Friday, May 18, 2012

Author's Pie: SA Partridge

Welcome to a fabulously delightful edition of author’s pie. 

Photo © Warren Talmarkes
A chance for you to have your cake and eat it too when it comes to local authors: the segment that allows us to showcase fabulous local writers, their books and all things deliciously book.

First up in the oven is Sally Ann Partridge, Editor, Writer, blogger and award-winning author of three novels, The Goblet Club, Fuse and Dark Poppy’s Demise. Her short stories include: Triolet, Mauritius and One am, which appears in the Home Away anthology.

You can find SA Partridge on her BooksLIVE blog or on Twitter.

Now for the delicious crust of the pie ...


1. What is your favourite genre of book to read?
That's an easy one. YA. YA. YA. I have a huge collection of YA at home, and my to- read pile is actually ridiculous. YA is like the kid sister of the other older, more serious genres that dyes its hair a million colours and pierces its bottom lip and sticks diamantes all over it's pink Blackberry. All of my most recent favourite reads has been YA. Bethany Griffin's Masque of the Red Death is a steampunk take on the classic Poe story. It's excellent on so many levels. And everyone should read Jandy Nelson's The Sky is Everywhere which tackles death and grief but is really, really beautiful. It's more of an art piece than a book. I read a lot of South African fiction, and I'm quite proud of my collection, but my true love will always be YA.

2. Tell us what your opinion is on the level of South African YA fiction out on shelves at the moment?
There are so many exciting South African YA books out on the shelves at the moment, and the fact that most were written by women pleases me no end. Mother and daughter writing duo Sarah and Savannah Lotz have taken the market by storm with their Deadlands series. Deadlands is contemporary and cool and awesome; no wonder kids love it. I was also blown over by Cat Hellisen's When the Sea is Rising Red which is a fantasy novel set in the seaside town of Pelimburg. These books are pure escapist fun. Deadlands is about a group of kids living in post zombie apocalypse Cape Town, while When the Sea is Rising Red tackles magic and superstitions. It's so refreshing to read good local YA fiction that isn't as serious as a lot of books out there. I'm also a huge fan of Edyth Bulbring's Melly series. Edyth has a lovely lightness about her writing that is a pleasure to read. I also loved Adeline Radloff's Sidekick, which is the kick ass tale of a local super hero's teenage apprentice. It has a tinge of darkness to it that older readers will really appreciate. I could go on forever. I think young readers are really lucky with the quality of local YA fiction out there.
Photo © Warren Talmarkes

3. What inspires you most in your writing?
I recently wrote a really long blog about what inspired me to become a writer. Long story short - as a kid I always knew I was going to be a writer. I would scribble stories on every surface. I was really struck by the tale of that fateful night in 1816 when Lord Byron challenged his friends to a competition to see who could write the scariest story, and poet P.B Shelley's 20 year old wife Mary won hands down with her story, Frankenstein. I thought to myself, if a young Victorian woman could write one of the world's greatest stories, then what's stopping me? The story really inspired me to finish a book and send it out into the world.

What inspires me as a writer is a different kettle of fish altogether. Inspiration hits me at the oddest times. It could be the sight of the city at twilight when I'm driving over De Waal Drive, a splash of rain on my window when I'm listening to Sibot, Jack White playing on the radio, Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, a vivid dream still lingering in the early morning, a creepy looking house spotted out the corner of my eye. I also keep an inspiration journal of pictures, poems and clippings that I always keep handy when I'm writing.

4. What is the one book that made you think “I want to be a writer?”
This is a really tough one and I'm going to answer it in a really roundabout way. When I was younger and going through a tough time I used to cheer myself up by walking to the library and taking out the maximum amount of books that I was allowed. And every time I did this I used to see what Harry Potters were in and take one out, even if I'd read it a hundred times already. My favorite was The Goblet of Fire, and every time I felt bad I'd turn to the part where Harry's name was called out of the goblet and feel better. I still do this twenty years later, so I can safely say that is the one book that's made the biggest impression on me, and as a writer I can only hope to one day make the same impression on my readers.

Photo © Warren Talmarkes
5. Name one character (in any book you have read) that you would most likely punch in the face? Or hug? Or date?
Punch in the face: Draco Malfoy from J.K Rowling's Harry Potter series
Hug: Four from Veronica Roth's Divergent
Date: Ash Redfern from L.J Smith's Night World series


Sally's Books

The Goblet Club is a Gothic novel in the tradition of the highly successful Harry Potter series, but with distinctly South African features and set in a mysterious boarding school somewhere on the South African platteland. When Mark is sent to St Matthew's College for Boys, it is one more punishment for years of bad behaviour. The school has a reputation for knocking boys like him into shape, run with an iron fist by the sinister headmaster, Mr Crabtree. As soon as he arrives, Mark enters a sinister world of questions: what is Mr Crabtree's secret, and why does he have a miserable sixteen-year-old secretary? Are his new friends who they say are? Mark sets out to find answers, with his friends, Trent, Vlad and Francis. Together, they are the Goblet Club, dedicated to the study of poisons. They begin to use their potions to rid the school of a plague of rats, but as Mark is drawn deeper in, their thoughts turn to murder.

Kendall Mullins hates high school, almost as much as he hates the situation at home, but that all changes when Craig Baumgarten joins his class. Craig makes life at Percy Fitzpatrick High almost bearable, until the bullies set their sights on the new best friends and Craig hatches a plan to fight back with devastating consequences. As Kendall is drawn in deeper he finds himself in a situation he can't escape and its up to his brother Justin to protect him. The Mullins brothers flee the suburbs as they attempt to outrun the law and the wrath of their parents, but on the streets of Cape Town they find that life just got very real.
SA Partridge's explosive novel follows the success of The Goblet Club which won the I am a Writer Competition in 2007, the MER prize for best youth novel in 2008 and South Africa's English nomination for the Ibby Honour Roll.

All Jenna wants is for someone to notice her, but all everybody sees is a gawky teenager with an overactive imagination. But she leads a double life. As Dark Poppy, she can be herself. Her online friends see her for who she truly is: a sensitive, creative young woman with a talent for photography. When she receives a friend request from Robert Rose on Facebook, she doesn't hesitate to start up a friendship.
But then, why shouldn't she? He's the hottest guy she's ever seen; with emerald green eyes that seem to stare right through the computer screen...
Dark Poppy’s Demise has been shortlisted for the MER prize for youth fiction. 

You can find all Sally’s books at your nearest Exclusive Books


Bontle said...

This is a great interview - thanks! We're promoting it on our blog,, and we'll be sharing more of your work soon. is the flagship project of the Puku Children's Literature Foundation - an NGO aimed at bridging the digital and literacy divide for African children.

It's a Book Thing said...

Hello Bontle, I have seen the work you do with PUKU. Please feel free to share links off the blog. Also, feel free to contact me (see my contacts page) if you want me to do anything specific. Thank you for encouraging reading! Much book love!

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