Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I was born in Durban, South Africa, and have lived in southern Africa for most of my life apart from a couple of years when I studied at the University of Durham in England. I worked for the Anglican Church in various places in southern Africa, and also have worked as a bus driver, journalist and a few other things. My last job was teaching missiology (the study of Christian mission) at the University of South Africa, and also editing academic texts.
I have written one and a third non-fiction books (one book had two co-authors?), a children’s novel and an adult (not an “adult”) novel; some of the same characters appear in both.
I serve as a deacon in the Orthodox Church in Gauteng, South Africa.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is “The Year of the Dragon”, set in southern Africa in 1988/89, a year of significant political changes.
It was inspired, in part, by the novels of Charles Williams who wrote “supernatural thrillers”. His fellow members of the Inklings literary group, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien wrote fantasy mostly set in other worlds, whereas Williams wrote about other worlds influencing and sometimes breaking into our world, and that is what I have tried to do in :The Year of the Dragon”.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I do my best writing early in the morning, when it’s quiet, but I don’t know how unusual that is.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
As mentioned before, the Inklings, especially Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien are probably the main ones. Also Alan Garner’s children’s books. I’ve admired his style, which is simple, yet evocative.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a sequel to my children’s novel “Of wheels and witches”. It features the same main characters having more adventures.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
The best method I have found is probably word of mouth, or word of e-mail, especially through e-mail mailing lists. I have also promoted them on my blogs and on sites like GoodReads, though I haven’t worked out which has been more effective.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write. Don’t hang around waiting for inspiration, or day dreaming about writing one day. get writing now.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
From a book on how to use WordPerfect (which I’ve hardly ever used): Open a document and write for 10 minutes without stopping. Don’t stop to correct spelling errors or anything else. Don’t pause. Don’t stop to read what you’ve written. Just write whatever comes into your head until your time is up.
It’s a great way to clear writer’s block.
What are you reading now?
Fiction: “The Wrath of Angels” by John Connolly.
Non-fiction: “Seeing things as they are: G.K. Chesterton and the drama of meaning” by Duncan Reyburn.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m hoping to see some reviews of my most recent book, which will help me to see how I can improve what I’m currently working on. In addition to a sequel to my children’s book I also have a draft of a memoir of my time in Namibia in the early 1970s, and a history of my wife’s family,who lived in Namibia in the 19th century.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
The Jerusalem Bible (old edition), C.S. Lewis’s Cosmic Trilogy, and Pears Cyclopaedia. For a fourth, the Philokalia.