, Cicely van Straten, Edyth Bulbring, Fred Khumalo, and others.

Please Like What You See and other stories will be published in February.

If you would like to review a copy of The Girl Who Chased Otters or request an interview, please get in touch. I would love to hear from you and get the word out about my books. 

LEGO book review: Blood to Poison

Seventeen-year-old Savannah is angry, its an anger that has travelled through her family as a curse – a curse she is determined to lift. But blood curses are nearly impossible to break, and in her quest to discover the answers, Savannah finds herself in the middle of a war between rival factions of witches. Blood to Poison is Mary Watson’s third magical young adult novel (YA) with Bloomsbury, and it’s just as immersive and wonderful, with just a lick of darkness to set it apart.

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LEGO Book Review: Confessions of a Ginger Pudding

Any South African reader will tell you that Zelda Bezuidenhout is a huge deal in the local young adult scene. Her books are extremely popular and she has a huge following. So naturally, I was ecstatic when she was chosen to translate my novel Sharp Edges into Afrikaans. Skerwe was released earlier this year and I get a thrill every time I see both our names on the cover.

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Where To Eat In Jeffrey’s Bay

I am back in my favourite beach town, this time during the coldest part of winter in the middle of a global pandemic. Sounds like a terrible idea right? Thankfully I’m now fully vaccinated, its the first time I’ve left the house in months, and I never go anywhere unmasked. Most importantly, after three disastrous attempts to eat at restaurants in Cape Town during the last year I have officially given up eating out till this virus is officially obliterated from this planet.

But that doesn’t mean a girl can’t order in right?

There are several restaurants in Jeffrey’s Bay I always return to. In fact, some of the food is so good these eateries often become my first stop. Here are some of my must-visits, even during adverse conditions.

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Cover reveal time!

How exciting for an otherwise dull Monday. As soon as I saw the email I shouted a little ‘woohoo’ for myself.

This is the cover for my upcoming novel The Girl Who Chased Otters, which is being published by Modjaji and will hopefully hit shelves in September. It was illustrated by artist Carla Kreuser. The cover scene features characters Nathan and Olivia hanging out at Kirstenbosch Gardens – one of my most favourite places on earth. I love how it fits in with the Modjaji style – soulful and dreamlike, and distinctly local in flavour.

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Recent and upcoming events

It’s been a wild recent few weeks…. months. I’ve been mad busy with work, upcoming projects, other projects, life… But it hasn’t just been all work, work, work. In between the craziness I’ve attended a few digital events.

Recently, I had the best time discussing my novel Skerwe with the ladies from Boekemakranka and author Zelda Bezuidenhout. It was my first time meeting Zelda, who translated the novel into Afrikaans. We got on so well we might be cooking up something special soon. (Watch this space!)

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Lockdown diary

I’m not quite sure how many days it’s been. Many. More than a year for sure. The country isn’t under strict lockdown anymore, but with so many falling ill and vaccines still a way away, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

My partner and I both work from home. We’re very lucky – many can’t. My team are amazing, and we get along great (a rarity in offices let me tell you). We chat and laugh and send each other GIFs to keep the morale up. When you’re busy it’s easy to forget that you’re stuck at home. After work there’s cooking and chores, followed by Netflix or Minecraft. Now that winter is settling in, I think reading in bed is in order. I want to order all the Grisha books after binging Shadow and Bone on Netflix. I loved, loved, loved it. The alternating storylines weaved together expertly, and the characterisation and dialogue were just superb!

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