Roundup of recent events

It’s been a fun few weeks promoting my eighth novel, The Witches of Hogsback. I recently returned from a whirlwind trip to Johannesburg to attend the Kingsmead Book Fair. I was originally going to talk about how to write a crime novel, but my final topic was much more delicious – The Midnight Hour, covering our ongoing fascination with all things dark and spooky. I was joined by one of the college’s English teachers, Louisa, suitably attired in crescent moon earrings and a snake ring, and together we covered a range of subjects including the origins of Wicca, Hermione Granger’s suitability as a witch, the bad PR witches got from the Romans, the Brothers Grimm, and Disney, as well what makes small towns like Hogsback perfect for spooky crime stories.

The Witches of Hogsback is a whodunnit set among the mountains and forests of Hogsback in the Eastern Cape. The location has such a spooky, magical atmosphere, especially in autumn when all the trees turn red and the forest seems to swallow everything. Its easy to imagine witches and ghosts in those forests, especially at night when the samango monkeys bark unseen from the trees.

In my version of Hogsback, everyone has a secret, and the witches who inhabit the forest make the perfect scapegoats for when things go wrong.

I also drove out to Franschhoek for Bridge House School’s Book Week, which coincided with the Franschhoek Literary Festival. I had a great chat with grades 4-6 about the stories they like to read and then all the seniors at the school assembly. Not scary at all.

Thankfully, some of the students had just completed a hiking trip of their own (like the kids in The Witches of Hogsback) so I could riff off of that to lighten the mood.

I always take heaps of books with me to give away, and always stick around for a while to chat to anyone who has questions. For me, that’s always where the value of these visits lie. Everyone has a story inside them, and sometimes all it takes is a little encouragement to tell it.

Thank you to both Kingsmead College and Bridge House for having me.

Next up, I have a few Exclusive Books events which promise to be fun. Watch this space for an update, which I will post as soon as I know more.

Read an excerpt from Sea Star Summer

I just received the best Friday surprise. The Sunday Times Books section has chosen an excerpt from Sea Star Summer for their Fiction Friday segment!

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Mine: seven months since publication

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.
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LEGO book review: King of Ashes

Firstly, let me just say this is a blinder of a book.

The last time I tackled a major fantasy saga was in my teens, so I was quite excited to get stuck into this one. I was sent a copy of this beast to read in preparation for my Q&A with Raymond E Feist at his Exclusive Books launch in Cape Town. (Thank you Jonathan Ball!)

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Mine update: five months since publication

My fifth novel, Mine, has been on the shelves for five months exactly (it was published to coincide with Valentine’s Day.) It’s a love story set in Cape Town, but I was totally unprepared for how much love it has received from readers.

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Book your place at an unforgettable evening

I’ve been to my fair share of literary dinners. The recipe is simple: good food, good wine, good company. You can’t go wrong. Plus, guests always have one topic of conversation in mind: books!
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Mine launched in Cape Town

It’s been a giddy week, full of wonderful messages of support from readers. Mine has been out for a few weeks and reviews are starting to appear online. I absolutely adore the amazing book posts on Instagram. But I’ll do a blog about that soon.
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Notes from my Open Book Short Story Workshop

I hosted a workshop on short story writing at this year’s Open Book Festival. Some of the greatest writers in the world are known for their short stories – Edgar Allen Poe, Ernest Hemingway, Franz Kafka, Nadine Gordimer – and South Africa is home to some of the best.

I love short stories, writing and reading them, and wanted to share some tips for aspiring writers.

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