Firstly, my profuse apologies for the lull in the writing of posts and the updating of my blog. Life is hectic, as you well know, and time does not pause for any man. The first draft of Under Philadelphi Road is complete and editing and copywriting is underway. Actually, it's going quite swiftly, at this stage anyway, due to the fact that the reason it took almost 4 years to complete the draft is that I have already spent hours, and sometimes even days, on a single paragraph, a sentence or a word, not to mention the Everest of research I was required to do for this challenging, but most satisfying, work to date.
A question posed by several people around me, and at a distance, has prompted me to write this first post about my upcoming novel. I am thankful for questions and deeply appreciative of feedback as I write not only for myself, as a necessity, but for you the reader, who indeed insists to excel in and forever develops the curiosity and want for knowledge, understanding and literary quality. And quite rightly so.
The question and interest that has come up regards the title of the book, which some think has to do with Philadelphia, USA. This could not be furthest from the truth. Firstly, it is Philadelphi (with an i at the end). So, where is this so-called Philadelphi Road and what is it's importance to the story?
The Philadelphi Road or Route refers to a narrow strip of land, 14 km in length, situated along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Under the provisions of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty of 1979, the buffer zone was controlled and patrolled by Israeli forces. After the 1995 Oslo Accords, Israel was allowed to retain the security corridor along the border. One purpose of Philadelphi Road was to prevent the movements of illegal materials (including weapons, ammunition and illegal drugs) and people between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Palestinians, in cooperation with some Egyptians, have built smuggling tunnels under Philadelphi Road to move these into the Gaza Strip. The 1979 Egypt-Israeli peace treaty, in which Israel agreed to withdraw from the Sinai in exchange for peace with Egypt, stipulated that the border with Egypt would follow the border of the Palestine Mandate. The main border exchange would be in the town of Rafah. (info from Wikipedia).
Rafah is where the story begins but this is for another post. Above then, you have the explanation of what and where Philadelphi Road is. The reason for the title, well, this is also for a following post :)
The October edition of The Cape Chronicle is out and in it is a great interview which I'm very happy with. To see it, please click here. It's on page 10. Thanks so much to Tali Barnett for setting it up so beautifully.
Given that I am reaching the end of the writing of my second novel , I am proud and glad to announce for the first time its name: It is called Under Philadelphi Road. It is written in the first person from the eyes of Ismail, a Palestinian boy who together with friends digs a tunnel under the border between Israel and Egypt in order to smuggle out goods to earn some money. When the tunnel collapses, Ismail is trapped on the other side of the border, in Egypt. As he takes the reader on his life's journey, the reader starts to understand that Ismail has been born for a very special purpose.
I will be creating a separate blog for Under Philadelphi Road so please stay tuned :)
Yes, this week appears to be the week of the interviews :)
Yesterday I was interviewed by Suchitra Chaudhary of Gulf News in Dubai for their magazine Friday. The interview will appear on 3rd June. Today, Marjolein Balm, book blogger and reviewer extraordinaire, interviewed me via skype. Her review should appear tomorrow on her blog. Last week, I was interviewed by Tali Barnett, the editor of The Cape Jewish Chronicle. That article will be published in their next edition.
To express my gratitude for the great things that have happened to The Goat Herder since its publication, I am giving away 10 free ebook versions of the book downloadable on Smashwords. All you have to do is send me an email and if you are among the first 10 emails requesting the ebook, I will email you the special coupon code to type in when downloading the ebook. The Giveaway offer starts now! :)
Today I was informed by a very nice reporter of a local newspaper that I will be invited soon for a radio interview. This is great news and I am really looking forward to it, besides me being a bit nervous :)
In addition, a number of copies of the book are now for sale at The Bay Bookshop in Hout Bay, Cape Town. They have organised for a book review to be done in a popular magazine. More great news. Wow!
To add to the above, the owners of the above fabulous book store have offered to do the book launch in their store at The Cape Quarter in Green Point. What more can ask for? The launch will take place later on in the year.
"Stewart, I've read the first four chapters. I think your ability to evoke a sense of place is excellent, as is the way you compell your readers to turn the page at the end of each chapter." Elinor Evans
"This is a beautiful tale, and told with such a keen eye and attention to detail that the reader is transported. I was intrigued by your opening - as we both begin our books with a photograph, and loved your prose. Your writing is beautifully paced and unusually elegant, with such perfect imagery without any superfluous word; 'a breeze whispered to the languid day' - I could feel that breeze, the atmosphere of that day. I am putting you up on my shelf - just as soon as I've rearranged it. Well done and good luck with this." Judith Kinghorn
"Hi Stewart - A most enjoyable read. Lovely, lyrical writing that took me without effort to Nathi's village. I like the way his enquiring mind raises questions and how he is determined to satisfy his curiosity about the hunting lodge. The stillness, while he watches his goats, or the ants, helps to give your story a lovely, calm flow. For all that, it certainly deserves an airing on my Bookshelf." Elizabeth Jasper
"Good balance (narrative-POV), nice pacing, exceptional descriptive abilities. Like the old photo start, reminds me of the (Time After Time) Chris Reeve movie. Almost like you're painting a picture, rather than merely telling a story." Rocky Lastinger
"This is simply beautiful writing. And a lovely story. You play with the delights and challenges of Africa with such skill - I've been sitting here with a grin on my face just enjoying this. No intention of nitpicking details - just putting this on my shelf." Jo Carrol
"Hi Stewart, The only comment i can make is that this is, in my opinion, a beautiful story. I am amazed at how you bring the characters to life: i am literally there, with Nathi, and i can almost feel the atmosphere. I have never been to Africa, but now feel like i have. You are on my shelf. Good luck." Janie.
"You write with fantastic detail, down to the offering of the photograph. I can't tell you how often I've seen this in film or documentary and noted it, but never considered it might be a sign of respect or an indication that the offerer had nothing to hide. It's this kind of wonderful, knowing detail that fills out your characters so much. Great transportive fiction. Great work here." Jason Riley
"Lovely cover. Good pitch. Wow! The descriptions are beautiful and surpassed my expectations. I could see the boy sitting there. I could see the photo. Can't wait to read more." Joanna Stephen-Ward
Although it will take another 3 weeks approximately until the paperback edition of The Goat Herder is available on all major online book stores (Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon and more), it is, however, now available on Lulu.com
To go to my store front on Lulu just click here. The ebook is already available on Amazon's Kindle and should be on iBooks shortly as well.
Please feel welcome to leave a review or leave a comment here when you've read the book. I would love to hear your feedback.
Hello and welcome to my blog. This blog site is the home of my novels, The Goat Herder (published) and Under Philadelphi Road (first draft completed). I will be discussing themes in the stories and similar topics in comparative literature, posting links to chapters of the books, where possible, and updates of their journey to publication. I invite you to accompany me on this exciting journey. Please feel welcome to leave a message or a comment. I am grateful you have taken the time to stop by.