What made you fall in love with writ­ing? I’ve al­ways loved read­ing and I started writ­ing around age nine. My favourite pas­time was cut­ting out pic­tures from mag­a­zines and writ­ing sto­ries around them — I re­mem­ber hav­ing a field day with Princess Diana’s wed­ding [chuck­les]. As I grew older, I dis­carded the pic­tures and started writ­ing de­scrip­tive sto­ries on A5 ex­er­cise books and cir­cu­lated them among school­mates.

What con­di­tions do you pre­fer when writ­ing? I need to­tal si­lence, where it’s lit­er­ally just me and my char­ac­ters. I don’t want to be dis­turbed be­cause I lose thread eas­ily. How­ever, when my son en­tered my world, he broke all that si­lence [chuck­les]! What in­spired The Gold Dig­gers’ sto­ry­line? Iron­i­cally, it was in­spired by the xeno­pho­bic con­flict in South Africa or what some call ‘Afro­pho­bia’. Much as there was sym­pa­thy from some quar­ters, there were also vo­cif­er­ous shouts of, ‘What are they do­ing here? They should re­turn to their coun­tries!’ How long did it take to fin­ish the book? I com­pleted The Gold Dig­gers in 2016 — it took me a year to get a pub­lisher. I haven’t writ­ten any­thing new since. Be­tween work­ing full-time as an in­vest­ment an­a­lyst and be­ing a sin­gle par­ent, there’s just no time to write. What’s the one thing you’d like read­ers to take away from the book? To be em­pa­thetic. We’re too quick to judge. Try to be kind.

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