Friday, May 31, 2013

Camdeboo Nights by Nerine Dorman: Interview

Camdeboo Nights

by Nerine Dorman

Helen Ashfield’s world is about to be turned upside down. Is she ready?

Helen Ashfield’s life is complicated. Not only must she adjust to her parents’ divorce, but she has to come to grips with her new school in the small South African Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet. She’s sorely mistaken if she thinks she’s going to slot seamlessly into her new life. Her growing magical powers have attracted the unwanted attention of Trystan, a vampire, who may not have her best interests at heart.
Outcast from his kind for drinking another vampire’s blood, Trystan has been on the run for almost a hundred years from Mantis–the closest thing their kind has to an enforcer. All Trystan wants is an existence of quiet anonymity, but Helen turns his world upside-down.

Helen’s powers also mark her as one of Mantis’ targets. If Mantis gets control of Helen, she’ll change the course of history…for the worse.


Armed with her grandmother’s shopping list, Helen ran out to the familiar silver Volvo, looking forward to speaking with Arwen, only to discover Szandor and another woman with a teased-out mop of white-blond hair waited in the car.

The woman turned icy gray eyes on Helen, giving her the impression that she could read each of Helen’s secrets.
She was pale, which wasn’t helped by the funerary aspect of her clothing–a buttoned-up sleeveless shirt with a cameo at her throat. When she moved, an audible swish of many layers of satin and chiffon filled the vehicle.

This must be the aunt. She couldn’t be the mother. The resemblance to Szandor was almost uncanny.

Szandor smiled, but the pleasure did not reach his eyes. “This is Sonja, my sister. Sonja, this is Arwen’s new friend, Helen.”
Sonja gave the briefest of frowns before facing the window.

“Uh, hi,” Helen said, wishing that she could be anywhere else but in this car with these peculiar people. The journey to Graaff-Reinet would be just over half an hour but it would feel like an eternity.

Szandor made a sound that was almost a snigger before turning the key. If only Damon were here, but her brother had gone to visit the Prof the instant his chores were done.

They drove in silence, with only the hiss of the air-conditioner as accompaniment, until they left the valley.
Then Szandor said, “Did you enjoy the films last night, Helen?”

She thought her heart would explode. Should she lie? Should she allow the story to filter through without some of the pertinent details?

“I… Uh. Yes.” She had watched films after Trystan had walked them home. Granted, she hadn’t been able to concentrate on any of the onscreen action.

“Oh,” Szandor said.

She caught a glimpse of his amused expression in the rearview mirror.

Bloody hell, of course he didn’t believe her. What did she expect?

“You haven’t seen or heard anything that you would consider out of the ordinary, have you?” Szandor asked.
“Um, no.”

“You’ll tell us if you do, won’t you?” Szandor asked. It was more a command than a question.

“I guess so.” Helen clutched the seat with white-knuckled hands.

Her grandmother’s amused tones echoed in her memory. The whole lot of them, they’re all witches. The father, too.
How far would Szandor push his craft? What could he do? Was she in any danger? If there was the superstitious fear of witchcraft that was prevalent among the indigenous Africans…

She’d read a little about the subject a few years previously while researching for a painting for her art classes. Witchcraft was a fascinating topic but she had never expected to ever deal with the real thing. Now her present situation seemed very real and very menacing.

“Where’s Arwen?” Helen hoped to steer their conversation to safer territory. She may as well have said “Nice weather, we’re having.”

“Arwen has been grounded,” Szandor said, his pale gaze reading the road ahead.

Oh heck. He knew.

“Oh.” Perhaps it would be better to say nothing at all then she wouldn’t dig herself a deeper hole.

The rest of the ride passed in uncomfortable silence. Helen pressed her face against the glass and hoped nothing more would be said.

She hated deception of any kind. Whenever she lied, she always ended up being caught out. Instead, she watched the passing landscape, where gray-blue spiked agave lined the road in clumps. Every so often jeep tracks led from the road they followed and she wondered where they went.


For people who haven’t heard of Camdeboo Nights, make a brief description.

Camdeboo Nights is a tale of four unlikely friends who end up on the road trip to end all road trips. Mix vampires, mages, witches and other strange creatures of the night and you’re bound to get something out of the ordinary. At the heart of the matter, this is a novel about friendship, and the lengths people will go to in order to save the ones they love.

When did you decided to become a writer?

I grew up surrounded by books, and thought it was somehow magical to have an idea that could be captured in words, printed and bound. The idea that people would love my words enough to keep them on their bookshelves tickles me pink. I love telling stories, and have been doing so since I can first remember. So, I’ve always *been* a writer. I just had to learn how to hold a pen and string the words together first.

What does your family think of your works?

I think my mom’s proud of me, though she’ll certainly not read any of my books. They’re simply not her genre. And my siblings don’t really read at all, so I don’t have to worry about them having the wherewithal of getting into my stories.

Do you have specific habits when you write?

Of late I’ve taken to writing during my lunch break at work as that’s the only time I have to write unless I’m on leave. I can write anywhere between 1 000 to 2 000 words an hour. Generally I aim for 1 000 because that’s a nice chunk. Also because it’s a specific amount, I pay attention to what I’m crafting, so those words are quality words.

Are you an early bird or night owl?

A bit of both, really. I get on average four to five hours’ sleep each morning between midnight at 5pm. Don’t ask me how I cope. I don’t know either. Coffee is my friend.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Real-life experiences, such as conversations with people or even dreams. I often zone out and go into a weird semi-trance state and then get struck by ideas. It could be a piece of music or an image I see in a magazine. I really can’t predict.

Which of your characters is your favorite and why?

For Camdeboo Nights my favourite character is definitely Trystan. The novel started with him (chapter 1 is actually a revised piece of flash fiction which was the second short story I ever sold). He’s completely cut off from contemporary society and lives only for the old Hudson Commodore that he drives when out hunting. To him, everything else is impermanent, so he lavishes all his attention on the car – only to find himself thrust in the middle of a situation where he *has* to reach out to other people.

If you could have coffee with any character of any book, who would it be and why?

I’d have coffee with Lord Morpheus, from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novels. I mean, really, to hang out with the Lord of Dreams himself? But I’d ask him to bring Bast, since she’s one of my favourite from the Egyptian pantheon, and I’ve always had a special place for her little minions in my house.

If you could meet any person in the world who would it be and why?

I’d love to meet JRR Tolkien. I’d dig to sit and listen to him talk about Middle Earth and the history of the Elves. He was largely responsible for me getting into this entire business of writing.

What are you reading right now?

Too many books! I’m obsessively compulsive about having at least three or four going at the same time. I’ll mention that I’ve just finished reading Horseman by Mike Nicol which definitely falls firmly into the grimdark category. I haven’t read so much death, gratuitous violence and depravity in a very long time. It’s not a story for everyone but I’m glad that I read it as it’s given me much food for thought.

Name your favorite authors.

Neil Gaiman, Storm Constantine, Poppy Z Brite, Jacqueline Carey, Mary Gentle… the list does go on, but I keep returning to this handful.

Tell us about something crazy you’ve done.

I can tell you about the legal instances… LOL. I bought a Hudson Commodore and spent a small fortune fixing it. And it’s still sitting in a friend’s garage going nowhere slowly. It was really crazy and stupid. I don’t really want to talk about it much. But as for crazy… I’ve walked alone at night through abandoned areas. I’ve narrowly missed being squished by a truck (I almost tried to hitch a ride on a truck carrying another truck, and the one rolled off on the spot I’d been thinking about standing). 

Best reward as a writer?

Royalty payments help [snerk] but seriously, when I have complete strangers message me to tell me that my book resonated with them in a big way. That sort of response is priceless. Also, when I see random (and awesome) reviews pop up on Amazon or Goodreads. I dance little jigs and get all happy.

Biggest trouble you faced as a writer?

Feeling like I’m not getting anywhere. Then I take a step back and see where I was at a year before, and the year before that. Then I shut up and carry on writing because I can see that I’m getting better every year and all the cool things are beginning to happen to me now after so much hard work.

How do you react to a bad review?

I make voodoo dolls… LOL, just kidding. Okay, I read the review and I ask myself truthfully whether the reviewer was justified in making those statements. And I take those statements as concrit and apply them to my writing. But mostly some of my bad reviews have been totally a situation where I can see that that particular reader was NOT the target market for my writing. I never respond to bad reviews personally. And after a while I get another batch of awesome reviews which stroke my ego and make me purr.

Thank you Nerine for this amazing interview!

About Nerine Dorman

An editor and multi-published author, Nerine Dorman currently resides in Cape Town, South Africa, with her visual artist husband. Some of the publishers with whom she works include Dark Continents Publishing and eKhaya (an imprint of Random House Struik). She has been involved in the media industry for more than a decade, with a background in magazine and newspaper publishing, commercial fiction, and print production management within a below-the-line marketing environment. Her book reviews, as well as travel, entertainment and lifestyle editorial regularly appear in national newspapers. A few of her interests include music travel, history (with emphasis on Egypt), psychology, philosophy, magic and the natural world.

Follow the tour:

Tour Schedule

May 27, 2013
MJ Schiller, Romance Author (Guest Post)

May 28, 2013
Coffee & A Book Anytime (Guest Post)

May 29, 2013
Writerly Ramblings (Author Interview)

May 31, 2013
I Know That Book (Author Interview)
Amberkatze's Book Blog (Guest Post)
Melissa Keir- Sexy Between the Covers (Guest Post)

June 1, 2013
Diane Burton ~ out of this world adventures (Guest Post)

June 3, 2013
Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews (Author Interview)

June 4, 2013
Christine's Word (Author Interview)

June 5, 2013
Real World on Writing (Guest Post & Review)

June 6, 2013
Authors' Cafe (Author Interview & Review)

June 7, 2013
Celestial Reviews (Guest Post & Review)

June 8, 2013
Books, Books The Magical Fruit (Guest Post)

June 10, 2013
Brooke Blogs (Guest Post & Review)

1 comment:

  1. Many thanks for having me over, and for the great questions!



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