Back in 2006 is when it all started. I was reading a series of books from my favorite author and it inspired me.
Who are your favorite authors?
Laurel K. Hamilton is the one author that got me started in writing. One day out of the blue, I said to myself, "I can write a story." So, I sat down and began to write one. It was only to be a short story, but ended up not so short. This was in 2006. My first draft is not even what I published in 2019. In between these years, I have at least twenty different versions (maybe more). The series title changed and even the book title. If it hadn't been for Laurel, I would never have written a book. I never in my life thought I would. It was just for fun, but I could never stop working on it because I saw that it had potential. In the end...I created something from my imagination, and to me that was a great accomplishment.
I began writing seriously as a college student at The University of Minnesota, Minneapolis campus. After declaring Speech Communication with a specialty in radio/tv broadcasting, my advisor FORCED me to take a class in writing for broadcast mediums. I hated that idea. I showed up on the first day of class, picked up my syllabus and left. I turned in all my assignments on time, but skipped the classes - until Midterm because I thought I'd better show up or there'd be hell to pay of my parents ever found out! The professor, Virginia Harris, handed me my assignments. They were marked A, A+, A, A, A. She said to me, "It's too bad you don't show up to class because you've got something going on and I'd like to work with you." After that, I showed up and shortly thereafter changed my major to specialize in writing for broadcast TV and radio. That was the beginning. Before this, I was always a good student, didn't shy away from writing, and got compliments on term papers and such, but had not yet called in love with the process.
What's the story behind your latest book?
'The Lincoln Moon' is based on one of Lincoln's most celebrated cases. I love murder cases, and having learned of this one, People v, Armstrong, in a biography of Llincoln, I thought it would make an interesting topic for a fiction novel. I wanted to tell the story from the view of the family that Lincoln defended, so we could get an "outside take" on him. So I told my story through the eyes of the accused murderer's 9-year old brother. Scrump. he allowed me to portray Lincoln through innocent eyes, and to demonstrate how Lincoln's involvement impacted him and his family. Also, since my story deals with the Underground Railroad, I wanted reader to experience how a child might be indoctrinated to racism: by the words s/he hears and the treatment, s/he witnesses in others. It was really a joy to write!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born and bred in the dusty streets of Ezakheni, a Township of the infamous Ladysmith (150). A home of Ladysmith Blaq Mambazo, Blaq Diamond, Cici and Aubrey Qwana. I was raised by a single parent, which is my father. I shaped my desire for the entertainment industry by holiday visits in the great Johannesburg, where i spent quality time learning from hostel settlers. In there, they used to shares lot of stories with me. Especially the History of Jeppe Mens hostel and that's how i started writing. I wanted to share those stories to all the people out there.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when i was 17 years old at High School.
I do! The first story I ever wrote was fan-fiction (though I didn't realize it at the time) of the movie Poltergeist. I watched the film as a kid and wrote a 17 chapter novel inspired by the movie. I wish I still had it!
What's the story behind your latest book?
My poetry chapbook "Autumn Reveries" was written due to my love of Halloween. The book is entirely haiku, which I really do enjoy writing although I do *not* usually write traditional haiku, and I enjoyed the challenge of writing miniature stories in only 17 syllables.
I am working on a textbook for Ayurveda Counselors. It is called Essential Guide to Ayurveda: A Textbook for Students & Ayurveda Counselors will be published in Fall 2020. My husband and I have been in the business of running and teaching Ayurveda and its sister philosophies for over a decade now. A lot of our students began to show interest in taking the board exam meant for Counselor. There were not a lot of textbooks out in the market for students so I decided to create one.
There are already so many books on Ayurveda. Why is yours different?
There are so many amazing books on Ayurveda in the market, and, they were mostly meant for a newbie, or, were too technical. As a school director, I needed a textbook, a study guide that mapped to the curriculum defined by National Ayurvedic Medical Association, and touched on topics that the Counselors would need in their own practice. We needed something specific that talked covered the Ayurveda curriculum, their scope of practice, interviewing techniques, even time management. My new book would cater to that.
There is so much information that children need in todays world. I get excited by all the different ways of imparting this curcial needs to them through my Tunnel Books. I am always excited by the challenges of making a new one.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love playing the piano or listening to classical music. There is always a trip to the beach for a swim in the sea.