I've taken to social media and started interviewing South African authors who have participated in the NaNoWriMo writers program.
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.
I'm Cat Hellisen and I've been failing nanowrimo for about as long as it's been around. I don't consider this a bad thing. I'm a fantasy writer and I work in both long and short formats.
Why did you become a writer?
Complete inability to hold down a real job means I had to pretend to be doing something with my time. You call it watching Supernatural. I call it research.
What is your message and drive behind your writing career.
An understanding that the path is long, rocky, and rutted with failure. You need to keep going despite that.
Your experience in the publishing industry.
I began writing well over a decade ago, but it was only in 2012 (I think, it's all pretty hazy) that I sold my first book. Even though I began writing short stories long before I tackled novels, it's only more recently that I've started making any headway with sales there.
What works have you produced?
My novels are When the Sea is Rising Red, House of Sand and Secrets, Charm, and Beastkeeper, and I have short stories in a host of magazines and anthologies, ranging from Apex and Shimmer and F&SF magazine, to Short Story Day Africa, and Year's Best Weird Fiction II.
When did you start Nano and why do you Nano?
I began Nanoing in the early days of nano and I use it to give me a kick start for a novel idea. Because of the way I work, I've not yet actually won Nano, but that's okay. For me, it's not the point.
Your current Nano project?
I'm playing around with a book about witches and dead angels set in South Africa.
What happens after Nano?
It gets added to the stockpile of half-written ideas, for when I'm ready to tackle them.
Is there a trick to Nano?
I think the trick, sadly, is not a trick at all. It's sitting down and writing. Or as they call it on Absolute Write forums: BIC (butt in chair)
Writing schedule and positive habits.
This is a tough one. I think there are lots of rules, and people suggest that if you follow them you'll be a good writer. Some say to be like Stephen King and write 2000 words a day, others that you must write daily no matter what, others that you should write only when inspired, etc etc. Find a way that works for you - do it that way until it stops working, then find another way.
best advice you can give new writers that you wish you knew back then.
Don't listen to all that writing advice. Be aware of it, if that helps, but don't let it rule your creative process (maybe your editing process though...). Don't get too hung up on Three Act Structure, or Hero's Journey, or whatever the writing method of the year is. Find good beta-readers. Treat them well. Be a good beta-reader.
favorite genre to read?
Fantasy, of all stripes.
favorite genre to write?
Fantasy, of all stripes.
what is your message/ what are you saying to the world.
I have no message. Messages are boring. If I wanted to send messages I'd put up a billboard.
If not a writer what would you be doing?
Finding a different excuse to read books and watch movies.
where can we connect?
I am @CL_Hellisen on twitter, and my website is cathellisen.com
We are proud to announce our sponsor the Professional Editors guild or PEG, who have bought a sponsor package that will allow us to give more to the cause in donating 1000 books and becoming mentors for the youth of South Africa . The book donation will go to the pavement bookwormworm foundation. Read more about what they do on our title page.
Launched in Johannesburg in 1993, PEG is a national body with two principal branches, Gauteng and Cape Town, each run by a committee of volunteers. PEG represents practitioners who operate in the South African publishing industry, corporate communications and media. PEG is a founding member of LAMP (an umbrella Alliance of Language and Media Professionals), whose mission is to promote the interests of all those professionals who serve this key sector of the South African economy. LAMP also represents our sector on book- and reading-development bodies read more
They provide great resources
PEG Gauteng year-end social event
12 Dec 2015 12:00 to
"The Library", Brazen Head, Sandton
Our guest speaker is Griffin Shea, a journalist who walked the streets of downtown Joburg and discovered a whole new world of bookselling.
click here for more details
Introducing our new co founder!!!
Our guest authors have been announced.
I created SAIR as a writers aid for any South African author, fighting for the recognition and resources for those of us who want to be known for our writing not just for who we publish with. Our four guest authors are becoming leaders in their field, blurring the lines between traditionally and self published authors. I am proud of this moment where we as SA writers can work together for the sake of our youth's future in publishing, reading and writing. read all about it on our home page
Read more about our guest authors.
Debut author Fred Strydom
Best selling author Addrienne Woods
Hybrid author Joanne Mcgregor
Hybrid author TG Ayer (Key note speaker)
Our performer for the evening.
The beautifully talented Hana Yim- wahl
While in South Africa, Hana joined the Barnyard Theatres as their first choice violinist performing in shows like Broadway Rocks, Route 66, and Roll Over Beethoven. She has traveled with this group to the Seychelles, and Dubai.
read more about Hana
The planning stage of SAIR 2016 has begun. We have a mission, a spectacular international Key note speaker and a date.
2015 was great success in achieving what we set out. Building a network/a community of SA Lit lovers. We had some phenomenal panel sessions and guests to share their knowledge and experience with budding authors, bloggers and publishers alike.
Carlyle Labuschagne is an award winning South African author working her way into the hearts of international readers .