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Ashton Kennedy wasn't a nice guy. He cheated on his girlfriend, knocked up a powerful drug lord's sister, and abused vast quantities of illegal narcotic substances. Whoever ran him over with a big shiny SUV was doing the world a favour. His very male, tattooed body is the last place Elizabeth Rae Perry--a member of an ancient Egyptian cult--expected to reincarnate in, instead of the three-year-old girl she'd been promised. Not only must she now come to terms with her new existence in the body of a disagreeable man, and clean up the mess he made of his life, she also has to unravel the mystery of why House Adamastor's chapter house is standing empty and find a way to protect a dangerous secret she had no idea she was supposed to keep. As if fate couldn't deal her another blow, she has also attracted the attention of a malicious and potentially dangerous ghost. And to top it all off, she must deal with the consequences of finding love in a most unexpected place.
Inkarna is, by far, the best book I’ve read this year. Ashton Kennedy is hot and bad and one of those characters you love to hate or hate to love, either way. Nerine Dorman transfixes the reader with a believable story steeped in Egyptian mysticism and what it means to be Inkarna. When Lizzie’s plan to inhabit the body of a three year old girl goes awry and she wakes up in the body of Ashton, we are taken on a gender bending journey where she acclimates to being Ash and battles her/his feelings toward Ash’s timid girlfriend. Through Lizzie, Ash is able to redeem his past misdeeds and through Ash, Lizzie is able to set things right with Inkarna. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat with magic and mystery. The ending is breathtaking and will leave you yearning for more.
After reading Inkarna, I was totally start struck and had to chase Nerine down for an interview. Not only is she a fantastically talented writer but she’s funny and gorgeous. See for yourself and read to the bottom for details on how to win a free copy of Inkarna!
JJ: Hi Nerine! Thanks so much for agreeing to sit down with me for a few questions. As you can see from my review above, I loved Inkarna and was fascinated by the Egyptian mysticism. Tell us where this story came from.
Nerine: Hey, January, thanks for having me over. Inkarna sort of seeped up from my subconscious, for lack of better description. The year 2010 wasn’t a particularly good one for me. I was battling with severe depression, and two people who meant a lot to me passed away. The death of the first was accompanied by vivid dreams which sparked off the “what if” scenario that eventually drove me to outlining the day I attended the funeral of the second. Death and questions of what happens after fuelled this, as well as playing on gender identity and my love of Egyptian cosmology. Who are we really?
JJ: I’ve read a few of your books and you seem to have a fondness for the tall, dark and looming men. Are these yummy characters inspired by someone in particular?
Nerine: I get my inspiration from a bunch of tall, dark and looming, but anyone who takes a look at my Pinterest board, “Beautiful People” will probably get a good idea of the main culprits. Peter Steele, Carl McCoy, Trent Reznor – all beautiful men.
JJ: Ah, Pete and Trent *sighs* As a musician, editor and writer, you are a master multitasker. What’s “A Day in the Life of Nerine” like?
Nerine: Six thirty AM is the absolute latest I can lie in unless I want to miss my train in the morning. During that hour-long commute I crochet and read before I plunge headlong into my day job as a newspaper sub-editor (doing layouts and subbing for the commercial features). If I’m lucky, I have time during my lunch hour to write. I try to get out to meet a friend for coffee at least once a week. I also try to wrap any editorial I’ll be submitting during that stolen time. Five PM sees me back on the train for another hour back to the far south. People often ask how the hell I cope with travelling the distance each day, but to be honest, I love the train when it’s running smoothly. It’s “me” time to read, and by the time the train reaches Muizenberg, I get to ride on the sea shore, sometimes spotting whales and dolphins, or gawking at surfers.
Night time I have to obviously do my wifely duties of washing dishes and cooking dinner, but then, before I even open my netbook, I practice my classical guitar for about an hour. After my bath, I’m in bed with my computer, and catch up on the day’s quota of editing and writing. The last thing I do before lights out is to write a thousand words. Less than six hours later the whole merry-go-round starts again.
Structure is very important when juggling a hectic schedule. I’ve recently cut back on my editing commitments (I only take on very limited amounts of freelance work) so that I can concentrate on my own writing.
Weekends or on days that I take leave, when we’re not off on film or photo shoots (my husband is an indie filmmaker), we’re usually at home, and I get more reading done. The dogs, of course, insist on their late-afternoon walk on days that I’m home. I just have to *look* at my shoes and they won’t stop barking until they’ve had their 30-minute trot around the block. I love being at home – for me that’s like being on vacation. Sometimes I get to travel, usually through my day job, and have been to Zambia and Ireland, among other destinations.
JJ: When you’re not writing and editing, what’s your idea of fun?
Nerine: I might potter in the garden a bit. Occasionally we go out to see music, or have a braai (barbecue) with friends. I recently started crocheting, mainly as a way to release tension and do something completely out of character. My husband and I sometimes treat ourselves by visiting the very bohemian seaside town of Kalk Bay and go for coffee. This is a dangerous occupation as we usually end up buying secondhand books.
JJ: Music seems to be a common thread in your stories. What’s your writing process like? Does it include music?
Nerine: I listen to music while I write, and find myself gravitating to particular artists. Of late this includes a lot of post-rock and world music, as well as gothic and doom metal. My tastes are quite eclectic, however, and the husband has recently introduced me to the rather enigmatic late-195os to early-1960s exotica. I’m equally happy attending a jazz gig as I am seeing my friends in the South African industrial metal band, Terminatryx, perform live. Experiencing Rammstein live last year was one of my musical highlights, and I’m very excited for mates of mine who’ve started a psychobilly band called Th’Damned Crows. At some point I might start collaborating with other musicians again, but probably mainly in an “unplugged” format. There is talk.
All this seeps through into the mood of my writing. I need the filter music provides, to help block environmental noises (the husband plays a lot of PS3 games and I need to drown out the screaming and gunshots). I also suffer from severe tinnitus, and some days are worse than others, so the music helps distract me from the ever-present screeching in my ears (no doubt a result of years of playing bass in grunge, goth and black metal bands).
Readers will encounter plenty of musical references in my writing. Sometimes I pay tribute to the artists who have meant a lot to me. I’ve even indulged in a little satire when it comes to some of those who’ve annoyed me.
JJ: I’m a huge fan of the horror genre. Share with us your involvement in the much-anticipated Bloody Parchment anthology.
Nerine: Bloody Parchment is now in its third year as an event. We gather at an indie bookstore, Book Lounge, in Roeland Street, Cape Town, and celebrate dark fiction, usually with a group of genre fiction authors. Last year we had a few readings and a panel. This year we’re doing drabbles.
The anthology and short story competition grew out of the event, during a time when there was no local market for horror fiction. The anthology and competition is open to international entries, and the current issue has a selection of authors from all over, including the UK, US, Botswana, South Africa and Australia. Once the judges have made their final selection, I step in as editor and put the contributors through their paces—so they gain from considerable editing. The winner of the competition not only has his or her story appear as part of the title of the anthology, but receives a comprehensive round of edits on a novel or novella-length work.
Entries for this year’s competition close on October 31, and you’re welcome to mail questions to email@example.com or check out the blog at http://bloodyparchment.blogspot.com
JJ: There’s been some talk about a sequel to Inkarna. When can your fans expect more of Ash?
Nerine: Yes, I’m writing the sequel. I’m not going to say a helluva lot on the matter except that in book two I tie up a few of the loose ends left at the end of the first, and poor, dear Ash is out of the frying pan and into the fire. Some pretty nasty things happen, and Ash is kept on the run. And his life become a bit *too* exciting. I almost feel sorry for him but then again, if he had things easy, then there wouldn’t be much of a story now, would there?
JJ: It's no secret that I'm an avid fan of your work. What else is out there that readers should know about?
Nerine: Many folks have gotten to know of me via Inkarna. While I’m in the process of rebooting my Khepera series (rights reverted to me) and will re-launch those titles soon, I do have novellas that are worth dipping into if you like tales of the fanged kind.
The Namaqualand Book of the Dead is the tale of a young woman who hitchhikes up the South African West Coast to find out the truth behind her ex-boyfriend’s apparent death: http://www.amazon.com/The-Namaqualand-Book-Dead-ebook/dp/B004SZ3GIQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1347353230&sr=1-1&keywords=the+namaqualand+book+of+the+dead
What Sweet Music They Make tells of the meeting between two musicians who dwell in very separate worlds, and the complications that arise from their mutual fascination. Lots of vampiric intrigue here: http://www.amazon.com/What-Sweet-Music-They-ebook/dp/B006ZNTC46/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1347353276&sr=1-1&keywords=what+sweet+music+they+make
Both these two are my little unsung heroes, and I’d love for them to grace a few more kindles out there. Even better, if you’ve read them, do leave me a review. I love reviews. Most authors do. [smiles]
Lightning Round Favorites:
Drink: Earl Grey tea, 100% pure pomegranate juice or good coffee. Then again, there’s a café in Cape Town – Roxy’s on Dunkley Square – that makes the most nommilicious chocolate milkshakes in the whole world.
Color: Black (well, of course) but trimmed with green or purple.
Season: Autumn or spring.
Flavor: chocolate or lemon (you’ll see I can’t make up my bloody mind)
Book: Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien and the Sandman graphic novels by Neil Gaiman, Storm Constantine’s Wraeththu novels.
Movie: Star Wars, Highlander and Ladyhawke
Band: Type O Negative, Nine Inch Nails, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, film soundtracks by Hans Zimmer.
Thanks again, Nerine. I really enjoyed chatting with you and I can't wait to get my hands on the next installment of Ash.
To keep up with the latest happenings of Nerine Dorman, follow her on Twitter @NerineDorman and check out her blog
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