In August 2015 I traveled to the seaside town of Hermanus (Western Cape) to escape a bad case of cabin fever and to seek inspiration to write my very first novel. The journey started during that cold, rainy week but I have to admit I had no idea what I was doing. It took a long time to research and develop the fictional world, the plot and characters and I asked Johan Vos, a friend of mine with news editing experience, to give some initial input. His guidance assisted me greatly, but I got side-tracked.

Over the past four years there were many times that I just abandoned the project. Both emotionally and from a technical point of view. On occasion it took me months to return to the long forgotten draft, rusting in my digital files. But for some reason, I never quit.

My friend Gifford Peché introduced me to Samantha Miller, a researcher and lecturer in the field of publishing at the University of Pretoria, who in turn introduced me to Henk Breytenbach, a published author (Kodenaam Icarus, Moordlys). By then I had a much more appreciable manuscript, but with no regard for most of the rules of fictional prose and even less for the reading habits of the poor reader. I was lazy and of the view that freedom of artistic expression was much more important than rules. Samantha and Henk’s honest criticism proved to be invaluable to my growth as a writer, but I also completed two massive open online courses (MOOC’s) in creative writing through the University of Iowa which helped me even further.

Where am I now? Well, I’m at the stage where I need to make a few important decisions. Either I obtain the services of an experienced fiction editor and self-publish the novel (named Live to Tell the Tale), or I submit proposals to publishers and wait to see which one bites. In the meantime, I thought to start by building this website and sending out newsletters to whomever wants to listen. I’m considering the possibility of publishing the first few chapters free of charge.

In my life I’ve been exposed to so many great South African musicians and it was only natural that I collected songs I listened to during the writing process that served as a kind of soundtrack to the book. You will find the Spotify playlist on the HOME page. These songs provided me with creative inspiration and some gave me emotional support to get through difficult scenes. I intend to publish the bands and song names in footnotes at crucial parts in the novel.

So, let me know what you think of my website and ideas so far. Please provide me your name and address on the FIRST CONTACT page if you want to be on my mailing list.

Yours faithfully,

Marinus Mans