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 I was eager to shake off at first; how could I, an urban, white South African, write about a brown-skinned indigenous person living in a remote area? How could I do it convincingly, ethically? That's another story about a long journey I've been on; you'll find reference to it here.