Does travel play a part in the writing of your books?
Part of what I do for my day job occasionally results in me having to travel, and every so often I get itchy feet. Some of the destinations I’ve seen include staying in a riverside lodge along the Zambezi River; a few nights in a luxury resort in Mauritius; a road trip through Ireland; and numerous road trips through southern Africa. I love seeing new places, and they often end up featuring in my stories. Since I am based in South Africa, it stands to reason that the Rainbow Nation, as we call our country, features the most. My most recent release, Camdeboo Nights, is set mainly in the Camdeboo, an arid region in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province.
Tell us about your current release.
Camdeboo Nights is a paranormal tale of love lost and found, but also, most importantly friendship. Remember how you felt about the friends you had when you were sixteen? How you believed that you could take on the world AND win? Well, that’s what my mismatched bunch of heroes feel. It’s a journey of self-discovery, and of trying to stay one step ahead of the kinds of people who seek to control and subvert people to their own ends. The novel’s also a bit of a road trip, so if you feel like you need to get away from it all for a while, then I invite you to give Camdeboo Nights a try.
Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?
Mostly this has been hero worship on my part. I’ve always wanted to write the kinds of stories that people could compare to the worlds created by Neil Gaiman, Storm Constantine and Poppy Z Brite, among others. Whenever I’ve read their books I’ve walked away knowing *this* is what I want to do too. I love the idea that there’s a world of magic, mystery and sometimes even horror lurking just beneath the surface, waiting to be uncovered. I look toward the Sandman graphic novels, the Wraetthu mythos and Lost Souls as big inspiration – ambiguous worlds where readers don’t always have all the information and enigmas aren’t always explained.
What was your first sale as an author?
I had my first novel complete in 2007, and spent most of 2008 shopping it around. About a million rejections later, Khepera Rising found its first home with Lyrical Press. Rights have now reverted to me and I’m busy putting my Books of Khepera up so that they’ll always be available in a variety of formats. Jamie the black magician will always have a fond place in my heart. I guess what I like about him the most is that he does all the terrible things I’d never dream of doing, so in a way he’s a bit of an infernal alter ego.
What does your significant other and family think of your writing career?
While I suspect my mom will never read my stories (and therein lies a small mercy) I am lucky that my husband is very supportive of my career. In many ways we complement each other as he is a talented photographer and award-winning independent filmmaker. We’re currently working on a book trailer, and he’s helped me with my cover art on numerous occasions. I do laugh, however, as the only way I can get him to experience my writing is if I read it out loud to him. But he says I’ve improved, and that he likes the bits of my stories that he has heard, so that makes me happy.
Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?
I absolutely *must* have music while I’m writing. I go through phases of liking different bands/musicians while I’m writing, and this can vary between my mainstays like Type O Negative, Fields of the Nephilim, Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, Rob Zombie, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Bauhaus, to more epic sounds like the film soundtracks by Hans Zimmer or the more ethereal music by Azam Ali. I do, however, listen to a rather eclectic selection and enjoy the material my husband adds to the mix, like an assortment of jazz, Manorexia, Foetus, and Steroid Maximus. He’s constantly discovering new artists, so that list can go on… and on… And often the music will trigger ideas/moods.
Helen Ashfield’s world is about to be turned upside down. Is she ready?
Helen Ashfield’s life is complicated. Not only must she adjust to her parents’ divorce, but she has to come to grips with her new school in the small South African Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet. She’s sorely mistaken if she thinks she’s going to slot seamlessly into her new life. Her growing magical powers have attracted the unwanted attention of Trystan, a vampire, who may not have her best interests at heart.
Outcast from his kind for drinking another vampire’s blood, Trystan has been on the run for almost a hundred years from Mantis–the closest thing their kind has to an enforcer. All Trystan wants is an existence of quiet anonymity, but Helen turns his world upside-down.
Helen’s powers also mark her as one of Mantis’ targets. If Mantis gets control of Helen, she’ll change the course of history…for the worse.
Armed with her grandmother’s shopping list, Helen ran out to the familiar silver Volvo, looking forward to speaking with Arwen, only to discover Szandor and another woman with a teased-out mop of white-blond hair waited in the car.
The woman turned icy gray eyes on Helen, giving her the impression that she could read each of Helen’s secrets.
She was pale, which wasn’t helped by the funerary aspect of her clothing–a buttoned-up sleeveless shirt with a cameo at her throat. When she moved, an audible swish of many layers of satin and chiffon filled the vehicle.
This must be the aunt. She couldn’t be the mother. The resemblance to Szandor was almost uncanny.
Szandor smiled, but the pleasure did not reach his eyes. “This is Sonja, my sister. Sonja, this is Arwen’s new friend, Helen.”
Sonja gave the briefest of frowns before facing the window.
“Uh, hi,” Helen said, wishing that she could be anywhere else but in this car with these peculiar people. The journey to Graaff-Reinet would be just over half an hour but it would feel like an eternity.
Szandor made a sound that was almost a snigger before turning the key. If only Damon were here, but her brother had gone to visit the Prof the instant his chores were done.
They drove in silence, with only the hiss of the air-conditioner as accompaniment, until they left the valley.
Then Szandor said, “Did you enjoy the films last night, Helen?”
She thought her heart would explode. Should she lie? Should she allow the story to filter through without some of the pertinent details?
“I… Uh. Yes.” She had watched films after Trystan had walked them home. Granted, she hadn’t been able to concentrate on any of the onscreen action.
“Oh,” Szandor said.
She caught a glimpse of his amused expression in the rearview mirror.
Bloody hell, of course he didn’t believe her. What did she expect?
“You haven’t seen or heard anything that you would consider out of the ordinary, have you?” Szandor asked.
“You’ll tell us if you do, won’t you?” Szandor asked. It was more a command than a question.
“I guess so.” Helen clutched the seat with white-knuckled hands.
Her grandmother’s amused tones echoed in her memory. The whole lot of them, they’re all witches. The father, too.
How far would Szandor push his craft? What could he do? Was she in any danger? If there was the superstitious fear of witchcraft that was prevalent among the indigenous Africans…
She’d read a little about the subject a few years previously while researching for a painting for her art classes. Witchcraft was a fascinating topic but she had never expected to ever deal with the real thing. Now her present situation seemed very real and very menacing.
“Where’s Arwen?” Helen hoped to steer their conversation to safer territory. She may as well have said “Nice weather, we’re having.”
“Arwen has been grounded,” Szandor said, his pale gaze reading the road ahead.
Oh heck. He knew.
“Oh.” Perhaps it would be better to say nothing at all then she wouldn’t dig herself a deeper hole.
The rest of the ride passed in uncomfortable silence. Helen pressed her face against the glass and hoped nothing more would be said.
She hated deception of any kind. Whenever she lied, she always ended up being caught out. Instead, she watched the passing landscape, where gray-blue spiked agave lined the road in clumps. Every so often jeep tracks led from the road they followed and she wondered where they went.
An editor and multi-published author, Nerine Dorman currently resides in Cape Town, South Africa, with her visual artist husband. Some of the publishers with whom she works include Dark Continents Publishing and eKhaya (an imprint of Random House Struik). She has been involved in the media industry for more than a decade, with a background in magazine and newspaper publishing, commercial fiction, and print production management within a below-the-line marketing environment. Her book reviews, as well as travel, entertainment and lifestyle editorial regularly appear in national newspapers. A few of her interests include music travel, history (with emphasis on Egypt), psychology, philosophy, magic and the natural world.
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