Recently a friend asked me if I could review a book she had written. I had no idea she was even a writer… I tell you moms everywhere are incredible and full of surprises. So I read her book and I loved it, absolutely loved it. What can I say, but a really well read childhood packed with stories really does create fantastic authors.
Alex on the Edge by Kate Le Roux
I absolutely loved this book, where was this book so many years ago when I was a teen and trying to navigate the “social-ins” and “social-outs” of youth group on a Friday night. I love that this book is set in South Africa, it feels like a trip down memory lane… very much living my high school culture. And I very much love that she took her family on a trip to Lesotho, just like our family did a few years back, to include honest and first hand experiences into her novel. This is a love story, light romance, there is nothing awkward or inappropriate that your younger teens couldn’t encounter. The story is about serious and responsible Jill, who lives in a small seaside town, who has decided that she is not interested in boyfriends until she is older. And then Alex, the dreamy surfer type arrives on holiday, he has always had everything he ever wanted including all the girls dying for his attention, but there is something different about Jill. Jill is only interested in being friends and he is convinced he can change her mind, so he joins her youth group team for their holiday ministry camp on the beach, he discovers a whole new level of friendship that hasn’t encountered before, people that care about his well being and his future, rather than his status and whether he is “winning at life or not.” Not to mention, Jill is Jill… and she is convinced that she is doing the right thing for herself, so friends they have to be. Spoiler alert: They part ways and in real life that would be the end of the story… but five years later, Alex receives some devastating news and retreats to the one true friend he remembers… He arrives unannounced on her doorstep seeking refuge from the world. And Jill being Jill invites him to join her on a mission trip to Lesotho… and the rest as they say is history. Sweet reading… deeper than you might expect, and altogether lovely. I really enjoyed this book, it felt like a great summer holiday read… and know my teenage daughters would love it too.
Her second book, Teacher, Teacher is set in Cape Town. Two teachers, Jack a high school biology teacher and Amy a volunteer English teacher, trying to make a difference with troubled teens living on the gang infested Cape Flats. I haven’t read this yet, but I am dying to read it… so watch this space for a review.
Meet the Author, Kate Le Roux
- Did you always want to be a writer?
- Who or what has been your biggest influence in becoming a writer?
- Tell us about your work style: Are you compelled to write when inspiration strikes or do you just squeeze it in whenever you can?
- Where do you work best? On the couch at a desk? What would be your typical work day?
- When you were younger what books did you enjoy reading?
- Why did you decide to self-publish?
- What are you reading right now? And do you have an all-time favourite book?
- What made researching for this book great, did you get to do any interesting interviews or visit any unusual places?
I have been a voracious consumer of books all my life and yes, have always wanted to write one, but I had this idea that writing an entire novel took a special talent that I did not have. One day I just decided to try and that was that – I discovered that I could, and that I loved it so much I could not stop. I think I’ll be writing until I literally can’t anymore!
In terms of my style and the kinds of things I want to write … definitely Louisa May Alcott and LM Montgomery who wrote characters you fall in love with and miss when you have finished reading.
I have more inspiration than I have time to write. I have a few books in my head right now that would love to get written! I have four kids and I homeschool three of them, and I am a mom before I am a writer. So I have to write when I find time! When people ask, I say I do it in the margins of my days.
I write on my bed, on the couch, in the car while my son is at band practice, at the coffee shop when my kids have a gym class … occasionally at a desk but usually not. Mornings are for school so I usually get out the laptop after lunch and get some time in while the kids amuse themselves, in between shopping, cooking and lifting kids. There are about four evenings a month when my husband is away for work, and on those nights, I often stay up way too late writing writing writing.
I read every Enid Blyton in the whole wide world and I still own a bunch of them. I loved school stories and romances and historical novels, and all the children’s classics like Heidi, Pollyanna, Narnia – the list is long! As a young adult I discovered a few fantasy books that I enjoyed. I have always loved Young Adult fiction and I still read it.
In the beginning it was probably because I didn’t think I was a good enough writer to find a traditional publisher. But since I began this journey, I have learnt that it’s not about that at all! I think I could write something “good” enough but at this point in my life I need the freedom and flexibility of doing it myself. I can write what I want and be in charge of my own art. I don’t need to make a living at this point; I do it because I love it and I want to encourage people with what I write. Self-publishing is perfect for me right now, although I really hate the marketing and putting myself out there part! Also, I can keep the cost of my stories low and even free. Another reason I went this route is that “South African Young Adult Christian Fiction” isn’t exactly an established genre and I have never seen any in a bookstore.
At the moment I don’t have time for both reading and writing! I often cruise Amazon looking for books that are similar to what I want to write and I usually have a YA book from the library on the go. My all-time favourites are Little Men by Louisa May Alcott, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (which I think is the most incredibly crafted thing I have ever read), Rilla of Ingleside by LM Montgomery, The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley … too many to say!
Alex on the Edge has a story … I began it as a fifteen-year-old for a school project. My teacher encouraged me to keep going, and although I gave up pretty quickly the characters stayed with me. I tried again as a student but ditched it when it got too difficult. When I began again in earnest, I knew I wanted part of it to be set in Lesotho, but the only time I had been there was on a mission trip with my youth group when I was seventeen. I did not want to base it on old memories, so I made a plan for our family to join a trip there with our old church. I couldn’t wait and finished the first draft before we went on the trip and made changes afterwards. It was a wonderful experience to go there with my whole family and I am so glad I didn’t compromise on that! For the rest I drew on the experiences I had with my youth group as a teen and on family holidays in the Eastern Cape.
And This is a GiveAway…
Our lovely author has written two books, and she is giving a copy of each of them, one copy of each book to a lucky local reader. She is happy to ship the books to their nearest Postnet. Just leave a comment saying which one you would like to read first.
And otherwise the books are available on Amazon (the images above are Amazon affiliate links)… extremely reasonable on the kindle, and also available as paperbacks. I would to support this self publishing friend of mine… please look out for her books…
This Giveaway is for South African Readers: Just leave a comment below… before 14 September 2019. If you have won a GiveAway before never fear – enter away.
I would really like to thank Kate Le Roux for providing us with a copy of the book to review, and the Give-away Books. We would like to declare that this is not a sponsored post and all the opinions are as usual, entirely our own.