Clive Algar

Biography

Clive Algar was born in Cape Town in 1942 and has also lived in Johannesburg, Namibia and London. He was a group executive in an international mining company and started writing fiction when he retired and returned to South Africa.

His first novel, Journeys to the End of the World, was published in 2007, and his second, Flowers in the Sand, in 2011. His third novel, Comets, was published as an eBook in 2013. He was invited to contribute a short story to a new Afrikaans anthology of Boer War stories (Boereoorlogstories 2) which was published by Tafelberg in 2012. His story “The Twins” appears in translation.

Clive and his wife Sue divide their time between their mountain home near Wolseley, Western Cape Province, and their lock-up-and-go in Cape Town.

Smashwords Interview

Why do you write fiction?
I love the infinite scope for creating new worlds. As a writer of mainly historical fiction (19th and early 20th century) I enjoy placing fictional characters among real historical characters to create events that could have happened. I love the blank page waiting for me to fill it.
Where did the inspiration for your first novel, Journeys to the End of the World, come from?
Journeys is set in three different eras but much of it takes place during, and just after, World War 1. I have had a fascination with the “Great War” since I was a child, as my late father fought on the Western Front, was mentioned in dispatches, was gassed in the trenches, and saw things he could not bear to tell me about. When I asked him about his experiences he told me a few amusing anecdotes but then always changed the subject. Later I realized that dredging up submerged memories of the horrors he had experienced there was extremely painful for him, even after the passage of so many years. He preferred not to look back. So to learn more about the war I read a great deal. I also read a lot of South African history, and I came across a remark by the missionary Dr John Philip about the behaviour of certain Khoi people (then known as Hottentots) during the Hottentot Rebellion of 1799. The symptoms he described sounded similar to those of World War 1 “shell shock”. Then I noticed a newspaper article about post-traumatic stress disorder among present-day victims of crime, and suddenly I saw a link between South Africans of 1799, 1916 and the present time. Isaiah Berlin said: “Intercommunication between cultures in time and space is possible only because what makes people human is common to them, and acts as a bridge between them.” I saw post-traumatic stress as the common factor, and from that grew the plot and characters of Journeys to the End of the World.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Clive Algar online


Books

The Chain of Time
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 97,750. Language: English. Published: June 4, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Historical » General, Fiction » Literature » Literary
Based on the diary of Major William Hawthorne, a young veteran of the Napoleonic Wars who is sent to the Cape of Good Hope to manage the security of a mysterious VIP. Amazed at the man's true identity, his plan to protect him from assassins leads to a surprising ending and changes William's life forever.
Journeys to the End of the World
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 108,510. Language: English. Published: May 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » General, Fiction » Literature » Literary
Vicky searches for the truth about her great-grandfather, Dan, who returned from WW1 with shell-shock. Like archaeologists in the Letterbox Cave, the novel brushes through the past, revealing Dan's story of war, guilt and love and reaching back to the foundations of South African society. The cave connects the lives of the characters and is where Vicky experiences her own life-altering crisis.
Flowers in the Sand
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 64,500. Language: English. Published: January 20, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » General, Fiction » Adventure » War & military adventure
Trapped by tragic circumstances in a dusty Namaqualand mining town during the Anglo-Boer War, Emma Richardson must degrade herself in order to survive. Then the town is besieged by Boer fighters and Emma is faced with a fateful choice. With her vision of the ephemeral desert flowers in her mind, she sets out alone on foot by night on a desperate mission to create a new future for herself.
Comets
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 66,410. Language: English. Published: January 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » General, Fiction » Literature » Literary
Set in the rich and fascinating milieu of Cape Town in the 1830s, Comets tells the story of James and Isabelle Forster whose lives are changed irrevocably not only by the appearance of Halley's Comet but by "human comets"; their upper middle-class existence threatens to spin out of control as they confront moral crises they seem unable to resolve.

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