The Next Big Thing: The Klipspringers by Pam Newham

“The Next Big Thing” asks writers to self-interview about their books, post online and then “tag” writers for the next week to do the same.

Thanks to Kerry Hammerton (These are the lies I told you) who tagged me. Read her wonderful interview here.

What is your working title of your book?

The Klipspringers is both the working title and the published title.

Where did the idea come from for your book?

I was approached by Oxford University Press to write a first-language novel for grade 7. I was on holiday in the bush when I got the email and so I came up with the idea of setting the story on a game farm. The main characters are the children of the people who work there.

What genre does your book fall under?

Pre-teen adventure, I would say.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’m afraid I have no idea. I don’t know the names of South African child actors.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A group of children, calling themselves The Klipspringers, save the rhino on the game reserve from being killed by poachers.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It was published by Oxford University Press and has been accepted by The Department of Basic Education as a prescribed book for grade 7 in 2014.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I was given a very short deadline by the publisher (due to the Dept of Education’s tight deadline) so I wrote it in about 10 weeks.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I know they’re ancient but think Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven series (with cell phones and laptops!).

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I never intended to write for children but in 2010 I saw a competition for children’s literature advertised by Maskew Miller Longman and decided to give a try. My book, Three Blind Dates, got into the finals and was published. This inspired me to write a sequel, A Dog’s Best Friend, (to be published by Maskew Miller Longman later this year). I have found that I really enjoy writing for older children.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think the subject Is topical and it’s set in Limpopo which does not seem a common locale for South African books. Also, I hope my readers find it not only exciting, but amusing.

It has been difficult to find someone to tag on The Next Big Thing – so many writers have already been tagged or are too busy writing – which is probably what I should be doing!

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