Jayne Bauling's Blog: Incurable Itch

March 22, 2018

WRITING A NO-ISSUES YA PROTAGONIST

For Game Plan, the third novel in my Soccer Season series for Cover2Cover Books, I set myself the challenge of creating a story around a protagonist with a happy home life and no serious hang-ups or issues.
Ginelle Davids had been an extremely stroppy secondary character in the first two Soccer Season books, Playmaker and Offside, and I always intended her to have a book of her own. I loved her aggressive, mouthy personality from day one; she has a lot in common with a couple of other secondary characters who took hold of my heart when I was writing two other YA novels: Fliss in E Eights, and Orpa the dirty girl in my latest novel from NB Publishers’ Tafelberg imprint, New Keepers.
I was purposely non-specific about Ginelle’s background in the earlier novels, partly just to give myself the adventure of creating her background, but also in order not to distract myself or to detract from the stories of Lunga and Mondli, the protagonists in the first two books.
It was difficult. Ginelle loves and admires her parents, who are super-supportive, and she has a great relationship with her gran who has moved in with them. She’s confident, she has good friends, especially Elethu, and something special might be happening between her and Mondli.
Yes, she’s slightly (!) obsessed with winning, but for Ginelle that’s the regular, living, breathing, human way to be. So how to give her a (bright Saturday morning) dark night of the soul? Well, all right, maybe not that dark, but a dilemma all the same.
Easy to develop the plot, and I’d done some foreshadowing with regard to Coach Ofeimun and her daughter, but where should Ginelle’s dilemma come from?
Fiction is about imagination. In the end, it was Ginelle’s love of victory versus her ordinary humanity and sense of responsibility for someone vulnerable that provided the crucial turning point.
Writing the sequence when she has to choose, and the events that follow – when I was done, I expelled this huge breath I hadn’t even known I was holding. I hope it has readers holding their breath too.
Then came the ending. My editor at Cover2Cover said it brought her to tears, as had happened with my Harmony High novel Soccer Secrets and with Playmaker. That might just be my job, making Dorothy cry, because it means I’ve achieved a moving conclusion
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Published on March 22, 2018 04:08

December 8, 2017

New Keepers

The past month has been super-exciting, with the publication of my new YA novel New Keepers by Tafelberg, part of NB Publishers. I was thrilled that the book won a silver Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature. It is my longest YA to date, and a departure from the contemporary themes of all my previous YAs. Here's a podcast in which I read from the novel and then talk about it.

https://soundcloud.com/user-805887214...
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Published on December 08, 2017 05:30

August 7, 2015

Chatting about Soccer Secrets and Dreaming of LIght

I'm honoured to have been a guest on Inge Saunders's great blog. She generously gave me the opportunity to chat about my new YA novel Soccer Secrets, as well as Dreaming of Light, and books and writing generally.

https://ingesaunders.wordpress.com/20...
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Published on August 07, 2015 13:38

April 3, 2014

Talking to Goodreads Author S.A. Patridge

Four days ago I interviewed Goodreads Author S.A. Partridge about her latest YA novel Sharp Edges. See an excerpt from the interview here:

http://gbas.bookslive.co.za/blog/2014...
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Published on April 03, 2014 07:33

March 31, 2014

Switching

YA author Scarlett Van Dijck has an amazing blog. I was her guest a while back, writing about switching from romance fiction to Young Adult. http://scarlettvandijk.weebly.com/2/p...
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Published on March 31, 2014 11:00

September 1, 2013

Spotlight

Goodreads Author Morgen Bailey has this great writing blog, and I'm proud to be today's Spotlighted Author. http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/201...
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Published on September 01, 2013 03:22

June 15, 2013

Short Story Day Africa: The Interview

Short Story Day Africa (21 June) brings together writers, readers, booksellers, publishers, teachers and school children from all over the globe to write, submit, read, workshop and discuss stories – and to foster the love of reading and writing African fiction. Global support for the project is growing.

Many African writers are joining in the fun by answering the 21 Questions interview for SSDA. I was tagged, so here we go:
The Interview
1. Do you actually enjoy writing, or do you write because you like the finished product?
It's the act of writing that I love best - that mysterious process when story and characters take on a life of their own. Of course, before and after the moment when that happens, it can be sheer slog.

2. What are you reading right now? And are you enjoying it?
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, and I'm loving it.

3. Have you ever killed off a character and regretted it?
No.

4. If you could have any of your characters over for dinner, which would it be and why?
Hawa, the young Somali refugee in E Eights. I'd like to know more about her life before she and her family came to SA, and what became of her after she disappeared from the lives of the other characters.

5. Which one of your characters would you never invite into your home and why?
It's a tie between Uncle Baxter in Stepping Solo and Faceman in Dreaming of Light, both violent and disturbed characters.

6. Ernest Hemingway said: write drunk, edit sober. For or against?
For.

7. If against, are you for any other mind altering drug?
No, red wine does it for me, or does pure uncut imagination count?

8. Our adult competition theme is Feast, Famine and Potluck. Have you ever put food in your fiction? If so, what part did it play in the story?
In my earlier career as a romance writer, chocolate sometimes played a part ...

9. What’s the most annoying question anyone’s ever asked you in an interview?
I'm usually just so grateful to be interviewed! OK, other than the one about where I get my ideas, is - why do I bother, because no one reads any more? Happily for us authors, people do still read.

10. If you could be any author other than yourself, who would you be?
All the authors who've ever made me gasp in awe. Many of them are from our African continent.

11. If you could go back in time and erase one thing you had written from your writing history, what would it be and why?
I wouldn't erase anything, but there's plently I'd love to rewrite.

12. What’s the most blatant lie you’ve ever told?
I'm a writer. I give the truth scope. OK, I stole that from A Knight's Tale.

13. If someone reviews you badly, do you write them into your next book/story and kill them?
I haven't done it yet, criticism of my writing usually just makes me determined to get it right next time.

14. What’s your favourite bad reviewer revenge fantasy?
Something along the lines of one of my books being a best seller and the reviewer consumed with envy.

15. What’s the most frustrating thing about being a writer in Africa?
As a fiction writer, for me it's that readers seem to prefer non-fiction, at least in this southern region of the continent.

16. Have you ever written naked?
No, but I get my best ideas in the shower.

17. Does writing sex scenes make you blush?
The sex scenes in my adult novels were an erotic turn-on. But I wasn't comfortable with the idea of my parents reading them!

18. Who would play you in the film of your life?
Helena Bonham Carter.

19. If you won the Caine Prize for African Fiction, what would you do with the money?
Think 'feast and famine', spend it and carry on as before.

20. What do you consider your best piece of work to date?
The one in my head. Of my published work, Dreaming of Light.

21. What are you doing on 21 June 2013, to celebrate Short Story Day Africa?
Writing, thinking and talking about writing, reading, especially some short stories, thinking and talking about reading.

Support WRITERS IN AFRICA by buying our books and reading some talented authors! You can find SSDA Chief Cook and Bottle-washer RACHEL ZADOK and SHORT STORY AFRICA here:

www.rachelzadok.com www.shortstorydayafrica.org twitter @rachelzadok E EightsStepping SoloDreaming of Light
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Published on June 15, 2013 07:55

February 22, 2013

"The Next Big Thing"

I was tagged in a blog by author Edyth Bulbring so now it’s my turn to talk about my new novel Dreaming of Light which won the Sanlam Gold Prize for Youth Literature. It looks at the lives of illegal gold miners in South Africa, especially those of youngsters trafficked in from neighbouring countries and forced to work underground.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I’d always been aware of illegal gold mining, and as I heard more and more horror stories it became something I wanted to write about. I revisited Barberton, where the story is set, and the surrounding countryside and the loneliness of a particular road became the inspiration for what happens outside the mine in the latter part of the book.
What genre does your book fall under?
It’s being marketed as YA fiction, but one of the publisher’s readers used the words ‘cross over’, and I have to say that so far most of the feedback I’ve had has come from adult readers. Happily, it has all been positive.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I think the younger characters’ parts would be a great opportunity for unknowns. But you need a big name, don’t you? Perhaps Samuel L Jackson might agree to guest star as Papa Mavuso!
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
It’s about how we can lose our humanity in the battle to survive but are sometimes lucky enough to regain it.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About two or three months. I’m not the fastest writer, and I had other bits of writing going on at the time.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’ve been privileged to know a handful of amazing optimists in my life. Without them I wouldn’t have known where to start in creating Taiba, one of two characters in the novel who is able to hold on to hope. The second, Katekani, grew out of an inspiring story a friend shared about her crippled sister.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The character of my eighteen-year-old narrator, Regile. Years in illegal mines have hardened him, but when he meets Taiba something is breached. Remaining unfeeling becomes a conscious act of will – and a struggle.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My book is published by Tafelberg in South Africa.
Who are you passing the baton to for next week’s Next Big Thing?
I am passing it on to YA authors Joanne MacGregor and Neil Malherbe.
Joanne MacGregor has just launched Rock Steady, a sequel to the successful Turtle Walk. She is also the author of the "Jemima" books for younger readers.
Neil Malherbe's debut novel The Magyar Conspiracy won the Sanlam Silver Prize for Youth Literature.
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Published on February 22, 2013 02:00

August 3, 2012

Recreational Writing

I remember reading a short story by Emma Donoghue, set in the world of modern professional soccer,that was both a retelling and a fresh interpretation of the Old Testament story of David and Jonathan.

What can be more fun for a writer than retelling old tales - folk tales, myths and legends, fairy tales from cultures and religions around the world? You've already got your plot and characters - all you need to do is play with them. Such stories also offer an irresistible opportunity for some all-out, over-the-top writing just because they're often peopled with larger-than-life characters and are bursting with full-on, eye-popping drama or melodrama. Or if you're in perverse mood, you can render them subtle, refine them, twist them or turn them upside-down.

When Ludic Press called for retellings last year, I couldn't resist.

http://ludicpress.wordpress.com/rage-...
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Published on August 03, 2012 09:55

July 26, 2012

Launch of POWA anthology

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Published on July 26, 2012 02:56

Incurable Itch

Jayne Bauling
A blog about writing
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