I wrote sitting up in bed with my laptop balanced on my duvet. Morning birdsong, sleepy breathing and purring cats were the soundtrack, very at odds with the story I was trying to tell.
Tragically, the whilst writing the last chapters of BLACK DOG SUMMER, a friend’s father was murdered in a botched robbery. It gave painfully fresh insight into the fallout experienced by a family after such a violent loss.
IF I’D KNOWN WHAT I WAS EMBARKING ON BEFORE BEGINNING THIS BOOK, I’D HAVE BEEN TOO TERRIFIED TO WRITE IT…
What did I know of how it feels to die? How could I speak of watching those you’ve left behind battle a shadowed entity spawned by your violent murder, hungry for chaos? How could I even begin to touch on Africa’s ancient and intricate mysticism?
I couldn’t. I still can’t. But now I know what it means to have tried, to have journeyed further into imagining than I thought possible and emerge, altered, on the other side. It has been an extraordinary adventure, and perhaps I am a little less cowardly now that it is done.
WHEN I WAS LITTLE, THERE WAS A MASSACRE ON A RURAL FARM THAT RESULTED IN THE DEATH OF SOMEONE I KNEW…
It was the first time my life was touched by violence and it affected me deeply.
BLACK DOG SUMMER was born from the fears and questions that had been plaguing me since. The fact that farm murders still happen in Southern Africa today made my need to tell the story both more pressing, and more daunting.