I’ve always written, working briefly as a press officer after I graduated with a degree in journalism, then more contentedly as an advertising copywriter. Jerry de la Femina was right, advertising really was ‘the most fun you could have with your clothes on’, in those days — now, of course, there’s Paintball — but all the while I knew I was biding my time, waiting for the big novel idea to tap me on the shoulder.
One day, amid the burning rubber and teargas that was black South Africa in the late Apartheid years, it did. It was a tap easy to shake off at first, dutiful but resigned to being ignored, like a Jehovah’s witness fully aware you are home but hiding under a desk. (Is that only me?)
Foolishly, I lost hope of the South African apartheid regime ever handing over power to a majority government. Packing up my three worldly goods, husband and two small children, I left the country. Once in England, the tapping grew louder, more insistent, harder to disregard, until finally I felt it physically, like a hand pressing on my shoulder, forcing me into that chair in front of my typewriter.
Yes, dear reader, I started my first novel in pre-p.c. days. Tippex was the height of hi-tech, and there were Pterodactyls flying past the window. I didn't even see 'em. Too busy clacking those typewriter keys, telling Koba's story. She'd chosen me and I couldn't let her down.
So far, there are two Koba novels, Salt and Honey and Kalahari Passage. MORE...
I teach Creative and Professional Writing at the University of Wolverhampton. MORE...