‘Reading Romance: Melissa Volker’s twisty love stories with an environmental agenda’ by Joy Watson

Daily Maverick

… Volker’s tales are carefully spun, a weave of gossamer thread of the finest ilk. Her books take a while to write and she has an uncanny ability to transpose the reader into time and place. 

In A Fractured Land, we are able to visualise the arid landscape, the sweat of hot nights is tangible, and we can smell the lingering scent of wisteria on dry, balmy days. Volker is adept at breathing life into the South African landscape, making it jump off the page to embed itself in the reader’s mind. 

“Quite a lot of work goes into my books,” says Volker. “I have been working on my current novel for about three years. I’m quite fussy. I try hard to layer the characters, to make the dialogue work. I feel like each novel is taking longer – maybe I’ve become a harsher critic of my own work, or maybe I am learning the craft of writing more.” 

The time that Volker invests in her writing is evident in her other books, Shadow Flicker (released in 2019) and The Pool Guy, a novella published in 2021. Attention to detail sets her work aside from other books in the genre, where some writers have managed to push out many books in a short time. 

Volker’s writing stands out in its meticulous effort to cobble together a love story that is complex, exquisitely told and of a high calibre. 

What also sets Volker apart is that both A Fractured Land and Shadow Flicker skillfully incorporate an attempt to pluck at the strings of environmental consciousness. 

“I write about the environment because it’s an issue of concern to me. When writing the books, I thought about some of the social circles that I am in where these issues don’t even touch ground. I realised that one way of getting people to think about it is through fiction. 

“Sometimes people are just so fatigued about bad news and watching it on TV. So I wanted to package it in a way that was palatable… in a way that raises awareness.”  

Daily Maverick

THE POOL GUY by Melissa A. Volker launched at The Alma Café

Earlier tonight, surfers, romance enthusiasts, readers and writers gathered at The Alma Café to celebrate the launch of Melissa A. Volker’s novelette, The Pool Guy – “the holiday you need”, in the words of Qarnita Loxton. Melissa was in conversation with the wonderful book reviewer, Sammi Malunga.

You can find Sammi on Twitter and IG @sammikoalareads.

These are tough times, but thank goodness for uplifting stories that allow you to escape into a world where, despite challenges, you can expect a happy ending. In Melissa’s stories that ending always includes an empowered woman fighting for her dreams. And she gets the guy – the pool guy in this case! And everybody needs this pool guy in their lives – trust me! 🙂

Thank you to Melissa and Sammi for an entertaining evening of romance and laughter!

And thank you to everyone who attended and to The Alma Café for supporting the literary scene by making their music venue available for book launches and readings. You guys rock!

Book launch: THE POOL GUY by Melissa A. Volker

Spa manager Lauren runs a professional space, so when Wyatt, the pool cleaner, brings down the tone with his languorous manner and sketchy dress code, she loses her cool. Instead of being intimidated, Wyatt is captivated and tries to chip through her armour of hair gel and makeup to find the real Lauren inside. But he is reluctant to reveal too much of himself, and when Lauren finds out who he really is, the pool guy is in for the swim of his life.

Every time I read this story, it makes me happy! It is the holiday we all need.
See you at the launch.
Love, 
Karina

Karavan Press title: THE POOL GUY by Melissa A. Volker

Spa manager Lauren runs a professional space, so when Wyatt, the pool cleaner, brings down the tone with his languorous manner and sketchy dress code, she loses her cool. Instead of being intimidated, Wyatt is captivated and tries to chip through her armour of hair gel and makeup to find the real Lauren inside. But he is reluctant to reveal too much of himself, and when Lauren finds out who he really is, the pool guy is in for the swim of his life.

Hotel. Spa. Pool. Summer. Sea. Romance.

This book is the holiday you need.

– QARNITA LOXTON

ISBN: 978-0-620-96484-5

Publication date: November 2021

MELISSA A. VOLKER is a reader, writer, beauty therapist and water woman. She lives in Cape Town with her husband, two daughters and a cat. She blogs about surfing and stand-up paddleboarding; writes eco-fiction, romance and short stories. Her first eco-romantic thriller, A Fractured Land, was published in the US in 2018 and was republished along with her second novel, Shadow Flicker, by Karavan Press in South Africa in 2019. Shadow Flicker won the Romance Writers Organisation of South Africa’s Strelitzia Award for the most promising manuscript in 2017. Melissa’s short story, ‘Spa Ritual’, was published in Hair: Weaving and Unpicking Stories of Identity. The Pool Guy is her first novelette.

The literary friendships between us

In 2019, when the first two Karavan Press titles – Melissa A. Volker’s A Fractured Land and Shadow Flicker – went to print, I was travelling in Turkey and Austria and asked Penny Haw to assist with checking the printer’s proofs that arrived while I was away. Melissa and Penny worked together to make sure that all was in order. For me, it was terrifying not to be able to oversea everything myself as I was completely new to this side of things as a publisher, but I also knew that our books were in excellent care.

This year, when Penny’s novels, Nicko and The Wilderness Between Us, were looking for a distributor in South Africa, being a fan of her work, I did not hesitate to offer entering an agreement with her and Karavan Press’s distributor, Protea Distribution. In this way, the books and their amazing author belong to the Karavan Press family and I am delighted to be working with Penny.

And so it was wonderful to see that, when I could not attend Penny’s book signing at Exclusive Books Constantia (I was interviewing Nancy Richards at her Greyton launch of The Skipper’s Daughter), Melissa was there.

This is what I meant when I wrote on our submissions page: “We want to establish strong bonds between our authors and readers, so please join the community of writers, creatives and readers that is Karavan Press” – the literary friendships between us.

Thank you to EVERYONE who makes this possible!

KARAVAN PRESS entries for the GBAS Book Cover Design Awards 2021

Celebrating the fabulous, multi-talented designers we work with:

Monique Cleghorn | Nick Mulgrew | Megan Ross | Stephen Symons

Not representing Karavan Press at the Awards this year, but hopefully next year again, is Megan Ross, who designed the stunning covers of Melissa A. Volker’s novels, A Fractured Land and Shadow Flicker (2019). Melissa’s third novel is on its way …

In the meantime, Megan’s SSDA Disruption cover features at the Awards in 2021:

GBAS Book Cover Design Awards

Karavan Press title: THE POOL GUY by Melissa A. Volker

Hotel. Spa. Pool. Summer. Sea. Romance.

This book is the holiday you need.

– QARNITA LOXTON

Spa manager Lauren runs a professional space, so when Wyatt, the pool cleaner, brings down the tone with his languorous manner and sketchy dress code, she loses her cool. Instead of being intimidated, Wyatt is captivated and tries to chip through her armour of hair gel and makeup to find the real Lauren inside. But he is reluctant to reveal too much of himself, and when Lauren finds out who he really is, the pool guy is in for the swim of his life.

MELISSA A. VOLKER is a reader, writer, beauty therapist and water woman. She lives in Cape Town with her husband, two daughters and a cat. She blogs about surfing and stand-up paddleboarding; writes eco-fiction, romance and short stories. Her first eco-romantic thriller, A Fractured Land, was published in the US in 2018 and was republished along with her second novel, Shadow Flicker, by Karavan Press in South Africa in 2019. Shadow Flicker won the Romance Writers Organisation of South Africa’s Strelitzia Award for the most promising manuscript in 2017. Melissa’s short story, ‘Spa Ritual’, was published in Hair: Weaving and Unpicking Stories of Identity. The Pool Guy is her first novelette.

Publication date: November 2021

ISBN: 978-0-620-96484-5

A FRACTURED LAND by MELISSA A. VOLKER longlisted for the Page Turner Award – Book Award 2021!

Fantastic news! Melissa A. Volker’s A Fractured Land has been longlisted for the Page Turner Award – Book Award 2021.

Melissa A. Volker is a reader, writer, beauty therapist and water woman. She blogs about surfing and stand up paddle boarding; writes eco-fiction, romance and short stories. She lives in Cape Town with her husband, two daughters and a cat. Her first eco-romantic thriller, A Fractured Land, was published in the US in 2018 and was republished along with her second novel, Shadow Flicker, by Karavan Press in South Africa in 2019. Shadow Flicker won the Romance Writers Organisation of South Africa’s Strelitzia prize for the most promising manuscript in 2017. Melissa’s short story, ‘Spa Ritual’, was published in the South African anthology: Hair – Weaving and Unpicking Stories of Identity. Her new novelette, The Pool Guy, is coming soon.

Congratulations, Melissa!

Last night at Exclusive Books Cavendish

Readers gathered last night at Exclusive Books Cavendish for a live literary event: a discussion of Death and the After Parties by Joanne Hichens. I (Karina) had the great privilege of interviewing Joanne and the occasion gave us a wonderful opportunity to talk about the path our friendship has taken through first encounters at launches and festivals, reading of each other’s stories, grieving the sudden deaths of our husbands, drinking many bottles of pink bubbly and working on several literary projects together – Short.Sharp.Stories and the HAIR anthology among them – before most recently publishing this exquisite memoir at Karavan Press.

Our gratitude to Linda and the wonderful team of booksellers at EB Cavendish – your support for local authors is exemplary. Thank you also for making us all feel safe during these difficult times. And thank you to everyone who attended the event, especially readers who had loved the book and came to listen to Joanne talk about it. Last but not least, thank you to all readers who bought the book and had it signed – your support is what keeps us going.