Deciding where to start a story is not always clear cut and, because I came at this book with a story plan that was loosely based on The Canterbury Tales, that followed several people’s experiences, there’s a fair amount of flashbacks and jumping ahead, whilst following along the main timeline of the safari. I hope I succeeded in making sense of the flow in the novel, but when I began to look ahead to marketing issues and found a need for a book blog, I quickly realised that I needed to streamline things more, so people could get a flavour of what goes on and where in the story more clearly.
We first meet main character, Sophie Taylor and her safari companions on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls, and the story roughly follows their itinerary from there into Zimbabwe and then Uganda and finally, after it’s over, into Tanzania where Sophie starts her new job. A magazine treatment, based on their journey (with the odd deviation when the backstory dictated) gradually presented itself as a useful solution for the blog as it gave me an opportunity to include some of my own personal background, influences and research information on the countries in which Milele Safari are set, and to including short synopses on each of the Tales that ‘happen’ in that region. What’s good for my own blog should surely work for a blog tour too! So, this is your personal invitation to join me on a ‘blog safari’ that tells the true-life inside story behind Milele Safari, through the real and almost real lands depicted in the book…
… the Tales play out through the auspices of several point of view characters and their narratives, some through flashbacks into the past, or through a journal device that joins the various strands of their Tales together.
THE VOICES are:
Sophie Taylor ~ a doctor specialising in EMDR therapy, who returns to Africa to work for an aid agency running clinics for victims of the Zyandan genocide, still suffering from the ravages of post-traumatic stress disorder and other ills 13 years on.
Sister Teresa ‘Terry’ Olatunde ~ a battered and maimed orphan of the horrific war and famine in Biafra, whose valiant, but ultimately rash attempt at intervention to rescue terrified Zyandan refugees, results in her making the ultimate sacrifice.
Harry Burton ~ a highly accomplished Zimbabwean game guide and hunter whose memories of colonial childhood and adult experience of civil war and ecological vagaries pours light on yet more aspects of life in modern Africa.
David Mukuga ~ the boy soldier who witnesses his comrades slaying Sister Terry and two other men at a refugee camp, whose adult life is dogged by inescapable guilt and despair as he struggles to rehabilitate himself and make amends for his grisly past under the watchful eye of the mother of his dead best friend.
Verity Beleshona ~ a strong and principled woman who lost her entire family to the genocide, trying to transcend the tragedy and working tirelessly to help her countrymen ‘pay the amnesty’ of survival and rebuild shattered lives in a new UN-sponsored community project, the Mgakera Enclave, on the borders of Zyanda and Tanzania. Sophie’s thread is the one that binds them all together as she eases back into working life in Africa, meeting Harry and his nephew, vet Luigi Ogilvy, on the way, before taking up her new role as a consultant clinician in the Zyandan community of Mgakera, just over the border from Umbeke in Tanzania.
Author Bio: I live near Launceston in Cornwall, UK with Toby and Benji the Springer Spaniels – it’s a tie between us all as to who’s maddest, but as I outrank them in being weird anyway it’s not open to debate really. I’m physically lazy with things that don’t hold much interest for me (so that’s mostly housework and, increasingly, cooking…), but I love where we live, mainly because I chose it for being so quiet and off the beaten track, very close to the moors and quite near to the sea. I also love books, both to write and to read, the latter of which can be very eclectic (I enjoy Julian Barnes, Kate Atkinson, Jeanette Winterson and will happily admit to Jilly Cooper too) but in the main I’m heavily into SF&F, particularly Tolkien, Terry Pratchett and Julian May, although I can pass on Zombie Apocalypses fairly easily… …how I’ve chosen to write about Africa for my first novel may be something of a surprise to my friends, but if you read it you may find that all of the above information manifests in there somehow!
Future projects include a futuristic fantasy series, loosely grounded in Celtic myth – The Shadow Chronica (http://havenlands.blogspot.co.uk/), which is kind of stalled at present, but I’ll be dusting it off as summer gets in full flood with the first novel hopefully available at the tail end of 2016.
Book Blurb: Milele Safari back blurb – Milele Safari – An Eternal Journey …twines around a single day, in an unremarkable border village that snuffs out the lives of four people and shatters many others, only to draw the survivors back to a different time and, perhaps, a hope of atonement and peace. Step out on the journey and discover an Africa that could have been, is and might one day come to be.
Book links – Amazon (print & eBook) – http://www.amazon.com/dp/0992747201/
Barnes & Noble (print only) – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/milele-safari-an-eternal-journey-janette-mary-hawke/1117529970?ean=9780992747206
Milele Safari blog – http://milelesafari.blogspot.co.uk/p/taster-1.html
Book Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkJsS5vtJjg
Social Media links
Twitter – @JanHawke
Facebook Author page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jan-Hawke/386239624841750
Author blog – Jan Hawke INKorporated http://janhawke.me/
4WillsPublishing Link: AUTHOR EVENT – http://4wills-hawke.chatovod.com/