Thursday, November 27, 2008

Lists _ Blog Novels

Updated March 24, 2010

A growing number of writers are using blogs as a way of making their literary efforts accessible to others. Below are links to some blog novels that we've been able to find. If you know of others, please do send us links and we'll include them here as well.

  1. About Ben Adams by Nora
  2. A Change in the Weather by Robert Gould [Interview]
  3. a fucking awful weekend by Albert
  4. a million penguins, a collaborative novel by various authors
  5. All Saints’ Day Novel (Super-Natural Heroes) by Patricia Herlevi
  6. Anonymous Lawyer by Jeremy Blachman
  7. Bartlett House by Patricia J McLean & Duane Poncy
  8. Beasts of New York by Jon Evans
  9. Blog Love Omega Glee by Wred Fright
  10. Brutus Weaver by A. Chatfield
  11. Bull City-in-Wonderland by Mel & Al
  12. Chaos Fighters by William
  13. Chaos Fighters: Cyber Assault by William
  14. Colony: Alchibah, a group sci-fi blog novel
  15. Corvus, by L. Lee Lowe [Interview]
  16. County Road by Parker Pruett
  17. Dark Inspectre by Jason Kahn
  18. Diamond Walker's Blog by Thomas D'Arcy O'Donnell
  19. Diary of a First Year Grad Student by Jonathan Vining [Interview]
  20. Diary of an Asylum Seeker by Ambrose Musiyiwa
  21. El Adán de metal [Mechanical Adam] by Edward Lancaster
  22. Escape the Beast by Colin Cohen
  23. Five Idiots You Meet in Heaven by Chris McElwain
  24. Flight Paths: a networked novel, with encouragement from Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph
  25. Frauds, Thieves and other Podvodniks by Colin Cohen
  26. Frostbite by David Wellington
  27. Gold Medal Murder by Cheryl Hagedorn
  28. Good People in Bad Times by Alex Sarmiento
  29. High Frequency by Nicole/Bill(?)
  30. House of Kidz by Colin Cohen
  31. imperfect seven: a romance of sins by 13
  32. In the Absence of White Rabbits by Alma Kroeker
  33. John John by Sam Smith [Interview]
  34. Letters To My Mother by Rebecca Heath
  35. Le Spirale Fantastique by Rohit Gupta
  36. Love After Marx by Stephen Gow
  37. Marionette by Timothy Sparklin
  38. Monster Island by David Wellington [Interview]
  39. Monster Nation by David Wellington
  40. Monster Planet by David Wellington
  41. Mortal Ghost by L. Lee Lowe [Interview]
  42. Mortal Happiness by H Z Hanssen
  43. My Walk by Rob Carr
  44. NotsoRealLifeStory by Danie Nel
  45. Only Begotten by Gary Glass
  46. PeaceMaker: a Thriller by Dan Ronco
  47. Plague Zone by David Wellington
  48. plan b by Diego Doval
  49. Privateers by Frank Martin
  50. Promises Divined by Dora McAlpin [Interview]
  51. Rebirth by Scott McKenzie
  52. Redeemer's Law by Dan Jolley
  53. Simon of Space by Cheeseburger Brown
  54. Single Mother on the Verge by anon
  55. So It Was Cancer by Frank Indiana
  56. Staying Single by Alison Norrington
  57. Sunset by Timothy Sparklin
  58. The Adventures of Rocket Boy and Lotus by Sally Warren
  59. The Book of the Enemy by David Wildman
  60. The Circle of Light by Jack Dillon
  61. The Fat White Woman by Clive Collins [Interview]
  62. The Ghost Danced by Emma Lee [Interview]
  63. The Grimmery by Tamyrlin Ink
  64. The Human Hoax by Mark Alexander
  65. The Meening of Life by G. R. Klein
  66. The Rising by Scott McKenzie
  67. The Tapestries of Oquis Book One: Tangled Threads by Big Mama
  68. The Satan Maneuver by Mark Alexander
  69. Thirteen Bullets by David Wellington
  70. Times Square by Colin Cohen
  71. Tread by Clayton Lindemuth
  72. Worlds Undone by llhaesa [Interview]
  73. You Might As Well Live by Carmen

Sunday, November 23, 2008

[Interview] Benjamin Stainton

Benjamin Stainton was born in Bury St. Edmunds and grew up in and around the Suffolk countryside.

His debut collection of poems, The Jealousies, was published by Bewrite Books in October 2008.

In this email interview, Ben Stainton talks about his writing:

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

Quite late really, I was 26 or 27. At that time, I thought of myself as a musician who occasionally wrote poetry, quite badly.

Around autumn 2005, I’d written some newer poems that seemed better, a little more assured, so I submitted a few for an anthology called The Soul Gatherer, and the editors accepted one called "9th of October".

The Jealousies was being published three years later, to the day.

Who is your target audience?

As this is my first book, just anyone who reads or has an interest in modern poetry I suppose. I'll be booking myself in for some readings shortly, so my target audience will be whoever's in the room.

How would you describe your writing?

Poetry comes more easily than prose, for me. My prose is a bit tepid, usually.

I prefer to write in a non-linear, abstract way, but keep it accessible, hopefully retain an emotional point of contact with the reader, somehow.

I think my style changes from day to day. I don't feel settled into one particular mode of writing yet, and I'm unsure if a writer has to do that -- to "find their own voice" as the saying goes. I prefer speaking in a number of voices.

At the moment, I’m writing about contemporary and historical figures, real and fictional, usually people approaching a crossroads or involved in a drama of some kind. I see it as empathetic poetry; attempts to identify someone else’s interior world.

Who influenced you most?

When I started writing seriously, Arthur Rimbaud and Sylvia Plath were major influences.

Others included Keats, Berryman, Eliot, Hemingway, maybe Dylan Thomas.

Outside of literature, Van Gogh and the abstract-expressionists; a huge range of music, films, adverts... too many sources and people to name.

I also think poetry, and other art forms that may rely on the subconscious, draw on influences already forgotten by the artist.

How have your personal experiences influenced your writing?

The Jealousies is quite autobiographical, not entirely, but about two thirds of the poems are based on personal experience. It's very preoccupied with the past. Almost a sloughing off of the past, in a way. My newer writing is moving away from the personal, perhaps becoming a little more expansive.

What are your main concerns as a writer?

My main concern is to make an emotive or unconscious connection with the reader, but also to reveal or propose something about myself, to myself.

I deal with those concerns as best I can, by writing in a way that moves me, and I hope others can relate to.

What are the biggest challenges that you face?

To keep improving, I suppose. No one wants their first book to be their best. Bob Dylan said something like -- an artist who feels he's arrived is finished. I hope to always be on my way somewhere.

Do you write everyday?

Well, hopefully my charming employers won't read this, but I have quite a superfluous job where there isn't much to do, so I write at work. Usually I'll have a vague idea about what I want, or where it's heading, or a certain feeling will come over me -- a little scenario or tableaux pops into my head -- which can happen anytime. I'll then write, edit, re-write and arrange until the poem is finished. This could take minutes, or weeks.

What would you say The Jealousies is about?

The book is about me, essentially. It's determinedly personal. The section titled "Film" purports to be about other, famous people -- Thomas Chatterton, Lucrezia Borgia, Amy Winehouse -- but my own personality creeps in.

Most of the poems were written in 2007, although a handful are older.

I sent an abbreviated version of the book to Sam Smith at The Journal, who’d accepted a few of my poems, and on his recommendation Bewrite agreed to publish.

What did you find most difficult when you were working on the book?

I'm something of a perfectionist, so I have major difficulties finishing anything I care about. Think I drove Sam (who also edited the book) slightly insane with my constant revisions, additions, deletions etc. In the end he had to tell me to stop.

What did you enjoy most?

I enjoyed the whole process really. For someone who has been creating for years, learning the book would be published and fleshing it out with new work was a good feeling, like a justification.

What sets the book apart from other things you have written?

Well, although this is my first book, I can compare it to earlier poems, which tended towards a more surrealistic style -- automatic writing with no prior considerations at all. I was basically writing for the sake of it. Hopefully there's a little more coherence and fluidity to what I'm doing now.

In what way is it similar?

I think I still approach and attack from similar angles, with surreal elements, but my stuff now tends to be rooted in reality. Maybe a deformed version of reality.

What will your next book be about?

It will probably be a series of longish poems or dialogues, each told as a first person narrative. I'd like to express something about the modern world, make use of colloquial language, be a little less "poetic" in the old-fashioned sense, but hopefully retain a dreamlike sensibility. Strong characterisation is paramount. They'll be character poems: life-affirming, life-despairing.

What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?

The fact a small group of people, unknown to me personally, have trusted my writing enough to publish it, is my only accomplishment so far. But I'm very, very ambitious. I want to write poetry that endures, that sums up a certain level of existence. I want to push myself over the edge.

Possibly related books:


Friday, November 14, 2008

[Interview_1] Zukiswa Wanner

South African author Zukiswa Wanner has a degree in journalism from Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu, Hawaii.

She has contributed material to newspapers and magazines that include the Sunday Independent, Oprah, Elle, Juice and Afropolitan.

Her debut novel The Madams (Oshun Books, 2006) explores race relations while her second novel, Behind Every Successful Man (Kwela Books, 2008) looks at what happens when husband and wife roles are reversed. Both novels are set in post-apartheid South Africa.

In this email interview, Zukiswa Wanner talks about her writing:

When did you start writing?

I started writing when I was five. As a prospective published writer though, I was kind of pushed into it by South African writer Lewis Nkosi who had seen some of my opinion pieces and suggested that I should consider writing fiction. I told him I was too much of a realist to write fiction and he told me it was the greatest bull he had ever heard.

I thought it a challenge and in two weeks I had written the first draft of The Madams. I sent it in its rawness to another Drum-era journalist -- the now late Doc Bikitsha -- and he loved it and suggested that I make it longer. He also sent me a list of five publishers to send the manuscript to and of the five, three accepted it. I picked one out of those three, went through a rigorous editing process and the rest, as they say, is history.

How would you describe your writing?

I write stories of contemporary South Africa.

In my writing, I generally focus on the middle class because I believe I see enough of poor stories in Africa on CNN.

Who is your target audience?

I write something that resonates with me and that I would enjoy. It's just coincidental that there are people who have read my work who seem to enjoy it -- which I suppose is an indication that ultimately, many of us have similar aspirations.

Which authors influenced you most?

Zimbabwean author, Shimmer Chinodya because I love the way he manages to bring out serious issues through humour (and therefore not sound preachy). I also love George Orwell's cynicism.

How have your personal experiences influenced your writing?

Apart from language usage, not much.

I tend to use other people's stories -- so some of my friends have been bastardized in the two books that I have written, in one way or other.

What is your main concern as a writer?

My main concern is probably writing something that's entertaining enough for people to keep turning the pages in these days of short attention spans.

How do you deal with this concern?

I am yet to know how to deal with it because traditional 'intellectual' readers want me to be more serious when writing while people who generally have never read tell me how much they enjoy my conversational style. I shall have to keep 'practicing' so I can create a balance between the two.

What are the biggest challenges that you face?

My greatest challenge is being referred to as 'a good female writer' as opposed to just being a good or bad writer. I think it's awfully patronizing and I tend to dismiss people who refer to me as that because my writing (essays, blogs et al) is not limited to 'female issues' (whatever that is) and even if it was, women make up half the world anyway.

Do you write everyday?

I write every day. Mostly emails and responses to people on facebook. But I also generally wake up at about midnight and write throughout the night daily.

I then take a shower, take my son to creche, and then come and sleep for most of the day unless I have assignments that just can't be put on hold.

How many books have you written so far?


The Madams (Oshun, Nov 2006) is a story of the friendship of three women in today's Johannesburg and the issues they experience.

The novel explores questions like: Is HIV/AIDS just a disease of those under 35? Does our Rainbow Nation tag mean we, in South Africa, are truly over our racial issues and racial labels? Is domestic violence merely a disease of the lower classes? In spite of women getting top jobs and the best Constitution in the world, are women really equal [to men] in today's South Africa?

The book is written in first person and the voice is that of one of the female protagonists.

My latest novel, Behind Every Successful Man (Kwela Books, June 2008) deals with traditionalism versus modernity and questions whether a woman can ultimately be satisfied with just being there for her husband and her children without pursuing her own dreams (well unless of course her dream is to be stay-at-home mom). It's written in third person and gives both the husband's and the wife's perspectives.

In Behind Every Successful Man, Nobantu decides she is going to leave her house to pursue her dreams, to the horror of her CEO husband Andile. He then has to learn how to be a father to his children as opposed to being a cheque book dad, while she has to learn how to be in business without the security of his money to fall back on.

How did you chose a publisher for your latest novel?

I left Oshun because the team that I had worked with on The Madams had all quit and I tend to like working with people I am familiar with (the royalty fee I was being offered at Kwela didn't hurt either!).

I chose Kwela because I was already friends with a lot of their writers and knew the inside scoop, I also knew their publisher and many in their team.

The advantage, in addition to the aforementioned higher royalty percentage, is that they have a better publicity team. People actually stop me in malls now to tell me how much they enjoy my books (the down side is that I can't walk around wearing sweats anymore!)

Which aspects of the work you put into the book did you find most difficult?

Nothing because I was commenting on a time I am living (the present) unlike I suspect, if I had been writing a historical novel (yet another reason why I think Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is so brilliant).

What did you enjoy most

Sometimes I just have a line that feels right. In Behind Every Successful Man that line was from Nobantu's mom as repeated by her mother, "Better to cry in a limo than laugh in a taxi".

What sets Behind Every Successful Man apart from The Madams?

The style as I have highlighted above. And the fact that I actually have a male voice in Behind Every Successful Man.

Are there any similarities?

They both deal with issues that women I know have struggled with at one time or other.

What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?

Being featured as one of South Africa's Most Phenominal Women this year and my nomination for a South African Literary Award.

Related books:


Possibly related articles:

Monday, November 10, 2008

[Interview] Harry Hughes

Harry Hughes is an award winning song writer, a professor of psychology and an author.

His first novel, The Bait Shack was published by BeWrite Books in October 2008.

Hughes is also the subject of the National Book Critics Circle Award nominated book, Home Fires: An Intimate Portrait of One Middle-Class Family in Postwar America (Harper Collins Press, 1992), by Donald Katz.

In this email interview, Harry Hughes talks about his writing:

When did you start writing?

In 7th grade, at the age of 12, I was struck by a desire to both read and write fiction. The book that started it all for me was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. But the writer who really grabbed me and refused to let go was Edgar Allan Poe.

My father had bought me an LP record on the Vanguard label of Nelson Olmstead reading six highly abridged stories by Poe. I played it so many times that my parents were on the verge of breaking it over my head.

I then staring reading Poe’s works at full-throttle. Still 12 years old, I started writing short stories in dreadful penmanship on school notebook paper. Of course, they were terrible. They were speciously derivative of Poe, filled with gore but totally lacking in any sense of poetic prose. Yet, I persisted.

How would you describe the writing you are doing now?

Currently, I’m in a modern noir kind of groove that relies heavily on what I call the two eyes, irony and irreverence. But that could change.

I don’t write to a particular audience. But because I am of the so-called “baby-boomer” generation in the USA, the many references to that cohort’s culture in my works probably invite people of my age to be drawn to my fiction. But I certainly hope, that is not strictly the case. I, like most writers, would appreciate a wide readership.

What motivated you to write in this genre?

If I said that I wasn’t necessarily motivated to write in any genre, that would only be partly true. My personal experiences and favorite authors drew me to a style of writing that is best expressed in that genre, but I hope to expand.

Who influenced you most?

Almost everything I write derives from some personal experience, even if not directly. I believe firmly in the old adage, “Write what you know about.” When I violate that principle, I sense a palpable fakery in my work.

Without doubt, the two living authors who have most influenced me are Thomas McGuane and Don DeLillo, and other writers of the same generation who seem eager to shed the overly introspective style of the past’s great authors and instead pursue crisp narratives whose most salient feature is an underlying sense of irony and brooding menace. These authors seemed to be saying more with less words. And, I feel as though they are speaking directly to me.

My early Poe obsession did not carry over into my adult writing.

What are your main concerns as a writer?

Quite honestly, my main concern is for my books to sell by the busload. Having said that, however, when my readers finish one of my works, I would like them to feel that the time spent doing so was well worth the effort.

No doubt, the biggest challenge is recruiting a loyal following in an age when cut and paste, word processing devices allow anybody, talented or not, to cobble a farrago of paragraphs that might qualify as a “novel” in the loosest interpretation of that word.

How do you deal with this?

There is only one way of dealing with that challenge that I can think of. Just keep plugging away. Try to make each book or story better than the last one.

Even if one spends a year writing something that turns out to be less than what one’s standards dictate, don’t try to get it published. Dump it or rewrite the thing.

Do you write everyday?

My ability to write fiction arrives in spurts. When I’m on a roll, then yes, I’m tapping away on the keyboard every day. But I cannot force inspiration. It needs to develop naturally, usually from an interesting event or idea that sort of pours through me instantly. Then I become a man possessed.

Books or stories need to end themselves. I once started a novel that I felt others would find very funny, but I couldn’t stretch the tale into a whole novel without diluting the humor, so the work became an 81-page novella. If I had pushed it beyond its natural ending, the result would have amounted to an exercise in contrivance.

How many books have you written so far?

Before I seriously turned to writing fiction, I was a scientist (now I’m a college professor). So, I had been published only in hard-core science journals.

In 1998, Barbara Stone, editor of a monthly volume of short stories titled Hampton Shorts was looking for new material. I submitted "A River too Distant" and it was accepted for publication along with works by Joseph Heller and Albert Albee in Hampton Shorts, Volume 3, 1998.

My debut novel, The Bait Shack was published by BeWrite Books in October 2008.

How long did it take you to write The Bait Shack?

The first draft of The Bait Shack took nine weeks to complete. But multiple drafts of the manuscript followed until I felt it was publishable. Writing these subsequent drafts consumed much more time than the nine weeks of the first draft.

How did you chose a publisher for the book?

I signed a contract with BeWrite Books on February 21, 2008.

BeWrite had been favorably referred to me by a very dear and close individual who had already published a novel with them. I find the BeWrite team to be amazingly supportive and have yet to come upon any regrets for signing with them.

Which aspects of the work you put into the book was most difficult?

As a first-time, unknown author, the most difficult aspect of the whole writing process was to find an agent even willing to consider the manuscript.

My spirits were lifted temporarily when a literary agency in Dallas, Texas (Karen Lewis & Company) liked the manuscript enough to take me on as a client. But, they couldn’t find a publisher for me.

Truthfully, I wasn’t surprised. I knew that the book still needed some serious revisions. After making those revisions, and knowing that I now had something of value to submit, I considered an e-publisher for the reasons stated above so as not to undergo the whole agent excavation project again.

What did you enjoy most?

The most enjoyable part of the writing process was creating a circuit that began with ideas, then choosing the right words to express them, then watching the words appear on the screen as I typed, then having these words feed back into my mind, which lastly created a visual “movie” of the book in my head as it went along. If you know you are on to something good, then the circuit I’ve just described results in a feeling like no other.

What will your next book be about?

My next book is already finished and ready to go. The title is Horseshoes, which is the novella that I spoke of above. With it are five (long) short stories, one of which is "A River Too Distant" that was published by Hampton Shorts as noted above.

Horseshoes is a comic novella about an aeronautical engineer's mid-life crisis precipitated by one too many trips to the drawing board. His irrational fugue state carries him from East Hampton to Dallas to New York City with relentless irony shredding the seat of his pants.

How would you describe the other short stories in the collection?

In "Swoop", two U.S. Marine combat veterans concoct an outrageous plan to keep a young surfer from being shipped to Viet Nam.

In "A Dollar Twenty-Five Per Mile", a Long Island night-shift hacker eyes the beautiful day driver Althea from an immeasurable distance. One morning, he cashes in and drops to the back seat of her taxi. "California," he tells her.

"A River Too Distant" is about an African-American repo man who reclaims the Honda Civic of a white southerner abruptly fired from his job at the lumberyard. But Duck and his chainsaw are ready for him.

"Hector's Drunken Buddha" tells the story of an aimless, underachieving Latino who rediscovers his self-worth following a nightmarish weekend of migraine headaches, prescription drug abuse and the death of two close friends.

And in "Fry Cook", a North Carolinian woman named Marnee tells the story of her otherwise gentle husband’s grotesque plan for revenge and its inevitable execution, an act that is both unnerving yet strangely reasonable.

More at OhmyNews International.

Possibly related books:


Friday, November 7, 2008

Interview _ Group Captain Peter Petter-Bowyer

Peter Petter-Bowyer was born in 1936 in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe).

He joined the Royal Rhodesian Air Force in 1957 and was a senior operational pilot during Zimbabwe's war of independence. He was also instrumental in designing and producing a range of aeronautical weapons systems that were used in the conflict. In 1980, with the advent of President Robert Mugabe’s rule, Petter-Bower retired as group captain.

His autobiography, Winds of Destruction (30° South Publishers, 2008) has been described as "a unique account" of service in the Rhodesian Air Force.

In this email interview, Group Captain Peter Petter-Bowyer talks about the concerns which informed his writing.

When did you start writing?

In 1984, I started recording the story of my life for my family. However, in 2000, friends read what I had written and persuaded me to expand the information as nobody had yet written an autobiography that covered the Rhodesian post-WW2 story of the Rhodesian forces and the political issues leading to the Zimbabwean era.

I ignored all the work I had previously recorded and, in January 2001, simply started from the beginning of my life in 1936 and kept going until the time I left Zimbabwe in 1983.

Why did you leave?

Having fought communism for 13 years, I had no desire to remain in a Marxist one-party state.

I moved to South Africa in early 1983 because my air weapons development work and operations knowledge were needed there. Settling in was not difficult because I was working and living amongst Rhodesians and English South Africans (i.e. not Apartheid Afrikaners).

What sets your book apart from the writings of others who grew up and lived in the same environment?

Mine was a unique situation. However, the big difference is that I made a record whereas others did not.

What were the biggest challenges that you faced?

All my diaries had been destroyed so I was almost wholly reliant upon my own memory.

I realized that some details may have been corrupted by time and that my own recall of any particular situation might differ from others. Nevertheless, I knew the essence of my story to be honest and correct — so I simply told of things the way I remembered them.

How and why were the diaries destroyed?

Upon gaining power, Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF cohorts became paranoid about the security of their personal positions. This led to the implementation of laws that ensured white Zimbabweans were denuded of personal weapons, military paraphernalia and any Rhodesian documentation that might be used against ZANU.

Having handed in my own weapons in 1980, I took the precaution of destroying all my diaries. My book reveals some of the reasons why such hasty action was taken but I have lived to regret dumping 20 diaries into the septic tank of our Harare (then Salisbury) home. In hindsight, I realise that I should have buried them deep for later recovery. Nonetheless, the consequence of my error is that my book is, for the most part, written from memory.

Do you write everyday?

I wrote almost every day during working hours (my own business) and in the evening. Probably averaging six hours per day.

Which aspects of the work you put into Winds of Destruction was most difficult?

Memory was the most difficult aspect, particularly in remembering names and dates.

If it took too long to run through the alphabet to recall a name, I simply ran a dotted line … to be dealt with later. This worked fine.

What did you enjoy most?

I enjoyed the fact that I was able to remember my life in an amazingly ordered sequence. I also enjoyed sharing amusing stories along the way.

What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?

Receiving thanks and complements for the quality of my story from diverse individuals from all over the world (including Russia). This let me know that I was right to expose Rhodesia for what it really was.

Who is your target audience?

Primarily I wrote for Rhodesians. However, my book has attracted a great deal more interest from politicians and historians than I expected.

Given that Rhodesia no longer exists, who are the Rhodesians? Where are they? What are their hopes and dreams?

Believe me, Rhodesians are very much alive. I was born, raised and served as a Rhodesian. Like me, those who came from any place in the world and accepted that they were Rhodesians have continued to call themselves Rhodesians. The country’s name changed but not the fact of our nationality and patriotism.

Today Rhodesians are spread throughout the world and most who are able to work are doing well for themselves. Yet, almost without exception, their memories dwell on the joys of the life they experienced in Rhodesia.

Many black people who are old enough to remember also hanker for the days before Mugabe when jobs were plentiful, stomachs were full and their families were healthy and well provided for with proper schools and good medical services.

What are your views on what is happening in Zimbabwe at present? Do you think the situation will improve?

We fought a war to prevent precisely what is happening now. Admittedly, it took almost 20 years to occur whereas I thought it would take 10.

Mugabe was well-schooled in Marxism and has followed strictly the line “gain power then hold it forever by all means whether fair and foul”. He knows the world will not act against him and only fears that his armed forces may turn against him and his junta. Hence his militia thugs and Chinese Army forces sited north of Harare.

The [main opposition, Movement for Democratic Change] MDC can do absolutely nothing by following their democratic line. Only a disgruntled army can dislodge the present government. Rising levels of starvation and death have no effects on the fat cats in power. But the underpaid army is often hungry and soldiers hate the suffering of their families. I see this as the only hope of removing Mugabe and his junta, other than the death of Mugabe. But in that case the Junta may very well take over government in its present form.

How would you describe your writing?

Winds of Destruction is an autobiography which is the vehicle I used to tell of my involvement as an operational pilot with the Rhodesian Air Force, army, special forces and police and also to explain the political issues as they appeared to me.

I wanted to record the Rhodesian situation as I knew it. In so doing, I sought also to counter world-wide misconceptions of Rhodesia as created by British politicians and the media which, in turn, had been heavily influenced by world conditions arising from the Cold War.

What was the Rhodesia situation?

We wanted to retain government in responsible hands. Colour of the government was expected but at a sensible pace.

What were some of the misconceptions about the situtation? And, how did they come about?

Communist propaganda was amazingly effective during the Cold War. Added to communist propaganda were the socialist leanings of the British Labour party and its liberal media.

The world was persuaded that Rhodesians were racist supremacists dedicated to the retention of power in white hands. This was induced communist and socialist propaganda. Anyone who knows that we were governed by the 1961 Rhodesian Constitution will know that we desired to abide by the entrenched clauses that bound us to ‘unimpeded progress to majority rule’.

We knew that it was essential to retain government in responsible hands as we moved cautiously and sensibly to an eventual government majority of educated and experienced black people. The failure of African governments to our north was all too obvious. But our whole outlook was totally different to South Africa’s Apartheid system which we detested.

Yet, the USSR persuaded the west and its media to think otherwise. They did this to induce forced majority rule rather than allow a progressive move towards black government because that would destroy their need for broken down governments quickly. Their solution was to induce in their surrogates the need for ‘Immediate majority rule’. The British government extended this in Rhodesia’s case by demanding NIBMAR (No Independence Before Majority Rule)

As in all its actions to gain world power, the communists used other people to fight and bleed for them. In all situations, they knew that they were promoting unsuitable people to take power by force so as to destroy western and Islamic influence (in our case to destroy Britain’s colonies). In particular, they recognised that those countries overrun by their surrogate allies would ruin their countries through greed, inefficiency and corruption. This the communists welcomed because it would facilitate a bloodless take over when things got out of hand.

Well, Africa moved in the direction the USSR had hoped, but their form of communism failed and broke up even what they had achieved. In the meanwhile, the patient Chinese communist style continues in working slowly and quietly to bring about Chinese control of Africa. By 2050, they need to have found space for over 300 million Chinese people. This will be achieved by the surreptitious and progressive assumption of power from useless black politicians.

I have been saying, for over 40 years, that all of Africa will become a major component of the Chinese Empire. This can be seen already and will have full effect before 2050. Already the Chinese have gained control of some of Zambia’s copper mines and imported Chinese workers rather than use black workers. They ignore protests of the blacks who have lost their jobs and only pay the Chinese workers half of what the blacks would expect. In Zimbabwe, Mugabe has already given away mines and land which the Chinese will man with their own people at low cost. Similar things are occurring in Zaire and other African countries. The writing is on the wall but the blacks cannot see what is coming. Real racist oppression is on its way to the poor ordinary black folk.

This article was first published by OhmyNews International.

Monday, November 3, 2008

[Interview] L. Lee Lowe

Short story writer and novelist, L. Lee Lowe holds an M.A. in English Literature and Linguistics from the University of Heidelberg.

She publishes her short stories on the blog, Into the Lowelands.

Her debut novel, Mortal Ghost, is also available in a variety of formats online. Readers have the added options of being able to listen to podcasts of the novel or to download it as a PDF file or e-book.

Lee Lowe was born in the United States but now lives in Germany. Before that, she spent 18 years in Zimbabwe. Currently she is working on a second novel, Corvus.

In this email interview, she talks about her concerns as a writer.

Do you write every day?

I write every day unless ill, or when family events make it impossible.

I begin with checking my email and a few blogs, then reading a new or favourite poem and one entry from an etymological dictionary.

After that, I revise what I've written the day before, sometimes more, then write till I've at least reached my daily quota, which at the moment stands at 500 words. I never stop unless I know what I'm going to try to write the next morning and will often break off in the middle of a sentence so I don't have to face a blank page, so to speak.

I'm a slow and painstaking writer and cannot just let the words flow, but rewrite and revise each sentence obsessively.

How long did it take you to write Mortal Ghost?

Mortal Ghost is the story of a homeless lad with certain uncanny gifts and a past which he's trying to escape.

It took me two years to write it, after which time I cut it to less than half its original length on the advice of my former agent. When we couldn't agree any further, I decided to publish it online, which I've not regretted. Though there's a stigma attached to this sort of literary endeavor, and the disadvantage of not having an editor, I find myself quite happy with my independence. No one tells me what to write! Undoubtedly the novel is flawed, but the flaws are at least my own, and I hope to become better at self-editing in time.

The other major disadvantage to this form of publishing is developing a readership. I don't have a publisher or publicist behind me and am obliged to do all my own 'marketing' -- not easy for someone like myself, who dislikes any form of self-promotion.

How many books have you published so far?

I'm not a published writer in the conventional sense of the word, since my fiction is only available online. I prefer to leave writing careers to those who are younger. And as far as I'm concerned, the only real satisfaction is in the process, not in number of books sold or prizes collected or dollars earned.

My young adults' fantasy novel, Mortal Ghost is available online.

With the help of theatre student, Bill Uden, and the staff of Carmarthenshire College in Wales, the novel is also being podcast as an audiobook.

What did you find most difficult when you were working on the novel?

I'm weak at plotting, since I don't plan my novel in detail -- only a few scenes and a general narrative arc -- before I begin to write.

With my second novel, Corvus -- I've tried to plot more carefully, but it seems that I can't write this way. So I now look at my first draft as a beginning and rewrite from there. Very inefficient, but the characters and their concerns need to grow in some sort of organic fashion. And I find that I like to live with them for a long time.

What did you enjoy most?

Honing phrases and sentences. I enjoy playing with words, and there is no high like the high of getting it right!

What will your next book be about?

Corvus is a science fiction/fantasy hybrid set in a slightly alternate future in which the minds of teen offenders are uploaded into computers on the pretext of rehabilitation -- a form of virtual wilderness therapy. The novel is part thriller, part love story, part riff on the nature of consciousness.

The first chapter, subject to revision, is available online.

When did you start writing?

I've been writing off and on since childhood -- poems, school plays, stories -- but only began to work in a disciplined manner when my children were starting to leave home.

I had taken a job in public relations at the University of Bonn, which I detested. It soon struck me that it was a 'now or never' situation -- either fulfill my lifelong dream to write properly or see 'office drone' carved on my tombstone.

How would you describe your writing?

I write fiction, both short stories and novels. If I had a true poetic sensibility, I would love to write poetry.

Who is your target audience?

Though I have termed my first novel a young adult fantasy, it's a category I'm uncomfortable with. I don't ever think of my readers when writing, just the text itself.

Genre is more about marketing than literature.

Who influenced you most?

In my personal life, I'd have to say my father -- and not necessarily in a positive sense. It's very difficult to grow up the child of a brilliant and impatient man.

In terms of writers, there are too many to list, though at the moment I'm particularly fascinated by the work of Breece D'J Pancake, Amy Hempel, and poet Ron Slate. Next month you'll probably get a different answer!

Also, living overseas -- in self-imposed exile, so to speak -- means that I have neither home nor language in which I'm entirely comfortable. Who am I? Where do I belong? Which English is truly mine? are questions that underlie all my attempts to find an authentic fictional voice.

What are your main concerns as a writer?

Writing beautiful and authentic sentences.

How do you deal with these concerns?

Read and read and read; write and rewrite.

The biggest challenge, of course, is to write well, but I find it very difficult to battle envy -- not of material success, but of the skill and gifts of others. I'm easily depressed by the huge gap between how I'd like to write and how I actually do. And I'm lazy as well!

How do you deal with these challenges?

Discipline has been hard-won, mostly by viewing my writing as a job and setting myself daily goals: so many words before I leave my study.

A sense of inadequacy is far more difficult to cope with, and my husband and children are very supportive in this regard. Still, I'm often frustrated and depressed.

More at OhmyNews International.

Related article:

[Interview] Robert Gould, Conversations with Writers, September 19, 2008