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Read a Q&A with bestselling author, Lucinda Riley

Published in the Sunday Times

Lucinda Riley, author of The Moon Sister. Author pic supplied.

 
One book our world leaders should read?

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. It’s a slim volume which is perfect for someone who doesn’t have time to read anything cover to cover. It’s interfaith, exquisitely written and full of wisdom. It might help remind our world leaders of their humanity.

Do you keep a diary?

I kept a daily diary between the ages of 13 and 18; parts of it are hilarious, others tragic. No-one has read it but me, and I’d be horrified if it fell into the wrong hands.

Who is your favourite fictional hero?

Jay Gatsby. I’ve been in love with him since I was 17 and first read The Great Gatsby. It was the most romantic book I’d ever read – at that age, every young woman wants to be loved so completely the way Gatsby loves Daisy. As I’ve grown older, I’ve seen it as the dark side of obsessive love.

You’re hosting a literary dinner with three writers. Who’s invited?

F Scott Fitzgerald – he’s both an obsession and an inspiration. As a writer, I’m fascinated by the way an author’s life feeds into their writing, and Fitzgerald’s relationship with his wife, Zelda, formed the basis for The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night. Charles Dickens, because he was a wonderful storyteller and a jobbing writer with a large family to feed, like me. He wrote A Christmas Carol in six weeks because he needed the money. And JK Rowling because, despite her success and wealth, she continues to write.

What novel would you give to children to introduce them to literature?

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis.

What is the last thing you read that made you cry?

Rather sadly, it was the last book I wrote – The Butterfly Room. Given that I never plan books before I write them, I’m as shocked and horrified as the reader when something tragic happens.

Is there a type of book you never read?

Anything about serial killers and grim murders. I read before I go to sleep and the last thing I want is to have my head filled with those kind of pictures. For me, reading is all about escapism.

What is your most treasured book?

When I received my first big advance, I bought myself a first edition copy of Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh.

How do you select characters’ names?

I have a clutch of favourite names, so much so that when I got to the end of The Butterfly Room, I had to change the name of a major character because I’d used it so many times before.

A character you could be best friends with?

Ruth from Elly Griffiths’s Dr Ruth Galloway series. She’s a forensic archaeologist and a single mother who spends her life getting into scrapes, both personal and professional. She’s so real and warm and lives in an idyllic cottage just down the road from me. I’d love to pop round for a glass of wine at the end of a stressful day and talk old bones and kids.

The Moon Sister by Lucinda Riley is published by Macmillan, R290.

Book details

"My work wasn't ever going to be to make the reader feel comfortable" - Máire Fisher discusses her latest novel with Tiah Beautement

Published in the Sunday Times

The Enumerations ****
Máire Fisher, Umuzi, R280

Máire Fisher has followed her successful debut novel, Birdseye, with the polished The Enumerations.

The story explores 17-year-old Noah Groome, who has obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and how he impacts his family, friends and the people he encounters in rehab after a school bully pushes him too far.

The most impressive aspect of this novel is its structure; a fast-paced collage of the various storylines.

These short, punchy sections show a kaleidoscope of the anxious minds of Noah and his family, echoing how it can feel to have OCD and live around it.

“My work wasn’t ever going to be to make the reader feel comfortable,” Fisher admits. But what an interesting ride she has created.

Readers will cheer for Noah as they develop sympathy for the unsympathetic, and take delight in minor characters, including the fabulous and bold Willa, who Noah meets in rehab.

However, the true heroine is Noah’s little sister Maddie, who is both a warrior and friend to her brother.

Fisher explains: “She knows what her job is: to be – and remain – a happy, sunshine child. That places a large burden on young shoulders.”

A book of this complex nature, both in subject matter and structure, required heavy research along with many drafts: “First person, third person, past tense, present tense … poor old Noah has been through so many incarnations,” says Fisher.

Yet the finished product reads smoothly, creating an experience and an empathy that lingers. @ms_tiahmarie

Book details

Barbara Kingsolver evokes the anxiety of living through social turmoil, writes Michele Magwood

Unsheltered ****
Barbara Kingsolver, Faber & Faber, R295


Barbara Kingsolver rages against tyranny while writing about ordinary life.
Picture: David Wood

There is a marvellous tableau early on in Barbara Kingsolver’s new novel Unsheltered.

It is 1871 in small-town New Jersey and a young science teacher, Thatcher Greenwood, is visiting his next door neighbour. He thinks she is sitting demurely at her desk, prim and unmoving, until he realises she is patiently feeding her finger to a Venus flytrap.

The neighbour is a fictionalised Mary Treat, the American botanist and entomologist who studied carnivorous plants and who corresponded with Charles Darwin. She is the ideal Kingsolver heroine: a barricade-breaching, society-scorning, way ahead-of-her-time woman, and a scientist to boot.

The town, Vineland, exists to this day. It was built in the 1800s as a utopian experiment, a teetotal haven for free thinkers and spiritualists, but the idealism quickly eroded. Greenwood is close to being run out of town for teaching Darwinism to his pupils, and the community’s prissy and elaborate manners disguise a vicious bigotry.

Kingsolver divides the novel into two narratives 150 years apart and centres them in Thatcher’s house.

The book opens in 2016, when 50-something journalist Willa Knox inherits the collapsing homestead.

It’s evident from the get-go that Willa’s life is threatening to collapse too. She has been made redundant from her magazine editorship and must now try and scrape a living in the online world of listicles and gobbets, her deep dive investigations no longer in demand.

Her academic husband, Ianno, has lost tenure at the university where he was professor and has been forced to take a temporary teaching position at a second-rate college.

Upstairs in the house, Ianno’s emphysemic and uninsured father sucks on his oxygen tank, fuelling himself for racist and right-wing diatribes. Their bristly daughter Tig has returned home from a heartbreak in Cuba and is railing at the world, a shrill Cassandra warning of catastrophe ahead for humankind.

Personal catastrophe strikes faster: the wife of their Harvard-educated but unemployed son Zeke commits suicide and they have no choice but to take in his infant son.

Willa and Ianno have worked hard and made sacrifices all their lives but now as retirement looms they realise that it has counted for nothing.

“How could two hardworking people do everything right in life and arrive in their fifties essentially destitute?” Willa thinks.

When she learns that their crumbling house might be of historical value, and therefore eligible for a grant, she heads for the town’s archives.

It is here that she unearths the characters of Mary Treat and Thatcher Greenwood. They were never lovers, only scholarly friends, but by alternating their story with Willa’s, Kingsolver is able to unfurl her themes.

Although he is never named, Donald Trump looms over the story and Kingsolver’s fury at him and all he stands for saturates her writing.

She has always been a campaigning writer but here she sails worryingly – and at times wearyingly – close to polemical lecturing, using her characters as vessels to rage at the state of the world.

Capitalism, globalism, wastefulness, failing healthcare, iniquitous student loans, white nationalism, stagnant wages and so on, all are aired.

“Today’s problems can’t be solved by today’s people,” Tig warns her mother, “we’re overdrawn at the bank, at the level of our species.”

But Kingsolver is too good a storyteller to lose us completely.

She powerfully evokes the anxiety of living through times of social turmoil, in the here and now, and in the 1880s. The alternating stories echo each other over the decades.

Mary Treat comments on the furore around Darwin’s theory: “When men fear the loss of what they know, they will follow any tyrant who promises to restore the old order.”

There are many ways in which we are unsheltered, physically and emotionally, but she reminds us to take comfort in one another. She reminds us, too, that we have adapted before and we will adapt again. @michelemagwood

Book details

Inskrywings is oop vir LAPA se 2019 jeugromankompetisie!

LAPA hou weer ’n jeugromankompetisie.

Hierdie gewilde kompetisie het al groot name getrek, soos Fanie Viljoen (Afkop), Marita van der Vyfer (Al wat ek weet), Jan Vermeulen (Asem), Nanette van Rooyen (Ek was hier) en Carina Diedericks-Hugo (Permanente ink). Nuwe stemme, soos Zelda Bezuidenhout (As mens geluk kon proe) is ook in hierdie kompetisie ontdek.

Die kompetisie se prysgeld beloop R50 000! Die eerste prys is R25 000, tweede is R15 000 en derde is R10 000. Selfs skrywers wat nie in die top drie eindig nie, staan steeds ’n kans om gepubliseer te word.

LAPA nooi graag alle skrywers en voornemende skrywers uit om deel te neem aan hierdie geleentheid om die stories, wat in jou kop wemel, die lig te laat sien.

Inskrywings sluit die 31ste Oktober 2019. Besoek www.lapa.co.za vir meer inligting.

Kompetisiereëls
* Die verhaal moet in Afrikaans geskryf wees, en gemik op lesers tussen 12 en 18 jaar oud. Die voorgeskrewe lengte is 30 000 tot 70 000 woorde.
* Alle inskrywings moet die deelnemer se oorspronklike, ongepubliseerde werk wees.
* Deelnemers gee aan LAPA die eerste opsie om enige van die inskrywings te publiseer. Geen ingeskrewe verhaal mag elders voorgelê word of wees vir moontlike publikasie nie. LAPA sal ná afloop van die kompetisie skriftelik met alle deelnemers in verbinding tree om te bevestig of hul verhale gepubliseer word al dan nie.
* Die prysgeld is as volg:
Eerste prys: R25 000
Tweede prys: R15 000
Derde prys: R10 000

* Die beoordelaars se beslissing is finaal en geen korrespondensie sal daaroor gevoer word nie. Indien die gehalte van die inskrywings nie na die beoordelaars en LAPA Uitgewers se mening voldoende is nie, word die reg voorbehou om geen pryse toe te ken nie.

* Die volgende inligting moet op die heel eerste bladsy van die voorlegging verskyn en enige inskrywing kan gediskwalifiseer word indien dit nie daarop verskyn nie:
• Die skrywer se naam en van
• Titel van die manuskrip
• Lengte (aantal woorde) van manuskrip
• E-posadres
• Telefoonnommer

*Indien daar onder skuilnaam geskryf word, moet die skrywer se volle naam en van ook op die heel eerste bladsy van die manuskrip aangebring word.

*Die deelnemer se naam, of skuilnaam, moet op die eerste bladsy verskyn, maar dit mag nêrens elders op die manuskrip verskyn nie. Sou dit iewers anders verskyn, kan die manuskrip summier gediskwalifiseer word.

* Inskrywings moet op genommerde A4-bladsye getik wees, slegs aan een kant van die bladsy, in dubbelspasiëring en in ’n maklik leesbare lettertipe (soos Arial of Times New Roman).
* Die sluitingsdatum vir inskrywings is 31 Oktober 2019. Geen laat inskrywings sal aanvaar word nie.
* Wenners sal in Januarie 2020 bekendgemaak word.
* Werknemers van die ATKV en LAPA Uitgewers mag nie deelneem nie.
* LAPA Uitgewers aanvaar geen aanspreeklikheid vir verlore manuskripte nie. Dit is altyd raadsaam om ’n afskrif van ’n manuskrip te hou.
* Deur in te skryf onderneem jy dat jy al die reëls gelees en aanvaar het.
* Inskrywings kan op drie maniere voorgelê word.

• Per e-pos: stuur dit aan kompetisie@lapa.co.za met JEUGROMANKOMPETISIE en jou manuskrip se naam as onderwerp.
• Per koerier: Stuur dit aan LAPA Uitgewers, Jeugromankompetisie, Bosmanstraat 380, Pretoria, 0002
• Die posdiens is uiters onbetroubaar en baie stadig, maar voorleggings kan ook gestuur word aan: LAPA Uitgewers, Jeugromankompetisie, Posbus 123, Pretoria, 0001

Boekbesonderhede

Afkop

Afkop deur Fanie Viljoen
EAN: 9780799372885
Spoor hierdie boek met BOOK Finder op!

 
 
 
 
Al wat ek weet

Al wat ek weet deur Marita Van der Vyver
EAN: 9780799378993
Spoor hierdie boek met BOOK Finder op!

 
 
 
 
Asem

Asem deur Jan Vermeulen
EAN: 9780799379037
Spoor hierdie boek met BOOK Finder op!

 
 
 
 
Permanente ink

Permanente ink deur Carina Diedericks-Hugo
EAN: 9780799354836
Spoor hierdie boek met BOOK Finder op!

 
 
 
 
As mens geluk kon proe

As mens geluk kon proe deur Zelda Bezuidenhout
EAN: 9780799389470
Spoor hierdie boek met BOOK Finder op!

Launch: Plus One by Vanessa Raphaely (29 November)

‘Outside, in the road, behind what looks like some hastily erected barricades, I see a crowd.’

Television cameras. Lights. Paparazzi. Press photographers.

They’ve materialised out of nowhere. What looks like over a hundred locals and tourists are peering into every car leaving this area. Crowding against the car doors, pushing cameras up against the windows. Jostling. Screaming. Shouting. In all my anxiety, hard- nosed journalist that I’m not, during the hours spent shifting around in the plastic seat in the waiting room I had somehow not understood the enormity of this story.’

As deputy editor of the glamorous FILLE magazine in London, Lisa Lassiter had almost passed up the chance of a weekend on a billionaire’s yacht off the coast of Mykonos.

But her best friend Claudia Hemmingway, on her way to becoming one of the hottest movie stars on the planet, could be very persuasive when she wanted something.

Not only would they get there by private jet, she’d told Lisa, they would also get to rub shoulders with VIP guests – not least a famous Hollywood film producer. It would be a weekend of fun, sunshine, champagne and partying. And it was all of those things. Until it wasn’t.

Lisa has spent ten years trying to get past that weekend. If she has learnt anything, it is that unfinished business and secrets always work their way to the surface. Moving on is one thing; forgetting is another, and forgiving … well, where to start?

Event Details

Listen: Vanessa Raphaely discusses Plus One on SmileFM's Tea Time with Bailey


 

‘Outside, in the road, behind what looks like some hastily erected barricades, I see a crowd.’

Television cameras. Lights. Paparazzi. Press photographers.

They’ve materialised out of nowhere. What looks like over a hundred locals and tourists are peering into every car leaving this area. Crowding against the car doors, pushing cameras up against the windows. Jostling. Screaming. Shouting. In all my anxiety, hard- nosed journalist that I’m not, during the hours spent shifting around in the plastic seat in the waiting room I had somehow not understood the enormity of this story.’

As deputy editor of the glamorous FILLE magazine in London, Lisa Lassiter had almost passed up the chance of a weekend on a billionaire’s yacht off the coast of Mykonos.

But her best friend Claudia Hemmingway, on her way to becoming one of the hottest movie stars on the planet, could be very persuasive when she wanted something.

Not only would they get there by private jet, she’d told Lisa, they would also get to rub shoulders with VIP guests – not least a famous Hollywood film producer. It would be a weekend of fun, sunshine, champagne and partying. And it was all of those things. Until it wasn’t.

Lisa has spent ten years trying to get past that weekend. If she has learnt anything, it is that unfinished business and secrets always work their way to the surface. Moving on is one thing; forgetting is another, and forgiving … well, where to start?
 
Vanessa recently discussed her debut novel with Bailey Schneider. Listen to their conversation here!

Book details