A bookwormy day

IMG_20191022_174849

Last night, Dawn Garisch launched her novel, Breaking Milk, at Kalk Bay Books. She was in conversation with Tracey Farren.

In the audience at the amphitheater-like venue outside of the new Kalk Bay Books premises in Kalk Bay, were enthusiastic readers, family and friends, and many writers, among them Karavan Press author, Melissa A. Volker. Thank you to all who attended the event! Your support means the world to us. And thank you to Kalk Bay Books for hosting us! It was a beautiful evening.

Before the launch, I caught up with Caroline Gill at The Bookworm in Fish Hoek. Caroline is the winner of our Karavan Press Review Competition. With her review of A Fractured Land by Melissa A. Volker, Caroline won a R1000 book voucher for a bookshop of her choice and chose The Bookworm, a magical shop which has been in Fish Hoek for over forty years and is a joy to behold. It was my first, but definitely not my last, visit. Yesterday, I found an out-of-print poetry collection by Finuala Dowling there. The book just had to come home with me…

I salute all bookworms. Happy book hunting and reading to you all!

Caroline Gill wins the Karavan Press Review Competition for her review of A Fractured Land by Melissa A. Volker

Review competitionCongratulations to Caroline Gill! With her review of A Fractured Land by Melissa A. Volker Caroline wins the Karavan Press Review Competition and a book voucher worth R1000 for a bookshop of her choice. Thank you to all participants for reading, engaging with Melissa’s novels, A Fractured Land and Shadow Flicker, and submitting your entries for the competition. To show our appreciation, we would like to send you all a copy of Melissa’s next novel, provisionally titled Switchfoot, when it becomes available next year. In the meantime, we wish Caroline happy book buying and reading!

Karavan Press at the 2019 Prince Albert Leesfees

Prince Albert Leesfees 2019

Please join Karavan Press authors, Dawn Garisch and Melissa A. Volker, for an event at this year’s Prince Albert Leesfees:

SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY

SATURDAY, 2 November | 14:00 – 14:45

Melissa A. Volker, A Fractured Land and Shadow Flicker (“Expect eco-fireworks and literary Happy Ever Afters!”), and Dawn Garisch, Breaking Milk, (“an evocative exploration of the divisions and connections between humans, animals and the environment”) discuss their novels with writer, editor, literary critic and publisher, Karina M. Szczurek

(English)

Venue: Jans Rautenbach Schouwburg

Ticket price: R40pp

To buy tickets, click here: Prince Albert Leesfees

At the Montagu Book Festival with Melissa A. Volker

MBF1I 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.

We travelled together to the Montagu Book Festival/Boekefees, which took place between 25 and 28 July, to speak about “Up Lit” and Melissa’s two novels, A Fractured Land and Shadow Flicker.

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.

MBF3

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!

MBF6

Hope to see you all in Montagu next year!

Review competition: Caroline Gill reviews A Fractured Land by Melissa A. Volker

A Fractured Land_LR for webA Fractured Land_2018A Fractured Land rapidly encapsulates the reader in the vast expanse of the starkly beautiful Karoo setting. We become happily familiar with the well-rounded characters and their whimsical ways in a one-horse town, while they are like many of us, struggling for a chance at love and life.

It proceeds at a pace akin to the land it is set in, yet leaves your heart searing with emotion and turbulence of the drama as it unfolds. It also skillfully travels between the lands and cultures of the main characters, showing deep connections and knowledge of two completely opposite lifestyles, enhancing the storyline by the differences as they are shared.

There is a delightful smattering of life’s necessary daily activities, emotional and environmental issues and a well-dished up round of suspense woven throughout the novel, tightly connected with some lovely hooks and twists to keep you wondering if anything will ever work out.

Melissa A. Volker has a gift of carefully exposing the emotions felt by her characters, which inevitably mirrors those felt by her readers ⁠— we just don’t have the same finesse at expressing them as she does!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, was immediately transported into the story and enthralled with its development, and devastated when it had to come to an end!
I will be one of the first in line for her next offering as it comes off the press!

Review first posted on Goodreads.

Review competition: Natasha Alexander reviews A Fractured Land by Melissa A. Volker

A Fractured Land_LR for web A Fractured Land_2018I love a good romance but this book is so much more, filled with suspense and a gripping story, to say the least. Melissa’s scenic description is so wonderfully written, you can almost smell the dust and feel the blazing Karoo sun on your skin.

The two main characters are Carter from Texas, a former musician, trying to start over in the family oil business; and Lexi going back to her Karoo routes to rebuild her life, after a heart-breaking divorce which left her bankrupt. Their paths cross, at what seems, the worst possible time but as their story unfolds, Melissa keeps you hooked through their journey. Another character that kept me on the edge of my seat was Paul, the best friend/infatuated admirer of Lexi. Don’t want to give too much away, but his story/journey was brilliant too.

This is a must read, 5-star novel and I can’t wait for Melissa’s next one. (So, please hurry…no pressure.)

One more thing, LOVED the music references, Jack Johnson and Pearl Jam, two personal favourites.

Thank you for an awesome read, Melissa A. Volker.

Review first posted on Natasha Alexander’s blog.

Competition: Review one of Melissa A. Volker’s novels and stand a chance to win a book voucher worth R1000!

Review or comment on Shadow Flicker or A Fractured Land on an online platform of your choice (your blog or website, etc.), send the link to your post to karavanpress@outlook.com, and stand a chance to WIN a book voucher worth R1000* for a South African bookshop of your choice.

 

Reviews/comments have to be at least 150 words long to qualify.

We encourage reviews/comments that reflect your true opinions and feelings about the novels. (But we strongly discourage unkindness!)

Where applicable, use #KaravanPressReviewCompetition.

Use ‘Karavan Press Review Competition’ for the subject line of your email containing the link to your review/comment post.**

We will publish all eligible entries on karavanpress.com.

The winner will be drawn at random from all eligible entries.

Competition ends on 15 October 2019.

The winner will be announced on 16 October 2019.

 

*The book voucher is sponsored by Karavan Press.

**Your email address will not be used for any other purposes than to communicate with you should you win the competition.

Shadow Flicker by Melissa A. Volker launched at the Book Lounge

davIt 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.

Shadow Flicker launch at Book Lounge2

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.

Shadow Flicker launch at Book Lounge3‘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!

Shadow Flicker launch at Book Lounge4

Book delivery: A Fractured Land and Shadow Flicker by Melissa A. Volker

cofCelebrating our first booksIt is always a magical moment: holding your first book copies in your hands. They never feel entirely real, but the joy that is bubbling inside you is overwhelming so, always. Yesterday, that moment was particularly exuberant because Melissa and I were experiencing it together: she as author, I as publisher. Karavan Press’s first ever titles: A Fractured Land and Shadow Flicker.

Ready for distributionAfter the initial trouble with the binding of the first printrun, the second turned out to be perfect and so worth waiting for. The delay was daunting and frustrating, but both Melissa and I knew that what we had imagined for these novels had to become reality in order for us to be able to share them with our readers with all the exhilaration these special books deserve. And now, they are here. And they are everything we have wanted them to be.

Salieri and first copy of Shadow FlickerWe hope to see the first copies in bookshops countrywide sometime next week, and we hope to see many enthusiastic readers at the launch of Shadow Flicker at the Book Lounge on 16 July. Melissa will be in conversation with the fabulous author and journalist, Jacqui L’Ange.

The feline community is already reading and we have the first paw of approval from Salieri, one of our literary cats. We can’t wait to see what Melissa’s Frosty has to say.