Friday, September 6, 2013

Author's Pie: Emma van der Vliet

It's been a while since we've had pie - but since summer is slowly sneaking up on us, I couldn't resist offering up a morsel for you pie fans.  Today we have Cape Town-born author, she originally studied film, which gives the atmospheric element to her novels, but now lives in Observatory, Emma van der Vliet
Photo credit: Robert van der Vliet
1. Your novels are based around strong women facing a dilemma, what inspires you to write redemption for your female characters?
Hope? I encounter so many women who are so strong and warm and funny and who manage so courageously and with such humour despite the adversities that life throws at them. Women are bloody amazing. They deserve some redemption, even if it's only in fiction.
2. What do you love most about writing?
I love the sense of possession, the benevolent poltergeist that happens when characters take hold in my mind and began to have conversations - it's wonderfully entertaining during boring work meetings or while cooking fish-fingers or doing spelling homework. And I love the sense of being able to live multiple lives or parallel lives vicariously through the characters I write.
3. Name one literary character you would love to be?
I think I'd be Nancy Drew. A gay friend once told me, in a nice way, that I dressed like Nancy Drew, and ever since I've re-imagined her as a sexy geek gay icon I could aspire to. Either her or the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, so that I could shout a lot and lop off people's heads if they annoyed me. I think that would be very compatible with menopause. And most satisfying.
4. Chocolate cake or a creamy dessert?
Neither. I'd prefer a bracing boozy digestif followed by a cup of verbena tea. But I admit I'm a sucker for the occasional malva pudding or creme brulee...
5. Where would be your dream place to write?
Anywhere with a view of a wintery sea and the occasional encounter with a human or two to spark things off... But in reality I do most of my writing propped up on my bed with my laptop on top of me. The wonderful thing about writing is that your head can be anywhere.

Emma's Books

Past Imperfect

Clementine is in a rut. Overshadowed by her indomitable female relatives - her stern, politically correct mother, Claude, her foulmouthed racist grandmother Mac, and her sassy, brassy aunt Maddy - she spends her timing making props for the Drama school (for a pittance) and for her lover Kurt's art Happenings (for free). Months after graduation, she is still stuck in the Soup Kitchen which she shares gladly with her housemate, Angus, and less gladly with a horde of free-loading 'guests'. Even her friendship with Jack, her one-time drama teacher, is thrown into jeopardy when a male student accuses him of sexual harassment. When Clem returns early from a visit to her ailing but outrageous grandmother and discovers Kurt and one of his more dangerous disciples' locked in earnest discussion, their bodies radiating lust', she comes to the conclusion that the situation has to change. Homicide seems like a tempting option, but she opts instead for flight.
In a moment of bravado Clem books a plane ticket to Paris and accidentally embarks on a picaresque series of misadventures with unsuitable foreigners, which drives her to the brink of insanity and eventually makes her take stock of who she is and what she really wants out of life.
Alison seems to have life sorted. Despite her high-flying job producing commercials she still manages to keep her infant son on the breast and her daughter in Strawberry Pops. But her texts to her best friend Evie tell a much less glamorous story.
Beth is new to the ad industry and desperate to impress. But the more she succeeds at work, the more things seem to be unraveling at home. And to make matters worse, she’s finding it hard to resist the advances of a sleazy colleague.
Things get really messy when a shoot takes their team to an isolated hell-hole in the middle of the South African bush. Accidents happen and dark secrets are revealed, and soon both Beth and Alison are forced to face some home truths.
Saucy and smart, Thirty Second World is a funny, moving, real-world tale set in the unreal world of the South African film industry

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You can find other Author's Pie segments here
Happy Pi-day!


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