S.A. Partridge's Blog, page 3
April 16, 2014
I recently had a short piece of flash fiction published in The Rite of Spring, a Pandemonium chapbook. (Other local authors who have appeared in previous Pandemonium anthologies include Sarah Lotz, Richard de Nooy, Charlie Human, Louis Greenberg, Lavie Tidhar and Lauren Beukes)
It’s a FREE download available from all the major retailers.
Here’s the blurb:
1913 was a year of violent change. Around the world there were revolutions, strikes, assassinations and civil war. The Rite of Spring features stories set in a world that’s coming of age – entering a tumultuous adolescence on the way to its terrifying maturity.
From Russia to South Africa, London to Vienna, these five stories are windows on a world that’s on the verge of something big… something revolutionary.
My story, Pick, is set in Kimberley during the Diamond Rush. If you love alternative history, then this one is for you.
April 4, 2014
Being excited about a book is the best feeling there is. Second to being in love of course.
Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell, is about a girl who loves books. The Simon Snow books, in particular, about a boy who goes off to study at the Watford School of Magicks. (Sound familiar?)
Cath is studying fiction writing at university, but finds it easier to write Simon Snow fan fiction. In fact, she’s racing against the clock to complete her master work before the final Simon Snow book comes out. Too bad real life keeps getting in the way of her writing. After all, how can a girl concentrate when she’s fighting with her twin sister, worrying about her father’s mental health and falling in love with her roommate’s ex-boyfriend?
Fangirl is about how a book can take over your life. We can all relate to that. We’ve all been a fan of something, be it Harry Potter, Star Wars, comic books or even Game of Thrones. We take the What Character Are You quizzes, we go watch the movie adaptions, we dress up for Free Comic Book Day. It’s fun. It’s geeky. And it’s part of who we are.
There’s a lot I loved about this book. It’s funny, honest, and reminded me of all those late nights I spent following the discussion boards trying to predict how the last Harry Potter book was going to end.
It’s no secret that I’m a giant Harry Potter fan. In fact, at one point while I was reading this book I was actually wearing my Ministry of Magic t-shirt (as pictured). I never wrote fan fiction, but I did dabble in fan art. So yes, this book brought back a lot of those feels.
Fangirl is also about family. Cath’s relationship with her twin sister Wren isn’t perfect. Wren parties too hard, and when they get to university, their relationship unravels even further. Her Dad is losing himself to his job and her mother has waited far too long to join the party. Families aren’t perfect. And that’s where the honesty of this book comes in. Quite a few young adult books feature two-dimensional parents who play a passive role. Not so here. Fangirl shows us that nobody’s family is perfect. And that’s okay.
I really enjoyed this novel. I didn’t want to stop reading, but I didn’t want it to finish either, which are both good signs. If you’ve ever been a fangirl, then this is the book for you.
(Below is a recent meeting doodle I did of Ginny Weasley, which just proves that you can’t outgrow the fangirl bug once it’s bit)
March 24, 2014
I haven’t posted a book review on my blog in ages. That’s not to say I haven’t been reading. I am currently sharing my apartment with more books in the process of being read or waiting to be read that it’s starting to look like a library.
So here are several reviews of books I absolutely adored. More to follow, I promise.
Kit discovers that she is a member of the legendary Blackhart family, guardians of the Frontier (aka the human world), responsible for keeping out the creatures from the Otherwhere – banshees, ghosts, goblins. When she inadvertently rescues the fairy prince Thorn from a gang of goblins, Kit discovers a plot to bring back the Elder Gods and destroy the world as we know it. It’s Hellboy meets Anna Dressed in Blood, and it’s brilliant.
(My full review will appear on Women24 later this week. Link to follow)
The Fault in our Stars by John Green
I love John Green. I love that his characters are witty and smart and real. The Fault in Our Stars is a devastating account of two doomed lovers. It will break your heart and make you cry and I love that his fiction can do that. It’s my favourite YA title of 2013.
Currently reading: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Joyland by Stephen King
Set in the seventies, Joyland is a nostalgic read reminiscent of King’s earlier work. A bit slow to start, it soon opens up to the good stuff – a serial killer that was never caught, a ghost of a woman lurking inside a House of Horror and psychics leading the protagonist to his destiny with cryptic clues.
I came to love the Joyland amusement park with all its hidden passageways and carnies talking the Talk. A captivating read.
Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell
Karen Russell’s exceptional fiction is my go-to when I’m feeling uninspired, or simply relaxing and in the mood to read. Her language is playful, meaningful and incredible. Vampires in the Lemon Grove is her second anthology of short fiction (St Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves is phenomenal. Read it.) In it, Russell explores contemporary settings with a whimsical twist – Chinese silk factories with human silkworms, a seagull hellbent on ruining a young man’s life, vampires trying to come to terms with themselves in a modern world. I am so thankful that there are writers like this in the world to remind us why we love our craft.
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
I loved A Discovery of Witches. LOVED it. The second in the series, Shadow of Night, is just as hefty, which meant my enjoyment was drawn out over months. (I purposely read this one slowly.) This is anything but a girl meets vampire story. Oxford scholar Diana Bishop is an intelligent, strong female lead, and half the enjoyment is watching her go head to head intellectually with her vampire husband, geneticist Matthew Clairmont. In Shadow of Night, the pair travel back in time to the Elizabethan era as they go in search of the legendary alchemical tome, Ashmole 782.
The writing is excellent and the setting is glorious. The book reads like a historical text, documenting the day to day life of famous 1590 denizens like Queen Elizabeth, Christopher Marlowe, Edward Kelley and William Shakespeare. Some of the more tenser parts seemed rushed – I would have loved to discover how Diana and Matthew escaped from the guards and witch-fires of Prague, or how Matthew managed to steal Ashmole 782 from the palace. That said, it was an excellent read and I highly recommend it.
(PS: Has anyone else noticed that D Harkness = Darkness? COINCIDENCE?)
Currently reading: House of Sand and Secrets by Cat Hellisen
Upcoming local titles
The Three by Sarah Lotz
In The Three, four devastating plane crashes grab the world’s attention. Were they terrorist attacks, accidents or something more sinister? There are only three survivors, all children. Do they have something to do with the crashes? Conspiracy theorists and religious leaders seem to think so. They believe the children are the three horsemen of the apocalypse. The question is, where is the fourth?
I have never read anything like The Three. It’s got everything – plane crashes, conspiracy theories, religious fanatics, creepy kids. It’s fast-paced, clever and the characters are superbly written. It’s a masterpiece of authenticity. The novel is set in several locations including Japan, South Africa, England and America and each location is so richly detailed it draws you in like you’re actually there. A must read.
One Shot by Amanda Coetzee
The tattooed Traveller detective is back, and this time he’s not playing around. In One Shot, the charismatic Badger (aka Detective Harry O’ Connor) is on the hunt for a sniper, going as far as following him to Johannesburg and back. Coetzee’s writing is fast-paced and addictive, but most of all its incredibly visual. I can just imagine Badger on screen, running across the rain-drenched London streets as he chases down the killer. ATTENTION PRODUCERS. THIS NEEDS TO BE A TV SERIES.
Devilskein and Dearheart by Alex Smith
In Devilskein and Dearheart, Erin discovers that the mysterious Mr Devilskein in her aunt’s apartment block is the keeper of six mysterious doors, each leading on to six more doors. He entrusts Erin with the keys for the Turquoise door, which leads to among things, an ocean cabinet, the lost works of William Shakespeare, and a beautiful Chinese garden.
Where do I start? It’s a beautiful book. The story is imaginative, lush, lyrical and the writing is superb. I love the storyteller style of narration, and the dialogue is faultless. The descriptions of places are incredibly evocative, and I especially enjoyed the Garden of Sorrow, the Ocean Cabinet and Zhou’s recollections of the past. It’s almost like reading an allegory. I read this novel in one sitting.
What I want to get my hands on: Tokoloshe Song by Andrew Salomon and Dark Windows by Louis Greenberg
March 14, 2014
I absolutely love this Tumblr full of books with bodies. Kudos to Bookslive for first Tweeting about it. It’s such a brilliant idea.
I was at the Book Lounge earlier this week for a dear friend’s launch and I thought, well since I’m here…
March 2, 2014
A launch isn’t really a launch unless you leave with a signed book tucked lovingly under your arm.
I’ve collected my fair share of signed novels over the years; although not nearly enough. I like to keep them all together on the top shelf, regardless of genre or size, creating a colourful jumble of memories.
Books come and go out of the flat, whether it’s because I’ve loaned them to friends or donated them to schools or charities (Nazareth House in Cape Town is always looking for second-hand books to sell at their annual charity sale). But my signed book shelf has pride of place. It’s a work in progress. Always growing, changing, spilling onto other shelves.
Sadly once I’ve read a book I’ll probably only take it down when I’m dusting or re-arranging. I had to come up with a different way to enjoy my collection.
So I decided to photograph them.
January 20, 2014
A while ago I posted a blog about my local LEGO stories. (Long story short, my boyfriend and I have more than fifty LEGO mini-figures and making little scenes with them has become a hobby. Recreating my favourite books with LEGO is a brilliant way to procrastinate.)
A magazine contacted me about the local LEGOs and asked if I had LEGO-fied any of my other books. I had done a version of Sharp Edges for fun, but not any of the others. I love a challenge, so I spent Saturday morning creating little infinity curves and swopping and changing LEGO mini-figs to create my characters.
So here they are. From top left: Dark Poppy’s Demise, Sharp Edges, Fuse and The Goblet Club.
Don’t Vlad and Trent look devilish?
Click to enlarge.
January 12, 2014
I really like LEGO. Funny, considering I couldn’t stand the stuff as a kid. I was more into My Little Ponies and Care Bears and those little plastic babies whose diapers changed colour in water.
I guess I’m making up for it now. Last year I started messing around with #legostories. I love popping the heads off and switching things around to make scenes. The mini figures may be plastic, but they are so expressive. I had to make some literary versions.
It was only a matter of time till the idea struck to make LEGO stories inspired by South African fiction.
So here are a few LEGO versions of some of my favourite books by local authors and a couple to look forward to this year. I also threw a LEGO version of Sharp Edges into the mix for fun.
Nineveh by Henrietta Rose Innes
Bad Blood by Amanda Coetzee
Water Music by Margie Orford
A Girl Walks into a Bar by Helena S Paige
Emily Green and Me by Kathryn White
Sharp Edges by S.A. Partridge
The Three by Sarah Lotz
Dark Windows by Louis Greenberg
January 8, 2014
Here’s a round-up of reviews that appeared in the national press.
Sharp Edges is definitely not preachy – just punchy.
Read the full review
Partridge specialises in dark, and this one is dark indeed. But it’s a compulsive read.
Read the full review
The book examines the solidity of friendships tested by doses of jealousy, love triangles, rebellion and freedom.
Read the full review
Daar’s bloed in die water in S. A. Partridge se nuutste boek, Sharp Edges.
Read the full review
Sharp Edges is a quick and seamless read that profoundly touches the inner layers of the readers soul and lingers on the edge of ones consciousness for weeks after.
Read the full review
In her latest novel, Partridge delivers her signature brand of hard-hitting young adult fiction. A harrowing story of teenage tragedy, told from the perspective of six characters. Insightful, frightening and ultimately sad.
The story makes you question how well you really know your friends. A thrilling read.
The novel will haunt you for a long time after you’re done reading and Partridge masterfully holds you in suspense all the way to the last page.
Read the full review
December 10, 2013
2013 was a good year with a lot of ups and very few downs. I have a lot to be grateful for – personal achievements, working with enthusiastic people, making new friends, and a lot of incredible memories. It was a mad rush of a year, but also a very fulfilling one (sometimes even a dream come true one.)
It almost calls for a long retrospective blog post. But I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to make lists.
My highlights of the year
1. Sharp Edges was published by Human and Rousseau
2. I met Anthony Horowitz while he was in Cape Town
3. I signed with the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency
4. Open Book hosted my young adult fiction masterclass
5. I started reviewing for the Sunday Times
6. I was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize
7. I did my first publicity tour of Johannesburg
I say highlights, but these were the achievements I’m most proud of. There are so many more personal highlights I could have added – road trips with friends, romantic getaways, seeing a friend’s son shoot up while I watch. I wish I could fill a jar with my favourite memories and shake it up whenever I want to relive them. But I guess that’s what lists are for.
Now on to the books.
A lot of people are posting their Best Books of the Year lists. I’d like to do something a little different. My lists are really an honest look at my reading habits.
The Best Books I Read This Year
1. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
2. Water Music by Margie Orford
3. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke
4. Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson
5. The New Girl by S.L. Grey
6. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
Books I Started But Put Down Again Shortly After
1. The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
2. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
As much as I was enjoying these reads, the problem is time. If I’m not reading something to review or writing, I’m working. Then again it’s nearly holidays. Maybe I’ll finish these books yet!
I smell a New Year’s resolution coming along…
Books I Wanted To Read But Didn’t Get Around To Picking Up
1. Z by Therese Anne Fowler
2. Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell
3. The Goldfinch by Donna Tart
4. The Ocean at the end of the lane by Neil Gaiman
5. The New Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
6. House of Sand and Secrets by Cat Hellisen
7. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
8. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
It’s embarrassing really. No matter how hard I try, this last list is always longer than the others. People need to stop writing such good books. Next year is going to be even worse, or better, whichever way you look at it.
This leads me to my next list.
Books I Can’t Wait To Read in 2014
1. Dark Windows by Louis Greenberg
2. Invisible Others by Karina Magdalena Szczurek
3. The Three by Sarah Lotz
4. Devilskein and Dearheart by Alex Smith
5. Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
6. One Shot by Amanda Coetzee
And many more besides! Please add yours so I know what to keep an eye open for.
Happy holidays everyone.
December 2, 2013
A while ago I posted a blog about my new hobby – creating stories with LEGO.
Well, let’s just say it isn’t a hobby anymore.
Since then I’ve been taking more ambitious shots, going as far as printing out scale backgrounds and cutting out tiny props. I’ve made LEGO stories about zombies, headless horsemen, mad scientists, The Avengers, and of course, my favourite books.
Here are some of my favourite literary inspired LEGO stories.
Can you guess which books these scenes are based on?
Those who prefer Instagram or Twitter can find all the pictures under the hashtag #legostories