Monthly Archives: March 2014

Research, Research, Research…!

Thoughts on research and character creation.


My new novel entails a lot of research, something I actually love to do, as I hate reading a book and realizing the author has made a factual error!

My previous books, Genghis Khan, my Brother: The story of Temulin, and Van der Bijl required hours and hours of searching for information. I had background knowledge to some of the South African history, the flora, fauna and geography since I grew up there, but the novel about Genghis Khan required endless searches to provide the correct information. It is essential to get one’s facts straight, even if the characters are fictitious.

James Michener, the author of huge blockbuster novels such as Chesapeake, Hawaii, Centennial and his many other novels were meticulously researched by a team of people. His novels were incredibly informative as well as being entertaining, great reads. (See: for further information.)

My current book, as I…

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Posted by on March 21, 2014 in Uncategorized


Delving into the Past

I had already begun thinking of my next novel before I had completed the last one,” Van der Bijl”, the South African family saga.

Many years ago I underwent a past life regression and experienced a life in Russia. It is a tragic tale of loss and heartbreak and I decided it would make an interesting novel.

For those of you who have never experienced a past life regression, let me explain. You are placed under hypnosis and asked non-leading questions about what you see or experience. It can be extremely traumatic and contrary to popular belief, it’s not about discovering a life of royalty or fame and fortune. I am sure those do occur, but I would venture to say that 99% of people experience ordinary, humdrum lives. We have all lived through trauma throughout history and those memories sometimes may even break through into your conscious awareness without being hypnotized.

In this particular regression, I saw myself as a little Jewish boy in Russia, before the First World War. 

I have read many books in my life, and the difference between imagining something, reading about it and experiencing a past life are as different as chalk and cheese. The most amazing thing is the amount of emotion attached to the experiences in the past life. They are visceral and immediate as if they are happening right now. I don’t remember anything I have ever read as vividly. The emotion was so overwhelming that I cried every time I retold the story. One does not do that with a book or a movie, you may cry during the time you are reading or watching it, but the experience belongs to the character, not to you. You can disengage from it.


I have decided to base my book upon that story as I lived it. It will take me back in time to a very sad time in history, one which unfortunately has not ended as we face Russia invading the Ukraine on the pretext that the country is in a state of chaos.

How much longer will we have to put up with the power plays of presidents and power-that-be? 

When will it all end?



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Posted by on March 4, 2014 in Uncategorized


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My latest novel, published!

I am excited to announce that my latest novel, a historical saga about the Van der Bijls who settled in South Africa in 1660. Gerhard Van der Bijl, an employee of the Dutch East India Company sets off on an adventure in a strange, inhospitable land at the southernmost tip of Africa. He fathers a child by a slave woman, a deed that will have far reaching repercussions, many generations later.

I spent hours researching the novel, and while the accounts of the individual family members is fictional, the historical details are accurate. The information I found has been fascinating and burst the bubble that so many white South Africans have about their ancestry. The majority of those with Dutch or European surnames were the offspring of three or four slaves, Angela van Bengale, Sophia van Palliacat and Susanna van Mombasa. While I could not find any direct evidence that Van der Bijl actually had such a love child, the likelihood is very high that somewhere along the line he or one of his offspring had such a liaison. Susanna van Mombasa was a slave from Kenya who gave birth to a child, the father was “unknown”, never revealed. I used this little teaser as a hook in the story.

This has been a project that gave me endless hours of writing pleasure, and I hope you will enjoy reading it!

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Posted by on March 1, 2014 in Uncategorized


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