Thursday 22 October 2020

Autumn Countdown Blitz Day 4

I am a South African children’s author. Up until a few years ago, I was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked my new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with my mother and two young nephews. We had a great time and I thought I’d write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir…. Well, one book and a planned book series later, I had changed careers. I am now on Book 5 of The Chronicles of the Stone adventure series. I also teach online novel writing for aspiring authors and I find that very satisfying.

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Continuing the adventure that ended in Britain just a short while ago, cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair, with their friend Kim Maleka, are now hunting for the third Stone of Power, one of seven mysterious stones lost centuries ago. The third stone might be located in an ancient city, hidden in the depths of the Mexican jungle. When their small plane crashes in the jungle, Adam, Justin, Kim, and James are rescued by an uncontacted tribe. James, who is wounded, must stay behind as the kids, with only a young boy, Tukum, as their guide, make their way through the dense and dangerous jungle to find the city. River rafting on a crocodile-infested river and evading predators are just part of this hazardous task.

Of course, their old adversary Dr. Khalid is close behind as the kids press on in search of the lost city of stone gods. But he is not the worst of their problems. This time Adam will clash with a terrible enemy who adopts the persona of an evil Aztec god, Tezcatlipoca, and is keen to revive the ancient tradition of human sacrifice. Adam, Justin, and Tukum must play a dreadful ball game of life and death and maybe survive. Will they emerge alive from the jungle? Will Dr. Khalid find the third Stone of Power before they do?

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Q&A With the Author:

What is your favorite Autumn Time activity?

Walks are so nice when the air is crisp and fresh, and you can feel the hint of winter in the breeze. My little dog Pumpkin is an avid walker and she says it’s her best activity in Autumn.


What is one of your writing quirks?

I have to make notes on paper. I try to keep them in a big notebook but I usually end up with lots of bits of paper. Then I go through them and cross off each note once I have used it in the story.


Which of your books was your favorite to write? And why?

I find that the book I last worked on is always the favourite. Then I start working on the new one and that becomes my best book. I think I am fickle that way.


Who is the person or group of people who most support you in your writing? What have they done for you?

I have two female author friends who write in the same genre, juvenile fiction/Middle grade fiction, but surprisingly we never tread on each other’s toes. They are amazingly supportive. We beta read and review each other’s books. One of my friends is an ex Latin and French teacher and she has ben so helpful in Books 2 and 4 of my series.


What is your trick for getting past writer's block? And what advice would you give to others who are struggling?

I don’t believe in writer’s block. If I feel I have hit a sticky patch then I do something different and let the characters sort the problem out behind the scenes. I do something else, or read, or watch TV. When I come back to my work, I find the characters have gotten the story over the hump. If any writer feels unproductive, give it a break and do something you like and relax. When you come back, the story will look fresh again.


Autumn time has its own set of foods/flavors. What is your favorite Autumn comfort food?

Ooh, soup! I love soup. A big bowl of something yummy and hot. I confess chicken and vegetable soup with croutons is my favourite Autumn treat.

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