Tag Archives: Namibia

Getting jiggy in Namibia

Interview at WestCoast FM
Interview at WestCoast FM

A book trip to another country is still a business trip. A lot goes into the planning, especially the costs involved. That’s why it makes sense to fit in as much as possible while you are there. This might mean shifting around some family time to fit in an interview or chatting a bit longer with a potential reader. Your family might get a bit upset, but this is the business.

We stayed in Swakopmund for three days and in Windhoek for seven days. As mentioned in the previous post, a  typical book trip consists of the obligatory marketing stops and, if possible, fit in a book signing somewhere. Strangely though, this was not my main reason for going to Namibia.

My visit to NBC Radio
My visit to NBC Radio

There is a number of projects I am currently working on. I am busy with a novel set in Simon’s Town, then there is one that takes a bizarre look at the insurance industry, and another which exposes the corrupt pharmaceutical industries. One of the novels were going to start in South Africa and finish in France. As is often the case, the research and the characters caused the story to evolve. Before long, the final part of this story had made its way to Namibia, without any influence from my side. I was simply following and writing down the story as it played off in my mind. It would be a big climactic finale, and Namibia would be the ideal setting. Think sand, heat and blood. A violent shoot out in the Namibian desert. Anyway, getting back to the trip, this was what I squeezed in over the next couple of days.

Interview at HitRadio
Interview at HitRadio

While in Swakopmund, I did an interview with the local radio station, WestCoast FM, and also visited the book shops in the area. I tried to be in full holiday mode for one whole day. My wife will probably say that even this day I was doing something work related. Thankfully, she is my light and my discipline when I really need it.

Meeting with Ruffy at UNAM Radio
Meeting with Ruffy at UNAM Radio

Then off we went to Windhoek, where a fellow author, Sylvia Schlettwein, helped open a lot of doors. She was vital in the planning and I will forever be in her debt. I urge all authors to keep contact with fellow scribes. Some take pride in distancing themselves from the writing community, but I love the art of writing and try to keep contact with those who share my passion.

With the morning team at RadioWave
With the morning team at RadioWave

I did interviews with HitRadio, UNAM Radio, RadioWave and NBC Radio, as well as a live interview on Good Morning Namibia. The book signing was done at the Book Den, an amazing book shop in the heart of Windhoek. Though shy, I love interacting with readers and enjoy answering questions, so this was great fun for me.

Chatting with some golks at the Book Den
Chatting with some golks at the Book Den

We all know that most authors struggle to make a living. If you don’t know, then this is a sad reality you will have to make peace with. So, in that vein, I set about planning a research trip, a book signing and marketing trip, and a family trip, and fitting it all in. This sounds easy enough, but it is not.

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And a crime author goes to Namibia

Talking at the Cape Town Book Fair
Talking at the Cape Town Book Fair

There is a common misconception when it comes to authors. People think the strangest things about them. Some believe it to be the most idyllic profession, involving trips around the world, exciting research missions, sold out book signings, celebrity treatment, and author groupies. Sadly, there is no such thing as author groupies. I get my wonderful wife to fill this position. Thanks to shows like Castle, the world seems to believe we go around having buckets full of fun. With fun and adventure in mind, a trip to Namibia would be the obvious destination for these imaginary writers. If only this was true.

Talking at the Knysna Literary Festival
Talking at the Knysna Literary Festival

 

The truth is, being an author is very hard work. When the passion for the perfect tale is over, and the book is finally closed, it becomes a business of sorts. We are forced to be more proactive on the marketing front. Let’s face it, one of the surest ways to meet new readers, is to tell them that you are, in fact, an author. The days of writing a masterpiece and leaving it out there in the great unknown, with the hopes that someone might stumble across your book, has passed.

Trying to get school kids reading and writing is not easy

Think about it. You have just journeyed with a number of different people you were very close to. You had intimate knowledge of their innermost workings and you love them as if they are family. Sure, you had to kill some of them off during the journey, but essentially all these characters were your babies. You are still suffering from a slight withdrawal symptom from each individual character, as they step out of the deepest parts of your mind, from the darkness where you had formed them, into the light, and now you are asked to move on as if nothing had happened. At this point, your most vulnerable post-writing recovery, you are tasked with promoting your book, and, what authors hate most, promoting yourself. Book signings, discussions, interviews, talking and more talking, etc. Oh, the agony. I also need to mention here that no one buys from a shy or boring author, so you have to be the sparky engaging version of yourself.

I know what you are thinking. What is this idiot complaining about? I can so pull that off, right? For most people this would probably be all fun and games, but I suspect most authors find this tedious, or, at the very least, a bit annoying. The authors I have had the privilege of engaging with, were rather reserved, not very boastful, and preferred to keep to themselves. We are storytellers. We observe, and dislike being observed by others. I have done the media drill, though in a diminutive form, and it will always be as much fun as it is exhausting.

My trip to Namibia was nothing different. Next week I will detail my trip for those who have an interest about how to plan and conduct a book trip to another country.

The leap from giving to Namibia

An old saying claims that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I wish I could expand more on the validity of this ancient phrase, or speculate more about its origin. What woes must have befallen the poor sap who had coined the phrase? Regardless from whence it came, it has certainly found roots in my life this year.

We began the year with a vision of giving. Not just in the charitable sense of the word, but in every possible way. The idea was to dig in and to try my best to give, share and help. Be it advice, money, activities or anything else. We wanted to give a little bit of ourselves to all those around us, but life has a way of throwing a spanner in the works now and then.The Fouche Family

Not long after my last post, our first child was born. I became daddy to the prettiest baby girl. I’m sure every father thinks his little girl is the prettiest. I do not wish to engage in a mine-is-the-cutest debate, but she is damn cute.James Fouche and Talya Lita

While fatherhood is an absolute adjustment, I believed it would still be possible to do my writing, both finishing of novels and penning new articles, while starting up a brand new business and focusing on our theme of giving. Then business took some interesting turns and I was forced to put writing a bit on hold while my wife tended to the little one. And, by the way, a baby should not be referred to as a bundle of joy. Where did that phrase originate from?!

Here is the thing about babies people tend to not warn fathers about. The first three months is not pretty, or cute, or beautiful, or any of those endearing words. That first part of a baby’s life is hard work. That’s right, I said it. The first three months for both parents is all business. You as a parent have been tasked with jump-starting a lump of flesh. It is basic biology. If you don’t feed the puppy, the puppy will die. Eat. Sleep. Crap. Repeat.

The importance of having a bunny friend
The importance of having a bunny friend

It was at this point, the pinnacle of adjustment, that life shifted a gear into chaos. We were just getting to that balance where we could cope with our annual theme, our new addition to the family and business. Alas, it was not meant to be. We might feel we are in control of how things go, but it is evident that we are not.

It was on a particularly blue Monday that I heard my mother had passed away, aged 62 and fairly healthy. This was a shock to the system, me and our house, and eventually, the business. I had to travel often to take care of the funeral and tend to estate matters, leaving the business in the capable hands of my staff.Eileen Fouche

Trials come and go, much like death and taxes. Then life goes on again. In light of this year, the one thing I am constantly reminded of, is the fact that life, in all its abundance and beauty, is also a finite thing, a flicker at best, and the only real sense of fulfilment is the manner in which we have occupied our time here. I am filled with a desire to do more, to reach further and to spend every minute wisely. By that I mean quality over quantity. Circumstance is a thief of time, constantly convincing us that the unforeseen and the inevitable has to take precedence. But there is nothing that should take precedence over family time. Nothing. If you MUST work, then find a way to do it with your loved ones or make sure that you set aside time for your family.

In the next post I will explain a bit more about my book tour to Namibia, and how I try to juggle between author, husband and daddie.

Fouche of Sedgefield and his trusty bedouine guide, Talya abu Lita.
Fouche of Sedgefield and his trusty Bedouin guide, Talya abu Lita, preparing to tour Namibia.