I started young. I was the irritating kid that came to play but always disappeared, only to eventually be found reading a comic in some quiet corner. If I had to play then I avoided games like tag because I was always ‘it’. Instead my favourite outdoor game was to build a town in the dust so I could make up stories about the people in the dinky cars zooming around on dirt roads.
A story addiction is a funfair rollercoaster with no climbing off. You just keep going again and again and get high as a coot on the trip.
Every book, every comic, every film, only satisfies the craving temporarily, until the next fix.
My attention finds potential for story the same way other people’s eyes stray to icecream sundae or flashing diamonds. I’m hooked on story. It’s better than chocolate for depression, isn’t dangerous to one’s health, and if there is any mind-bending involved it’s not of the vicious short-term variety. The only thing that beats the feeling induced by a good story is the satisfaction, an almost spiritual joy, of writing.
A fiction author’s head is full of mysterious notions, subteranean visions, random recollections, bits of overheard conversations, stolen glimpses and a cornucopia of facts. Add some brazen silvery leaps of the imagination and before you know it you have a stew bubbling away merrily, promising to turn into a full-blown hitherto-untold brand new story.
All that enjoyment felt sinful and lazy when I was younger (my catholic upbringing) so I opted for an adrenalin-charged gender-equal high-earnings career in the information technology sector, starting out as a programmer and ending up doing project management. Years later I realised that if I kept ignoring the voices in my head I might go mad. I’ve been a committed author for a while now and it has been a fearsome helter-skelter ride.
In-between family life and writing I grow things, play relaxed tennis, ski whenever I can, enjoy running creative writing workshops and am crazy about animals, domestic and wild.
They say every serious writer has at least one novel about sex and another about death in them. In my first novel The Good Cemetery Guide the protagonist, Anthony Loxton, a funeral director who plays acoustic guitar in music clubs at night, stepped out of the mist and hijacked me as we were driving through Kalk Bay late one night. Life hasn’t been the same since.
In Lady Limbo, book I of the Limbo mystery trilogy, Paola Dante is looking for her author husband Daniel de Luc, who has gone missing while cooking pasta alla carbonara. A mysterious message linked to a love triangle and tragic incident in their youth leads her her into the bowels of a secretive organisation that is implicated in her husband’s disappearance. Paola Dante is prepared to enter the portals of hell to find her soul mate.
The books we write choose us. We do not choose them.