Turnaround (Author Interview)


What was your primary inspiration behind writing "Turnaround"?

It has been years since I have been involved in the Angolan conflict. Even though I tried to put some of the events behind me, I struggled with some of the darker chapters and decided I will write this story, based on true events, in an attempt to find closure.

The scene described in your description paints a vivid and emotional picture. How did you approach writing such a gripping opening?

I just closed my eyes and re-lived the event that would haunt me even to this day…

The main theme seems to revolve around the internal battle between good and evil. How do you personally define this dichotomy?

In certain situations, as in an armed conflict, it is not always easy to differentiate between good and bad. I had to create an environment to define the two concepts from my captured perspective in order to regain the balance needed to make the paradigm shift from evil to good.

Joe Zeiler and Sam Haines come together to maintain their faith in life. Can you discuss their dynamic and how it drives the story forward?

Joe brought a sense of adventure and he was a bit of an enigma who longed for normality while Sam provided stability in a world conducive to bring around the repair both sought to stabilise their lives.

Who is the "man who believed that good can conquer evil"? Without giving away too much, can you hint at his role and significance in the story?

If you had no hope at all to conquer evil, what is the purpose of living in a world wrought with evil? The person in Turnaround perpetrated acts of violence and witnessed gross injustices and due to his experiences, he could instill the belief that all is not lost - that love and trust are what is needed to conquer evil.

The book blurb mentions a force that could drive someone to commit a heinous act against their loved ones. How did you research or develop this concept?

You live it - you carry it….

How did you approach writing the emotional and psychological turmoil experienced by the characters, especially in the face of such intense challenges?

Every emotion, every fear, every little victory, all the countless little prayers and every setback contributed to describe a roller-coaster ride of emotions in an effort to successfully cope with every intense challenge and situation. I threw everything together and hoped that the emotional and psychological warfare going on in each besieged mind would level out in order to regain sanity.

Were any of the characters or events in the book inspired by real-life experiences or people you know?

All of it albeit altered marginally and in some instances drastically to de-rail any likeness to actual events.

How do you hope readers will feel after finishing "Turnaround"? What's the key takeaway or message you'd like them to grasp?

No event in life should rob you of the opportunity to live a full life.

The narrative seems to balance between despair and hope. How did you strike this balance in your storytelling?

Despair was a reality brought around by political manipulation and selfish objectives while hope was introduced to illustrate that a longing for a better life is indeed obtainable.

The setting plays a crucial role in the story, with the eerie silence of the bush contrasting with the bursts of automatic gunfire. How do you visualize this setting, and how does it enhance the story's tone?

The whole story is a story of contradictions and paradoxes. The lows and highs brought around by the perfect calm of nature and the heinous acts of people who used nature as their arena to act out deeds of a violent nature, creates the see-saw effect of what to expect and what not.

Your book addresses heavy topics such as guilt, forgiveness, love, and faith. How do you hope these themes resonate with readers in today's world?

I sometimes regard myself as a bit of a 'shopping mall psychologist' who observe people from a distance. Over the years my evaluation altered as people and the times changed. I realise people are infinitely more complex as life has changed from slow-moving and controlled to a frantic search for purpose and identity. My sanity was restored by those traditional feelings which I strongly believe is the answer to most emotional issues suffered in a world where nothing is 'normal' anymore.

Can you shed some light on the relationship between Joe and Sam? How do their individual struggles interweave to form the crux of the story?

Both reached an end that left them in despair. Both suffered from emotional estrangement that threatened to destabilise their everyday existence. They both lost their faith in life and hope was a distant concept neither was willing to explore. Although worlds apart this likeness was what brought them together in a land where remoteness was the crux of your everyday living. Their opposite lives intrigued one another and the challenge of throwing everything into one basket to build a life together was irresistible.

How did you navigate the process of constructing the emotional arcs for your characters, ensuring that they remain authentic and relatable to readers?

I used love as the central theme and aspired to create an emotional platform where all the internal struggles can be addressed and doctored to create a workable and plausible solution for those who experience utmost despair and a longing to be whole again.

 Finally, are there any plans for a sequel to "Turnaround" or any other projects in the pipeline that readers should look forward to?

The sequel to Turnaround is halfway completed and will be titled 'Dead End'. I am also working on a true story which will be titled 'The One To Blame'. Three years ago I started on research to write a book about the street children of South Africa. If I find the necessary inspiration for this very emotional work, I hope to complete it over the next year. Finally my anthology of poems should see the light early next year….