The ‘Why’ behind the Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Books

Africa Online Book Fair Facebook Cover 2 (2)(1)

It’s an understatement to say I am excited! The online book fair is a first for me and I am are ready to start.

But before I get into giving you the details of the where and the when, I’d like to explain the point behind #AfricaOnBookFair.

I grew up in Apartheid South Africa, mostly at the end tail of the Struggle. In 1994 when we had our first democratic election I was still in primary school. Buying books, much less writing books weren’t something that was encouraged for any person of color. Yet authors of color prevailed.

They wrote books about the history of the country, books about their daily struggle. Wonderful Drum Magazine writers wrote some of the most memorable short stories that opened up worlds for me when I studied them in high school and university. Poetry like To Whom It May Concern by Sipho Sepamla still touches many around the world. But…yes there’s a but, I didn’t come across prolific romance stories set in my country and the rest of Africa, that didn’t have tinges of colonialism or was written for a specific audience that didn’t include readers outside of it.

The stories weren’t inherently diverse. Stereotypical roles for people of color littered these romantic texts and even till this day when I go to my local library and bookstores I have to hunt for romances written that’s multicultural or even interracial, romance that showcases the beauty and scope of the landscape as well as the people of this continent, and also the authors that come from it.

Romance authors in Africa don’t just write contemporary/historical novels in bush settings or urban settings, they write steamy reads about fairies and werewolves too. Local heroes and heroines making a life abroad. Nail biting suspense and mystery romance novels. Science fiction and fantasy. Young adult and new adult stories. They even interpret characters from different genders, races, cultural backgrounds and religions.

And I asked myself, where can you find these books and authors with so much diversity among them? Where is a place you can walk into and have a good fun old time getting book deals and meeting your next favorite author? You guess right. A book fair.

But because Africa is a really…really big continent, how do you get all of these terrific romance authors and their stories together in one spot for readers to discover them?

Thank God for the invention of the military programme that became the internet! Online is the easiest way to find things you’re searching for. Whether it’s the definition of a word (so guilty of that) or buying a pair of shoes, online shopping, buying and selling, and researching are things we consider common. Even in Africa.

Everyone owns a device they can use to access the internet.

And that’s how the #AfricaOnBookFair was created. It stemmed from this need to say, “If you’re looking for romance stories set in Africa or want to find out who your next favorite African author in every romance genre out there is, here they are. Online. Easy to access. You don’t have to pay to get in. You don’t have to stand in a queue. You don’t have to feel hot and sweaty. Or cold and tired. You sit in your home or wherever you might find yourself and check out what’s on offer.” Money you would’ve spent on gas, food and tickets to get in can go into buying extra books! As a bookworm, that makes me extremely happy.

And I know every little bookworm heart is giving a fist pump *laughs*

The Africa Online Book Fair aims to bring African romance authors and readers together. In a nutshell it is as simple as that. And I really hope you’ll come meet every single one of them.

Event date: Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th June 2017.

Starts: 10:00 am ( Cape Town time)

Ends: 22:00 pm (Cape Town time)

 

So without further adieu, here they are:

Aziza Eden Walker

Bailey Quinn

Elaine Dodge

Inge Saunders

Jayne Bauling

Joanne Macgregor

Kathy Bosman

Leenna Naidoo

Marie Dry

Nana Prah

Sherita Singh

Theresa Beharrie

TM Clark

Link to the Event Page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/372063406523550/

Twitter: @AfricaOnBookFr

Instagram: @africaonlinebookfair

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Multi-Award Winning SA Author Jayne Bauling

Today I’m interviewing Jayne Bauling, who will be a Speaker at the #ROSACon2015 (for more info:http://www.romancewriters.co.za ). If you’re attending the conference, Jayne’s session on Lessons I learned from Writing Romance will be on Saturday the 26th of September. So without further introduction, here’s Jayne.

Jayne Bauling author photo

1. Tell me a bit about yourself.

I’m the author of twenty-one novels and one non-fiction book, and even after so many books, I still experience moments of amazement, when it hits me all over again, that hey, I really am a writer, the career I decided on when I was about five, with no idea what being a writer actually entailed! The first seventeen of those novels were romances, published by Mills & Boon, since when I have moved on to writing YA novels, four so far. My short stories, for both adults and youth, have been published in a number of anthologies. I grew up in Johannesburg, and now live in White River, Mpumalanga, close enough to the Kruger Park to drop in for a morning and get home in time for an afternoon’s writing. I adore cats, and used to breed Siamese, and I love reading, red wine and bird-watching.

*Truly an amazing career*

2. What inspires you to write?

Everyone I meet, everywhere I go, snatches of conversation overheard, sights glimpsed, issues and events in the news: all fuel my imagination. It’s the idea of being able to share my stories with others that motivates me and stops me procrastinating … well, eventually.

3. What project are you most excited about right now?

My latest YA novel, Soccer Secrets, from Cover2Cover Books, because it has just been published, and there are plenty of events happening around its release, in Gauteng, the Western Cape and Mpumalanga. It’s the story of Zinzi, a teen who is brilliant at soccer but is hiding a terrible secret; Luyanda senses she’s in trouble, but he is finding it impossible to get her to open up to him, and he needs to do some detective work to confirm his suspicions. Cover2Cover are linking the book’s release to a great Reading for Pleasure campaign.

*That’s wonderful and sounds like a interesting story*

4. Which authors are you currently hooked on? Any recommendations.

I’ve just read The Cuckoo’s Calling by J K Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith and I’m in awe of her talent for creating fascinating characters you genuinely care about, so I can’t wait to read more of her Cormoran Strike books. I’ve also recently started reading Cat Hellisen’s fantasy fiction; she writes so gorgeously.

5. If one of your books could be made into a movie, which one? And why?

I keep changing my mind about the answer to this one, one of my romances set in the world of mountaineering, or one of my YAs, which a number of people have suggested would make really edgy movies? Let me go with Dreaming of Light (Tafelberg), because it includes the drama and danger of life in an illegal gold mine, the psychological effect of such a life on the young men and boys forced to work there, the adventure of escape, and a journey made in hope, as the cynical 18-year-old Regile gets drawn into the belief of the younger Taiba and their abusive handler’s daughter, Katekani, that a better life is possible. Then there’s Regile’s awkward but tender relationship with Katekani, so there would be something for everyone in such a movie!

*Thank you Jayne, it was great getting to know you. Conference goers have a lovely Speaker to look forward to*

 

Dreaming of light cover by Hanneke du Toit

DREAMING OF LIGHT: BOOK BLURB
“ It’s a story like smoke, I think. No one can catch it because there’s nothing there.”
In the heat and darkness underground, Regile Dlamini has stopped believing in anything much. Boys trafficked from their home countries, kept captive and con¬trolled by a man they call Papa Mavuso, forced to work in an illegal gold mine near Barberton: their lives are brutal, terrifying and frequently short.
In contrast to Regile, the young Taiba Nhaca steadfastly believes in the legend of Spike Maphosa, a zama zama who is said to have escaped the horror of life in a mine. The inhumane conditions and savage beatings cannot shake Taiba’s faith, something Regile finds disturb¬ing. Above ground, Papa Mavuso’s daughter Katekani shares Taiba’s belief that their lives can change for the better, but Regile wants nothing to do with their unrealistic dreaming.
Is Katekani right when she tells him the mine has stolen his soul? Or is it his humanity that is lost?

Links to where you can buy Soccer Secrets and Dreaming of Light:

http://www.loot.co.za/product/jayne-bauling-soccer-secrets/fsjb-3267-g550
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dreaming-Light-Jayne-Bauling/dp/0624056260
http://www.takealot.com/dreaming-of-light/PLID36453137

Trailer for Dreaming of Light:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2P_Rdpx-4Y

Jayne Bauling Writer on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jayne-Bauling-Writer/165514616870712

Follow @JayneBauling on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JayneBauling