Please joins us for the event. We look forward to celebrating with you!
Please joins us for the event. We look forward to celebrating with you!
“On Saturday mornings, Kate and her dad used to wake up early and surf for hours at Muizenberg.”
Kate, the protagonist of Shadow Flicker by Melissa A. Volker, grows up in Muizenberg and becomes a surfing champion before a tragedy puts a stop to her career. Years later, she returns to the sea to face her trauma and to find love and healing.
Last night, Shadow Flicker‘s author visited Muizenberg, the place where she usually catches waves as a SUP champion, to launch her novel at her local surf shop, Xpression on the Beach.
The launch was hosted by surf legend Gary Van Rooyen. Melissa was in conversation with surfer, writer and historian Glen Thompson. Many friends from the surfing and literary worlds joined us for the special occasion, a kind of homecoming for the author and her novel’s protagonist.
A scene in Shadow Flicker is set in the St Francis Brewing Company and Melissa brought a few beers to share with her readers to give them an actual taste of the novel.
Thank you to Gary and all the other wonderful people at Xpression on the Beach for being such generous and enthusiastic hosts, Glen for leading a fascinating conversation and supporting Melissa and Karavan Press, to all surfers/readers who came to celebrate with us, and to Melissa, whose literary wave is becoming more and more impressive with every day!
Next stop for Melissa and Shadow Flicker: Fish Hoek Public Library, Friday, 30 August, 10am. Come and join us for books and tea!
I had been hoping to interview Melissa A. Volker at a literary event for years. I had no idea that when it finally happened, I would be speaking to her about her life and writing as her publisher, but that made the occasion even more special.
Set in the Great Karoo, in Graaff-Reinet, A Fractured Land looked at home in the Little Karoo and received a very warm welcome.
Melissa and I first heard the term “Up Lit” from Kate Mallinder and, immediately, we both felt that it applied exceptionally well to Melissa’s novels. They are books which focus on kindness, empathy and a sense of community without shying away from difficult topics such as divorce, debt, grief, addiction or mental illness. They are stories of “redemption” and “second chances”. Above all, they are romances. In both novels, Melissa tackles vital environmental topics (fracking and wind energy respectively). Her protagonists find love while at the same time having to find some form of common ground when they end up on opposing sides of these environmental issues, as Melissa explained during our event. We also spoke about the innocence of falling in love, surfing, strong female characters, music, and perseverance. We had great fun talking to each other and engaging with the readers who came to listen to our conversation.
We want to thank the Montagu Book Festival for hosting us, the Montagu Bookshop for selling our books, and all who attended our session for your infectious enthusiasm and for sharing the love of reading with us. May there be many more such joyous and inspiring occasions!
Hope to see you all in Montagu next year!
In our author interview, Melissa told us about the place surfing holds in her life:
… I suspect it’s more of an obsession, a compulsion, much like writing, but possibly less plagued by self-doubt? I’ve been married to a surfer for more than twenty years, and initially I acquired a good beachside understanding of things. But four years ago, I stepped off the beach and learned to surf a stand-up paddle board. I have not looked back; I now plan my week around the surf report. Surfing is a most empowering experience; it has taught me that I am stronger and braver than I ever thought. I am grateful to have the opportunity to be in the water whenever it presents itself.
Significantly, the first editor who did NOT reject my writing was Calvin Bradley, of Zigzag Surfing Magazine. I entered a competition called Write To Surf, and wrote a story about my life as a surf widow called ‘The Thinking Girls Guide to Life with a Surfer‘. I didn’t win the competition, but they published the story online. It was my first ever published story and when it got over 1000 likes on Facebook I was beyond stoked. It’s been epic to subsequently write pieces for The Inertia, Zigzag and Wavescape, especially when I have had the opportunity to write about women’s interests in surfing. We have a bunch of smart and funny surf writers in South Africa and I enjoy reading their work and learning from them as well.
In some ways surfing is like writing. It’s almost impossible to impress your will upon a wave, instead you have to be in tune with it and adapt your movement to the possibilities the wave is revealing to you. Much like a story. Sometimes you can’t impress your will upon it or force it in a certain direction. You have to be present, mindful and in tune with the possibilities that lie before you on the page.
Surfing features strongly in Shadow Flicker. It plays an important role in the protagonists’ lives, but both Kate and Matthew have to battle through loss and pain to return to the waves.
Thus, it is with great pleasure that we invite everyone to join us for a launch of Melissa’s Shadow Flicker at the iconic XPRESSION ON THE BEACH: “We are more than just a ‘SUP and Surf Shop’ – We are a community.”
Melissa will be in conversation with surfer, writer & historian Glen Thompson, who had this to say about the novel:
Melissa A. Volker deftly weaves romance, eco-fiction and surf noir into a gripping saga in Shadow Flicker. In the small coastal village made popular by The Endless Summer, the restless wind brings waves, haunted memories, and the promise of a green energy future. Volker takes you to the heart of the turbulence.
We can’t wait to catch this wave! See you on the beach …
It was quite a while ago that Melissa A. Volker and I sat at Jonkerhuis, discussing over cake and coffee a version of the manuscript that would eventually become her novel Shadow Flicker. During that conversation, I mentioned my dream of becoming a publisher. I also told her that I’d loved her novel; that it needed some work, but that I was convinced it would be published one day and that she should not give up on it… Over the years that I have known Melissa and her writing, I have also been telling her that one day I would be attending her launch at the Book Lounge.
Shadow Flicker has been published, and last night, this beautiful novel was launched at the Book Lounge like I have always known it would be. What I could not have predicted was that I would be the publisher launching it with her, and that it would be a first for both of us. But we all know that the best stories are full of unexpected twists and turns, and that they have satisfying endings. And this one is only a beginning, for Melissa and for Karavan Press.
The Book Lounge was packed for the event last night, the warmth of the welcome palpable throughout the evening. Melissa was in conversation with Jacqui L’Ange, the author of the exquisite The Seed Thief.
‘I’m usually not a romance reader, but I gobbled these up. These are eco-romances. But they are also thrillers. They are eco-romance thrillers,’ said Jacqui, coining a wonderful term that describes Melissa’s work.
‘I would like readers to understand the issues without having to listen to an environmental lecture,’ Melissa explained. ‘If you package it all into a good story, you can get the word out.’
And a good story is what Melissa tells, in A Fractured Land and Shadow Flicker. May there be many, many more. For her and Karavan Press!
‘I hope that my writing makes people smile,’ Melissa said. It does. Thank you!
It is our great pleasure to announce that our author, Melissa A. Volker, will be participating in this year’s Montagu Book Festival, which is taking place on the last weekend in July. She will be speaking about romantic environmental fiction and her two novels, A Fractured Land and Shadow Flicker, on Friday afternoon (26 July).
Between 25 and 28 July, Montagu’s KWV Building Complex and the Old Mission Church in Long Street will host a variety of authors and panelists as part of the annual Festival.
The Festival kicks off on Thursday evening, 25 July, with an official opening address by Prof Jonathan Jansen. Other authors participating include Anne Dreyer Erasmus, Colin Johnson, Patricia Schonstein, Jacques le Roux, Theo Kemp, Don Pinnock, Karina M. Szczurek, Irma Joubert, Finuala Dowling, Tania Smit, David Grier, Wilhelm Verwoerd, Duncan Brown, Jopie Coetzee and Shirmoney Shamia Rhode.
Analysts, commentators and activists like Jan-Jan Joubert, Leon Schreiber, Christi van der Westhuizen, Carel Anthonissen, André Bartlett, Spiwo Xapile and Michelle Newhoudt Boonzaaier will participate in panel discussions about the political landscape after the general elections, challenges for the agriculture sector, and the future role of religious institutions in an increasingly secularised world.
A food-and-wine pairing with a cabaret-style show dedicated to the writings of Adam Small will cater for the discerning cultural palate.
Ticket prices: R150 for the whole weekend; R100 for a single day; R50 for a single session (individual author’s talk or panel discussion). These tickets prices exclude the food-and-wine pairing and Adam Small show, which will be priced separately.
Tickets are available from the Montagu-Ashton Tourism Association office at 24 Bath Street, Montagu. Tel.: +27 (0)23 614 2471