Friday, November 28, 2014

The Interrogation of Sarah Key

Kia ora,
Please welcome our latest victim guest and fellow Rebel, Sarah Key. On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a bag of pineapple lumps. You can have them if you get through this. Everyone knows they’re best frozen hence the chill in the air and the ice forming on the puddle.
In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation - you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat and a handcuff key to those cuffs I’ve secured you to the chair with. How you get them is entirely up to you or more accurately, depends on how well you answer my questions.
You’ll also find a Glock 17 under the chair … behave and in the advent of disaster I’ll give you a full magazine and set you free.
Mess me around, I leave you where you are and you become zombie dinner.

 We good?
Think so, can hear my heart beating!

 What’s your favorite type of takeaway? (Yes, that means take-out in NZ speak )
Indian – chicken Khorma with roti

Describe your current mental status.
Bit of end of year fatigue but generally upbeat.   Birthday month for Scorpios and I’m a Christmas junkie!

Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?
I am about half way through the second book in what I plan to be a trilogy.   Scattered Seeds follows The Dandelion Clock.   Having dealt with several abhorrent men in my first, stand-alone novel, Tangled Weeds, I have turned my attention to dealing with the entangled lives of four young women.

Things are hotting up on the dry floodplains in Zambia. Besides magic sticks, Ikului has other things to trade in the big city and has to procure an urgent ingredient for the hunchback witch's muti... The rains are delayed and the villagers fractious and divided.
Derrick reaches Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) with the gangsters from the Cape Flats. He grossly underestimated their criminal enterprise. Their propensity for violence leaves him feeling as desperate as a sober drunk.
Joanie, Petra and Jon-Jon race to Lusaka when Liam is shot. Chistlehurst Manor looms before them, a palace of nightmarish memories...

What’s your favorite avoidance technique?
Fortunately I am highly disciplined and generally get to my desk to push on with work.   Daytime crime channel television (when all family members are out) can be a distraction, however!

Do you have a favorite coffee or tea?  

Tea – I drink it by the gallon!

 Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando?)
I get up at 5.45am.   On the Highveld in Gauteng (Johannesburg) we have the best weather so it’s not a hardship.   Pack lunches, cook breakfast and do a school lift before Adventure Bootcamp for Women – outdoor hardcore exercise class.  By ten I’m at my desk.    Loose ethnic comfortable clothes – definitely covered up!    The sight of my middle aged body would be a great distraction (and not in a good way!)
I write until school pick up and then drive my poor daughters – literally and figuratively!    You do not want to be the child of a mother who once was a teacher…  When extramurals and homework are taken care of I decompress in the kitchen cooking with a glass of white wine.   I am a great multi-tasker so I also manage about 45 minutes of writing in the early evenings before my tales get too wild (sometimes due to alcohol consumption).
After dinner I watch tv – the crime channel or read.   I generally go to bed around ten.  

Where do you do most of your writing? (Office? Outside under a tree? On a train? On a plane?)
In the dining room at the corner of the table I grew up around having conversations and delicious meals with my family and other interesting creatures.

What’s on your desk right now? (If indeed you work at a desk and not under a tree.)
My lap top, a half wrapped gift, a glorious bunch of flowers in a vase, a stack of papers that need filing, two telephones (land line and cell) Scattered Seeds notes and an intensive course book on Chinyanja – one of the many languages spoken in Zambia – I don’t speak it unfortunately!

Who would you turn gay/straight for?
 Probably Sandra Bullock

Yeah me too – Cat

Who are your favorite writers?
Jeffery Archer, Stephen King, Khaled Hosseini, Arundhuti Roy, Gillian Flynn, Caro Ramsay, Lisa
Gardner, Lynda La Plante
Love the Scandi crime fiction guys too - Stieg Larsson, Camilla Lackberg, Lars Kepler, Jussi Adler-Olsen

Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?
No although my children used to dress up our Jack Russell cross which thoroughly humiliated her.  

Describe your perfect day.
Lazy summer holiday in the bush or in Cape Town.   Read in bed with pots of tea.   Read on lounger at a pool with view of mountains.   Gin and tonic.    Al fresco lunch.   Read, take afternoon nap.   Go for walk.   Drink white wine and feast again with my family and friends.

Who is your favorite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?
I’m totally into the psyche of the villain although good must always triumph over evil.  I think Shakespeare’s villains such as Iago and Claudius give Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula a good run for his money.   Hannibal Lecter, Cruella De Vil, Satan (Milton’s Paradise Lost) all impressively dark…

Do you have any quirks?
Not really – I’m surprisingly ordinary and boring outside the realm of my imagination.

All-time favorite movie and why?
 Probably Mary Poppins.   Grew up on it and made it part of my daughters repertoire.   Love the magic and whimsy, the songs and Julie Andrews’s too white teeth.  

Red or white wine?

Do you enjoy the editing process? (Feel free to rave about Jayne here … she’s pretty awesome.)
I have learnt so much from my editor.   I cringe when I think of the first manuscript I sent Jayne and I can’t imagine why any write would self-publish without allowing an editor to improve their work.   It took me a few goes to cull 25 000 words, about a fifth of the novel!   Think my editor was too gentle – I respond to brutal but gather that a lot of authors are very precious about their words.   I had to work very hard with ‘It’s a cracking good tale, now make it a cracking good read,’ as a mantra.    I now am very mindful of amongst other things:   point of view, author indulgence, losing details that detract from the plot, pace, cliché…

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
South Africa.   It is home and where the heart is.  It provides the most extraordinary context for artists.  I might leave the big city though and live at the coast.

What is one thing you know about New Zealand?  (Please do not mention LOTR or The Hobbit. Am well over them! One mention of anything Tolkien related I’ll let in whatever is bashing on the door …)
It rains a lot and is comprised of two islands.
I love to watch the All Black’s Haka especially the pointed, pink tongue bit that those ferocious tattooed hunks do.

Favorite Pizza topping?
Spinach, feta and chilli (no I am not a vegetarian)

What were you before you became a writer?
High school English teacher, adult educator/university lecturer, life skills trainer, community development facilitator in HIV and AIDS, materials developer.

What is the most random thing you have ever done?
Wander around Europe for two years when I was 21

 If you’re not writing, what are you most likely doing?
Spending time with my family and friends

Who is your ultimate character?
Can’t do one so here goes - Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Jay Gatsby, Dorian Gray, Atticus Finch, Scrooge…   strange, they’re all men!

Inspiration – where do you get yours?
I am a highly creative person and came to understand a long time ago that I am most happy when I am using my imagination.    The thought of reaching the end of a novel when one can (hopefully) tie it all together in a thrilling climax drives me.   I love writing and am also inspired by my late father, Graham.  

Whiskey or Bourbon?

I can hear something trying pretty hard to get through the fire door … any clue what it is?    
No, but from the snarling and grunting I don’t want to wait around to find out.

Have you ever been to New Zealand? And if not, why not?
Unfortunately not.  Just too far and no relatives have emigrated!

What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in.)
A diary (yes, the paper kind) a purse (id etc don’t go anywhere without my credit card) a notebook, a few pens/pencils, not much else!   Not even make up or a hairbrush at this stage!

Are you apocalypse prepared?
Definitely not!    I’m an eternal optimist!

Laptop, PC, tablet?

Ebook or tree book?
Both, I love my kindle.

Tequila or vodka?
I love both but alas I had to give up tequila.   It is not befitting for a 45 year old woman to swing naked from the chandeliers.   Vodka.

Favorite apocalyptic scenario?
Terrifies the living daylights out of me….tidal wave approaching New York City… brrrr!

Do you write in silence or work best with background noise or music happening?
I don’t listen to music or anything like that but my family members are all big on chatting and so I can work with interruption and noise.

You made it. Good job. Now hold still. I need to undo those cuffs because whatever’s outside that door is coming in.
Grab the pineapple lumps and the Glock and let’s get out of here.
Follow me, there’s a secret passage.

Phew!  Thank goodness!   I’m right behind you.

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