Martin Marais


I have wanted to publish a novel for many years and although my mind was bubbling with ideas none appealed to me sufficiently to make the time to write it. I then read "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara, a splendid telling of the American Civil War battle of Gettysburg. The story is told from the viewpoint of those who took part in the battle. I was intrigued by the structure of the book and it inspired me to put aside the time to write my own novel. Fortunately I had the prefect subject to hand. The Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) has always held a fascination for me, especially the Battle of Paardeberg, which was, arguably, the turning point of the war. What intrigued me was why the British commander, Lord Roberts, a man of reputed enormous compassion towards his men, put them through such torment in a forced march of over one hundred miles across South African semi-desert and why the Boer General Cronjé responded in the way he did. It was the decisions and actions of these two men during the prosecution of this particular battle that were to change the direction of the war. My debut novel Paardeberg: Lord Robert’s Gambit is my attempt to understand the thoughts, values and convictions of some of those involved in the battle and to write down their story. Of French Huguenot stock, I was born in Kitwe, Zambia and spent most of my childhood in South Africa. I now live in England.

Smashwords Interview

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up In South Africa and come from a line of French Huguenots that emigrated to the Dutch settlement at the Cape of Good Hope in 1688. The vineyard that Charles Marais established in 1689 still exists, Plaisir de Merle near Franschhoek, unfortunately it is no longer in the family. My South African upbringing has had a profound effect on what I write - my first novel was set in the Boer War.
What is your writing process?
With my novels being based on actual historical events a lot of research is required of the characters, the events and the setting. I do a fair amount of reading and use the internet for images, but I do not overburden myself with facts as I do not want to stifle the story and I do shift things around slightly to help the flow of the narrative. I then plan the basic structure of the chapters and follow this with my first draft of the text. This is usually a free flowing process. I then return to add colour and descriptive flesh to the characters and landscape and make sure the facts are correct and the story line is consistent. I then read the entire book out loud and improve wording where the language does not read well. Then I get a proof-editor to look over it for structure, consistency and typos. I then read it aloud for a second time. It is a long process, but it is important that readers are offered a story of the highest possible standard.
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Where to find Martin Marais online

Twitter: martincmarais

Where to buy in print


The Battle of Paardeberg: Lord Roberts' Gambit
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 144,770. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom, Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom
In the first months of the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) the British suffered a series of catastrophic defeats. In response the British initiated an audacious manoeuvre to outflank the Boer army which sat astride the route to the besieged town of Kimberley. The move culminated in one of the bloodiest conflicts of the war, the Battle of Paardeberg. Would it be the British or the Boers who prevailed?

Martin Marais’s tag cloud

anglo    boer war    canada    french    haig    kimberley    kitchener    marais    paardeberg    south africa   

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