I grew up in Waterloo, Iowa, USA. Waterloo is the place where most of the green John Deere tractors in the world are made. It’s next to the Cedar River which flows into the Mississippi.
In 2011 I travelled to Mozambique with my father-in-law and some others on a short-term mission trip to work with Food For the Hungry. On that trip I met a few people who had amazing life stories. For a while I tried to write a non-fiction account of their stories. I wasn’t able to pull that off (yet) so eventually I started a short novel that was set in Mozambique. I also wanted to put some of my hometown into the story so it’s partly set in Iowa and partly in Africa.
3) The story travels to Mozambique, have you ever been there? Can you tell us 5 great things about the country?
There are so many great things about Mozambique! Here are a few
– There are children everywhere. Fifty per cent of the population is under 15!
– The singing and dancing there is joyous and straight from the heart.
– Cynicism is rare.
– The coast along the Indian Ocean is beautiful at sunset.
– The large animal population (elephants, lions, etc.) is growing again.
– The Zambezi River is stunning.
4) How does the title of the book link to the orphan Halkeno?
I’ve often thought that our lives are like rivers. Sometimes we’re in the centre current where we should be and sometimes
we’re too near the shore. I used the metaphor of the river as the centreline of the book. Halkeno’s river (life) takes many twists and turns but in the end he finds his way to his true home. (Note: there is a real man named Halkeno and his story is more amazing than the story I tell in the novel. I hope he lets me write it someday.)
5) One reviewer of your book says it’s written in the style of an African Folk Legend, that’s a great honour! Has your love of a good tale inspired your Kickstarter project?
Thank you! I appreciate my reviewers very much (including, and especially, you Rosie Amber). Its an honour to have someone take the time to thoughtfully write about your creative works.
I had an idea where I wanted to have the main character in a series of short novels travel to each state in the U.S. The Kickstarter project came out of my desire to find a way to get people to “vote” for which state I should start with. I thought that people could “vote” by donating $5 or donate more and essentially pre-order the book. It was a way to involve more people in the creative process.
6) Tell us a bit more about what you hope to achieve in this new project and how you want people to get involved.
I will be the first to admit that a Kickstarter project for an unwritten novel is a bit odd. What I’m *attempting* to do is:
– Get some feedback on the idea so I can be relatively sure the idea isn’t dead on arrival
– Get people excited about choosing the state in which the first novel is set (I know, I know, this isn’t a very “global” project. Very U.S. focused. My next series should be Thirteen Shires Of Peace)
– Build some buzz for the launch of the series later this year
– I would use the funds that were raised primarily to hire a professional copyeditor and promote the book upon its launch
I’ve already had some great feedback about the idea and the intro I’ve written. I know need to change the working title and rework the cover a bit.
7) Do you have a time scale that you’d like to work to for the first drafts?
In the Kickstarter project I say I’ll have the first novel done by the end of December. That would mean the first drafts need to be complete in the next 6-8 weeks.
8) What can readers do to help you promote the project?