As winter slowly creeps up on us, moth balls are flung out of jerseys and flasks of warm hot chocolate line our stomachs. If you're anything like me, then your To Be Read pile takes on a life of it's own and grows forth, so today I bring you some more local Author's Pie, with thriller-writer and femme fatal Jassy Mackenzie, who I remember, broke onto the scene with My Brother's Keeper (while it wasn't her first novel, it was certainly one that thrust her on to bestseller shelves) when I was still working nights at Exclusive Books. So without further adieu, I present Jassy Mackenzie.
1) Growing up, which books shaped your career in both writing and in reading?
Growing up I read enthusiastically and across all genres. Whatever I found in our house, which was full of books – mostly fiction – I would read. From the Modesty Blaise series to the Dark is Rising, and including authors like P.G. Wodehouse, Josephine Tey, Ruth Rendell, C.S. Lewis and many more.
2) As a sibling of five, are any of your characters based on any of your siblings?
I’d never be brave enough to base a character on any of my four sisters – or on any other person I know. Even if I tried to, I doubt that anyone would pick up the resemblance, because characters do take on a life of their own as the story develops and readers can also perceive them differently from how they are written. In Folly, the heroine does share a name with my oldest sister Emma. Emma is my most likeable character so I was delighted that my sister didn’t mind me borrowing her name.
3) You have written erotic fiction and crime, which one did you have the most fun with?
Erotic fiction is more fun to write than crime. When I write a book, I’m thinking about that book all the time, and so what I write flavours my attitude, perceptions and mindset. It’s more enjoyable to walk around in a haze of “just fallen in love” romantic bliss than it is to be puzzling over murder weapons, alibis, fight scenes and other logistics. Having said that, though, it is very satisfying in a completely different way to have the pieces fall into place as I finally manage to dream up a cunning plot twist in one of my thrillers. So, really, I’m very lucky to have the privilege of writing in both worlds.
4) Do you think there is a new trend for local fiction with the introduction of 50 SHADES OF GREY and the erotic fiction phenomena?
I hope that Fifty Shades will spark a new trend for locally written erotic romance – there are already established authors penning it including the three talented Capetonian writers who are using the pseudonym Helen S. Paige, as well as others I’ve heard of who are busy with their stories. There is a big market for it and I think it is a genre that South Africans are open to reading about in a local setting. Romance has always sold well in South Africa and it’s important to remember that erotica is a sub-genre of romance – it’s basically a love story that stays on the inside of the bedroom door when it closes.
5) What are you reading right now, and what do you think so far?
I’m currently re-reading all the Bill Bryson travel and science books I can get my hands on, but I’ve also recently enjoyed Room 207 by the immensely talented Kgebetli Moele, Bared to You by international romance author Sylvia Day, the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, and the young adult books by Lauren Oliver, with my particular favourite being Before I Fall.
Emma Caine is pushing forty and life is hitting her hard. Her husband has been brain damaged, she's lost her job, and she might lose her home. Instead of giving up, Emma starts hitting back. Drawing on experiences from a misspent youth, she opens a domination dungeon in an outbuilding in her garden and sets herself up as a dominatrix. Whipping, torturing and abusing the wealthy slaves who soon start lining up for her services is surprisingly easy for Emma, especially since she has no sexual contact with her clients. In fact, she believes them all to be sick perverts. The unthinkable happens when she falls in love with one of them – the disturbingly likeable Simon Nel. Fighting her emotions every step of the way, Emma finds herself drawn into a twisted and potentially doomed relationship that will force her to reconsider everything she thought she knew about love, sexuality and power.
When wealthy Pamela Jordaan hires PI Jade de Jong as a bodyguard after her husband Terence disappears, Jade thinks keeping an eye on this anxious wife will be an easy way to earn some cash. But when a determined shooter nearly kills them both and Jade finds Terence horrifically tortured and barely alive, she realises that she has been drawn into a wicked game.
At the same time, her relationship with police superintendent David Patel is on the rocks, and when David's child is kidnapped and his wife blackmailed, the situation takes a dramatic turn for the worse. More so when it becomes chillingly clear that all these crimes are connected. Jade must act, but her options are impossible. And for her this is much more than just another job.
When base jumper Sonet Meintjies plummets to her death from the top of a Sandton skyscraper, her jumping partner insists that it was no accident. Recovering from the end of her tricky relationship with police superintendent David Patel and trying to deal with the ugliness of her last job, P.I. Jade de Jong is initially reluctant to take on the case. But after initial investigations reveal that the victim worked to help impoverished communities, and that one of these communities has disappeared entirely, their houses razed to the ground, she cannot walk away. Digging deeper for answers, Jade learns of a mystery disease that swept through the entire community, killing everyone except for a mother and her son, whose whereabouts are unknown. When Sonet's journalist sister goes missing, Jade is desperate to find them, especially when her own life is under threat as a result. A deadly harvest has been gathered in, and the only person who knows the truth about it has been forced to become collateral in its trade ...
A dark winter’s evening. A lonely smallholding outside Johannesburg. A brutal shooting. The murder of solitary divorcee Annette Botha appears to be a botched hijacking, just another senseless crime in the surge of violence sweeping South Africa.
With his career at stake, newly promoted police superintendent David Patel is desperate to get results on this case. When his ex-boss’s daughter Jade de Jong arrives back in South Africa after an unexplained absence, she offers to help him with the investigation. Jade soon makes some troubling discoveries. Why did Annette hire a private detective a few days before she died? And why has the detective mysteriously disappeared?
While Jade races to uncover the murderer’s identity and crack open his chilling agenda, she has to keep her own secrets from David. The man who killed her father has just been released from jail. She has returned to South Africa to give him the death sentence he deserves. But Jade’s plans are shattered when one of her trusted contacts betrays her. Worst of all, Annette’s murderer remains one step ahead. He’s planning his final coup, and this time, there are to be no witnesses…
P.I. Jade de Jong's holiday becomes a nightmare when a dive instructor at the scuba resort is found brutally stabbed to death. The only clue is a cryptic postcard in her room. Jade and her estranged lover David Patel put aside their differences and start the hunt, uncovering a massive organised crime operation and a chain of events leading from a horror crash in North Africa to the St Lucia estuary. Jade soon finds herself in a deadly race to prevent an act of environmental sabotage that could destroy this world heritage site. Death is knocking on the door, and love and cunning is all she has left to fight it.
Arriving at a highway accident scene on a stormy night, Jo’burg paramedic Nick Kenyon finds only one victim – a critically injured young woman in the car’s passenger seat. In the ambulance, Nick agrees to take her phone and make an urgent call for her. He doesn’t know that the missing driver is part of a ruthless gang of robbers planning their biggest-ever heist – and Nick’s actions have just made him a target.
As an ex-mercenary with a dubious past, Nick knows how to kill as well as how to save lives. Now he’s going to need both these skills, because his past is back with a vengeance. The gang is led by his brother Paul, who has an old score to settle with him. Nick helped put Paul in prison once before, and Paul has vowed it will never happen again.
As the countdown to the heist shortens, Nick and Paul are pitted against each other once more in a deadly battle where there can be only one survivor…
You can find all of Jassy Mackenzie's novels at exclusives.co.za
You can find other Author's Pie segments here