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.

Here’s a closer look at the front and back. I adore the flamingoes on the back. Anyone who drives past the Liesbeek River will be familiar with them.

Here’s the rundown on the book itself:

A keen observer of human behaviour, Nathan has never cared about fitting in, but when Olivia asks for his help becoming popular, he can’t refuse. But as she is swept into a world of gossip and bullying, they must both question what they really want. A story about friendship and falling in love.

The Girl Who Chased Otters was previously published in Germany under Zwei Herzen Im Goldfishglas.

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!)

If you missed the chat, you can catch up by watching the live recording on YouTube. My personal highlight is when Zelda does a short reading from the book.

This weekend I will be taking part in the inaugural SA Festival of Children’s Literature. The whole festival is taking place digitally and is 100% free! Please join me for my 12:30 session on Sunday if you can.

Stay tuned for more news and upcoming events. I promise to blog more often.

Something new for 2021 (updated)

It’s been a while since my last post. I don’t know about you, but after a year in lockdown and worrying about vaccine availability, the last thing on my mind was updating my website.

I do have a little bit of news to share. My fourth novel, Sharp Edges, is now available in Afrikaans from Lapa as Skerwe. I am thrilled with the translation by Zelda Bezuidenhout and even more so with the amazing neon cover by Megan Bird.

What do you guys think?

The English version won the M.E.R. Prize for Best Youth Novel in 2014.

Get it now:

Takealot
Graffiti Books
Exclusive Books

On the subject of Afrikaans books, I have another Afrikaans story (a short story) included in Die Meisie Met Uitroeptekens In Haar Oë & Ander Stories hitting shelves in June this year. The anthology features well-known local authors like Jaco Jacobs, Zelda Bezuidenhout, Refiloe Moahloli, Cliffordene Norton, and Mercy Kannemeyer.

Here’s the cover:

Pre-order it here.

Update: 27 July 2021

Since posting this blog there has been an avalanche of covers and updates including the covers for The Girl Who Chased Otters and Going Wild, so I thought I’d put them together in a little video.

How To Support Local This Christmas

It’s been an insane year, most of it spent under strict lockdown conditions. Local businesses took a huge knock with many small enterprises only managing to hold on.

The local book industry was one of the many sectors hit. If you look past the bigger publishing houses and chain bookstores you’ll see a wide network of independent bookshops, small publishers, authors, freelance designers, editors and proofreaders, and bright young people just starting out their career.

It’s a sector characterised by passionate, creative, and visionary people who devote their lives to promoting local literature and artists.

So now that restrictions have been lifted and everyone is readying for a safe and sunny festive season, please consider spending your spare Rands and cents (if you can) on helping the small businesses who keep the industry alive.

Here are a couple of ways you can help.

Karavan press titles

Support a Small Publisher

South Africa is pulsing with small presses doing exciting things. What makes these businesses even more special is that they are run by some truly amazing people who really care about growing South African talent.

Here are a few, off the top of my head. Let me know if I missed anyone.

Female-led Karavan Press, Modjaji Books, and Blackbird Books produce excellent books by some of the best new voices that definitely deserve a place under the tree.

uHlanga Press and Dryad Press produce award-winning poetry collections – perfect for that weekend off.

And for the younger members of the family, Cover2Cover Books and New Africa Books have an excellent selection of proudly South African children’s books available.

Visit an Indie Bookstore

In every city across the country you’ll find an independent bookstore that not only puts local titles in pride of place, but are great places to just hang out and browse.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but some of my personal favourites include The Book Lounge, Kalk Bay Books, Clarke’s Bookshop, Love Books, Blank Books, and Bridge Books.

Pop me a message if you’d like to see your favourite bookshop listed.

Image source: Book Dash

Donate to a Great Initiative

The local book industry has its fair share of heroes doing amazing work.

Book Dash pulls together some of the country’s brightest creative talent to produce stunning illustrated children’s books. You can download every single book for free, but you can also purchase them at selected outlets. Donate to this incredible project here.

Short Story Day Africa is an organisation dedicated to promoting African fiction. Every year the project runs a short story competition that results in an award-winning anthology of stories by writers from across the continent. Many have gone on to achieve great acclaim. You can help SSDA continue their great work by donating here.  

2020 South African YA titles

Buy a Book by a Local Author

For South African writers, it was a terrible year to release a book. For safety reasons all events, launches and tours were cancelled, and all promotion had to take place online. Getting the word out is crucial for sales, and providing a much-needed income to everyone involved.

Here is a small selection of some local titles published this year that I’m looking forward to reading (including a sneaky plug of my own book. Shhh.)

Again, this is not an exhaustive list. You can also visit your local bookstore for their favourite recommendations.

Fiction
A Family Affair – Sue Nyathi
An engrossing look at a family with their fair share of secrets.

Paradise in Gaza – Niq Mhlongo
A city man returns to his village for what he hopes is a short visit… until his son disappears.

Critical but Stable – Angela Makholwa
An elite club full of rich, glitzy couples – all with their own secrets and motives.

The Fall – Jen Thorpe
A diverse cast of characters, high stakes, an alternative Cape Town and the very future at stake.

The Gospel According to Wanda B. Lazarus – Lynn Joffe
What if … the Wandering Jew … was a woman? This book comes recommended by Stephen Fry!

Mermaid Fillet – Mia Arderne
Magical realism meets crime noir in this colorfully re-imagined Cape Town. I can’t wait to read this one.

Charlotte – Helen Moffett (I LOVED this one. Read my review here.)
A look at what happened to Charlotte Lucas after she married Mr. Collins.

Non-fiction
Death and the After Parties – Joanne Hichens
A memoir about grief and friendship, by one of South Africa’s most loved crime writers.

Young adult
Brandejaer – Joha van Dyke
A young surfer with secrets, a girl who wants to unravel them.

Wêreld van wolwe 1 – Fanie Viljoen
Book one in a new fantasy series set in a small town where werewolves are real.

Sea Star Summer – Sally Partridge
A holiday love story set in one of South Africa’s most beautiful beach destinations.

If you’re still reading, thanks for your time. I hope you’ll consider a local gift this year. You’re sure to end up on Santa’s Nice List if you do, and even if you’ve outgrown the jolly old man, you’re definitely putting a smile on someone’s face.

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.
Continue reading “Mine: seven months since publication”

Last few weeks to order the Ultimate SA YA Book Box

To celebrate my birthday and the six-month anniversary of Mine being on the shelves, I’ve put together a curated collection of South African YA books.
Continue reading “Last few weeks to order the Ultimate SA YA Book Box”

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.

Continue reading “Mine update: five months since publication”

LEGO book review: Snitch 2

Sometimes book bloggers come across books by accident. This weekend I flew up to Jo’burg for the Kingsmead Book Fair. On the flight home, my companion, who happened to be the youth books publicist for NB, had a nap, leaving an upcoming YA title poking out the magazine sleeve in front of her. It was too tempting to resist.

Continue reading “LEGO book review: Snitch 2”