Books and mirrors
A Q&A about my newest book.
1. What is the working title of your book?
It started out as just “Spanish Gardens”, then morphed into “Midnight at Spanish Gardens” as the time as well as the place began to be nailed down, and emerged from the chrysalis as “2012: Midnight at Spanish Gardens”
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
There’s a real place – there WAS a real place – known as Spanish Gardens. I used to go to the restaurant when I was a student at the University of Cape Town – it was a place of true magic, and I’ve carried it within me for decades. It’s a memory caught in amber, ageless and eternal, and it’s something that demanded its story. And here it is. I hope you’ll follow me into Spanish Gardens, that you will recognize the place somehow as somewhere that magic lives, that perhaps you will find yourself thinking about the magical places in your own lives. And the choices you made there over the years.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary fantasy, I guess – but it’s basically a story of people and how they change, with a sprinkling of magic fairy dust over the top, just to make it glitter.
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I would love complete unknowns – people who would lend their faces to my characters, who would then BECOME those people in the minds of the people who were taking in the story – rather than casting well known actors who would distract from what’s happening up there on screen. But I’d love to know, here, who my readers might cast as these characters. Any reader want to tell me your dream cast?
5. One-sentence synopsis of the book?
What is the most important thing in the life that you have been given to live – and what would you be willing to give up if you were given a chance to change your life completely?
6. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Well, one recent review compared it to Haruki Murakami’s work, which was a little startling but nonetheless a compliment. So that’s ONE opinion. Another one for you, readers. Did it make you think of any other stories or writers?
7. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The memory of that place was the inspirawion for the setting. But married to the end-of-the-world scenario as applied to 2012 – it became something else again, something rich and strange. This became a novel about telling the truth, about living a lie, about settling or reaching for the stars, about love, longing, betrayal, and most of all about choices.
8. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It asks questions that everyone has asked themselves about their own lives at some point – what if I had chosen THIS instead of THAT, one person over another, a different direction?
Many of the reviews basically begin with the reviewers asking those questions of themselves. They couldn’t help it; the book appears to function as a literary mirror. The readers look into it and somehow past the characters and see… themselves. It may not be an entirely comfortable place to be. But it’s a fascinating one.