Frequently Asked Questions…

…about the books…

Is Maha based on your life?

The short answer is ‘no.’ Maha is a created fictitious character who reflects facets of everywoman/any woman who grew up in any kind of Chaarville during the apartheid era.

Why must you use bad language?

It is true – my characters sometimes speak with great vulgarity – more so in The Story of Maha, for the simple reason: Maha is an angry adolescent – adolescence and bad language is a pretty normal combination. If you choose to read carefully, Maha never uses such language inappropriately – her conversations with her grandparents for example, do not involve ‘bad words’ – except perhaps, in her mind.

My Writing Essentials

1. Working laptop
2. Paper and coloured pens
3. Mug of tea (and enough supplies to ensure a steady flow)
4. A playlist
5. A cat - preferably fat and vocal, one that doesn’t just clean his underbelly when an idea is thrown at him
6. Something to chew on – strawberry laces are my favourite

…about writing…

How did you get published?

I was fortunate enough to be runner-up in the inaugural Ronnie Govender Literary Award, and used this to pique publishers’ interest in the manuscript. In South Africa, it is still possible to submit manuscripts to publishers, directly.

I love writing, what should I do?

Well, the first thing you need to do, is keep reading – especially in the genre you like to write in. And keep writing – the difference between writers who get published, and those who don’t is the former don’t give up and don’t get too precious about their work. Unless you’re some kind of freaky genius, your first draft will be pretty far from perfect – if you’re unable to accept constructive feedback and unwilling to re-work large chunks, you may as well start investing in storage for all your perfect manuscripts

What do you wish someone had told you before starting out?

So many things… I wish I’d known that it’s a fact of writing that all first drafts are dire messes. That writing means rewriting and editing and more rewriting. Followed by more editing. Sarah Webb reckons the difference between published and unpublished authors is ‘bum glue’ – i.e sticking to ones seat and working at it. In short, the ABC of writing involves Attaching Bottom to Chair.