ABOUT MY NOVELS

I've been writing and publishing for years, and folks often ask me which of my books they should read. Though I ostensibly started out as a horror writer, I've been lured across to fantasy over the years. That being said, I don't particularly like pigeonholing myself within a genre. If a particular story calls to me, I'll write it.

While you can go check out my books and anthologies where my stories appear in general over at Amazon, I've picked a bunch that you can read here (with a little hint as to why you might like it, and in more or less chronological order). This is by no means all of my writing, but it's a good place to start.

BOOKS OF KHEPERA

While I was writing piles of short stories years ago, I had always dreamed of writing a novel, but had absolutely no idea of what sort of story I might breathe life into. I think it was more or less round about in 2006 or 2007 that I had the "A-ha" moment that would result in Jamie, the rather wicked anti-hero in the Books of Khepera duology. I recall the day he came into being quite clearly – I was walking from the train station in Fish Hoek to the car park where my husband was waiting to collect me, when a little old lady with lilac-framed glasses leapt out at me yelling "Jesus loves you!" (It must've been the pirate T-shirt I was wearing.) And that's where I thought to myself: What if I was the very person these perennially dull inhabitants of this town feared the most? (Actually, I am, but let's not dwell on it.) So, enter Jamie Guillaume, your rather friendly local black magician. Khepera Rising and Khepera Redeemed were originally published by Lyrical Press, but when my rights reverted, I released them with the cover art I felt they deserved, collaborating with South African comic book artist Daniël Hugo to bring Jamie to life. Though it's doubtful that I'll write more stories *quite* like Jamie's anytime soon, I still get readers telling me how much they enjoyed his attitude ... and his misadventures. If the idea of a smart-mouthed, morally ambiguous black magician battling demons tugs on your short and curlies, you'll probably enjoy Jamie's antics.


IN SOUTHERN DARKNESS

This little book collects two of my novellas (The Namaqualand Book of the Dead and What Sweet Music They Make) that came out an eon ago. The two are nominally set in the same version of Cape Town and would loosely be categorised under the umbrella of urban fantasy of the fanged kind. When the rights reverted from the original publisher, I elected to bundle them for the sake of posterity. I'd recommend this for those who enjoyed The Books of Khepera, and would like to see parts of Cape Town explored within the context of the paranormal – part murder mystery for the one, part exploration of the moral dilemmas in the other for creatures who set themselves above humanity.



LOST CHILDREN

In the spirit of hunting down some of my older short fiction that's floating around, I put together Lost Children. While I've lost track of so many stories that are currently in anthologies, here are a few that I'm quite fond of, that will give my readers an idea of what my earlier material is like. Everyone always told me that I needed to sell a few short stories first before tackling novels, but if my memory serves me correctly, these two events happened more or less at the same time (I sold my first short story round about the time that Khepera Rising was homed). Selling short fiction was all terribly exciting and fun and new (and still is). Also, some of these stories are the little dog ends I needed to get out of the way so that I could dig a little deeper with subsequent works. Included here is the story "Shame" that was later reprinted in the Manchester Review.


THE GUARDIAN'S WYRD

Before you ask, yes, there is a book two coming after The Guardian's Wyrd, and yes, I pretty much know what happens but no, I've not finished writing it yet. And I don't know quite when either. For folks asking about The Guardian's Wyrd, I tell them it's a bit Harry Potterish meeting Narnia, and there's a talking unicorn (a black unicorn, of course). A little background: I drew on my childhood home in Hout Bay, while writing this story, and yes, I had a Belgian Shepherd companion who was as loyal as Shadow is in this story. Magic, adventure, mystery ... and friendship. Jay September is an unexpected hero (at least from his point of view) and he ends up discovering that he may well have what it takes to be a prince's guardian. Illustration by none other than Daniël Hugo.


RAVEN KIN

Raven Kin is one of my "heart" books – I wrote it purely for myself, and as luck would have it, it's been a favourite among my readers. Griffins are among my most beloved magical beasties, and I feel there simply aren't enough stories featuring them as viewpoint characters. Sylas is also an incredibly chatty griffin, who finds himself inadvertently setting events in motion that may topple an empire. While I didn't set out to write this story for younger readers (there is discussion of adult topics, as well as depiction of violence), I've had parents buy this book for their teens, so I guess it's one of those cross-over kinda stories that may appeal to readers both young and old. I absolutely had to get Daniël to do the cover art for this one too.


DAWN'S BRIGHT TALONS

Dawn's Bright Talons was my "heart" novel from a few years ago, and it's clear that I wear my Anne Rice influences on my sleeve with this one. Probably the best description someone offered of the book was "Interview with the Vampire meets Buffy" – which tickles me pink. Dawn's Bright Talons is also the first of my novels that is available as an audiobook, with the rather delightful Greg Patmore reading. The cover art is by the talented, digital surreal artist Nathalia Suellen, whose work is superb – and suits this particular story eminently. I tentatively have an idea for a book two sketched out, but as with most of my sequels, this may take a while...


THE FIREBIRD

The Firebird sees my return to writing long-form fiction again after a hiatus (going freelance and studying can play havoc with your free time). I also recommend this novella to readers who'd like to see my more recent writing, because I do believe my style has changed considerably since I first wrote and published Khepera Rising. The Firebird deals with how ideology has poisoned a young woman's relationship with her brother, and how she must come to terms with the decisions she made in the past in order to make things right. A word on the setting – a few years back I spent a few days in Mauritius as part of a media visit, and always wanted to write an island setting for a story. This is that story.



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