Interview with Andre Beerwinkel

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on the Cape Flats in South Africa. This influenced my writing in a big way. The Cape Flats is known for its friendly people, but also for its criminal gangs. These gangs sometimes seem to rule the Cape Flats, although in reality this is not true. But gangs, crime and drugs have a big influence on the Cape Flats and the culture adapted to this fact in a big way. Bottom line is, if you are not streetwise, or very fast, you are a dead duck on the Flats. And this is what my writing is about.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing while in High School. Since primary school, I can remember everything around me fascinated me. I wanted to learn, but I also wanted to change things to fit in with my view of life. I couldn't do that in real life, but when I started writing in High School I could suddenly create worlds that operated according to my rules and my philosophy. That was great and I was hooked. Since then I never stopped writing. If I am not physically writing, I am working on a plot in my mind...
What's the story behind your latest book?
The story behind my latest book is parkour. Parkour is one of the most fantastic things I ever saw. One can do what seems to be impossible. I wanted to work parkour into one of my stories and created the character, Corita Jones. I even created the name Corita myself, because I never heard that name before. I based it on the Spanish word for "run" namely carrera. And Corita basically runs throughout the whole book. She uses her parkour to escape the gangsters who are chasing her throughout book - on one level. And on a second level she uses the parkour to escape her life on the Cape Flats.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Aah, the usual. If you don't know someone in the publishing world, you are basically doomed, to use a nice word. Thing is I di know someone in the publishing world and lots of my short stories were published through him. He unfortunately died before I was done with my book and that was the end of me and traditional publishing.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating my own worlds and operating it according to my rules. What can be greater than that. Using the imagination is much more fun than the real world in any case, as long as one don't allow it to catch you. I never use myself or people I know in my stories - that would be way to boring. I created characters from the ground up and make them that would like people to be. Not perfect, mind you, perfect characters are just as boring as using real people for characters. All interesting characters always have a flaw of some kind. I also noted that most of my protagonists turned out to be females. Why I don't know, because I never planned it that way - that is just the way it turned out.
What are you working on next?
I am working on a follow up to Shadow Chase with Corita Jones. I want to combine her with another character of mine, namely Lakitha Williams. With Lakitha the story will have a bit more of an international flavour, but still playing off on the Cape Flats. I am also continuing writing my short stories, because short story writing is actually my genre.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I garden, do practical handyman stuff around the house, workout and cycling...wow, that's basically it, I am not very social.
What is your writing process?
It usually starts with an idea that hits me while watching a movie, playing a game or simply cycling. Wih this idead I then start working on a plot in my head. When I start writing down the plot, most of the details are already in my head. I then just expand it on my trusty writing program. Then I work out the name of the main character. This can take quiet a while, maybe even a week, because I consider the main character's name to be very important. The strange thing is that once I have the name of the main character, the names of the other characters comes to me out of their own. In any case, once the plot is worked out, I chop it up into "chapters". Then I start writing the story "chapter"by "chapter". I do this as quickly as possible. I call it getting the story out of me. Once this process is completed, the real work starts. I now start revising every "chapter", improving and changing it as I see fit. This can take weeks and even months. Once I am satisfied with every "chapter" I combine them and then I revise everything again as a whole - until I am satisfied with the work. Then I make a final check of spelling and grammer - unfortunately not very successful, because it seems one can't edit your own work.
How do you approach cover design?
I don't believe cover art should tell too much of the story. It definitely shouldn't show the character's faces clearly. The best books I ever read always had either a blank cover or a very neutral cover. The secret of books is that it works in your imagination which gives you a much clearer picture than any real picture ever would.
What are your favorite books, and why?
The Lord of the Rings. This is story telling at its best. Here Tolkein created a world that writers can only dream of. Everything is there and anything can be done in in.
Alice in Wonderland. This should be prescribed work for every child to read. There is so much wit and trueisms in this story that it boggles the mind. The other story that goes with this is Waterbabies by Charles Kingsley.
1001 Arabian Nights. No better story telling than this. And after completing each story, you wonder if the sheik will now chop off her head or wait for the next story.
Battlefield Earth: One could see Hubbard enjoyed writing this book. The worlds and characters he created, stayed with me since I read that book. This was the only humongous story I read three times.
Needful things by Steven Kings. I consider this his best story. Even today I am still wondering if Mr Guant was the devil himself or what.
Who are your favorite authors?
Daniel Koontz, off course. Further, The Brothers Grimm, JRR Tolkein, Isaac Asimov, L Ron Hubbard, Allan Moore. And the greatest of them all, Stan Lee. I grew up on his work...hehe. Andre P Brink and Chris Barnard are my favourite South African writers.
Published 2015-11-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Be My Victim and other Strange Tales from the Cape
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 19,600. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: November 16, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
Strange tales straight from the Cape. Don't worry, they won't scare you. That is if you are dead already...
Jintoe Uncensored: The Lacee Abrahams Story
Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 30,850. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: November 6, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
A thriller that will drive you over the edge. A thriller set in the darkest recesses of the Cape Flats. Remember, this book is for adults only. Download and start the journey...
They Can Resurrect Father And Other Tales That Will Haunt Your Dreams
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 18,390. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: October 24, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
Science have made it possible to bring the dead back to life again. The Wellness Corporation promises to have your loved one alive within one week after the fees are paid.
The Black Book of the East
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 11,100. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: October 23, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
They say that the Black Book of the East has an unstoppable power over its readers.
Shadow Chase: The Hunt on Corita Jones
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 51,900. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: May 24, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Corita Jones has to escape both the gangsters, who want to kill her, and the life she created for herself on the Cape Flats. Learn the secrets of the Cape Flats as Corita flees before the most dangerous men in the country.