June 6, 2013

Nerine Dorman and Camdeboo Nights {Author Interview & Review}

Hi everyone and thanks for stopping by the Authors' Cafe! Today, as part of Buy the Book Tours, I have author Nerine Dorman in the spotlight. She's got her favorite beverage and is ready to answer some questions, so let's get right to the interview.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you "grew up?" 

That varied. I first wanted to be an astronaut until I realized that South Africa didn’t have a space program, so I went through a phase where I wanted to be a game ranger. Then a rock star . . . A photographer. So I ended up settling for a life of excitement as a newspaper sub-editor. But I do get to write cool stories, and for fun I write novels. 

And Camdeboo Nights is definitely a cool story! At what point in your life did you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality? 

I wouldn’t exactly call it a career. It’s a calling. Career sort of suggests that you make oodles of money to survive. You don’t. I write novels because I enjoy telling stories. I write novels because I MUST tell stories. 

Do you have any ‘rituals’ you go through before you write? 

My writing is such stolen time away from print and editing deadlines. It might be a lunch hour here, or half an hour before I go to bed there. That’s the sad reality of my life. 

What was your favorite chapter (or part) of Camdeboo Nights to write and why? 

Perhaps one of my favorite scenes is where there’s this . . . No. I don’t want to give it away. But there’s a thunderstorm and a stop by a roadside diner. And then an encounter with the super-weird where the plot of the novel doesn’t just thicken, it curdles. 

Wow - That sounds exciting! How did you come up with the title? 

I suck at titles. Mainly I wanted Camdeboo in the title because that’s the region where a large chunk of the novel plays out. I think to my foreign readers it will sound exotic. So, there’s that. And nights . . . Well, considering that there’s a lot of running around at night, that kinda made sense at the time.

What would YOU like your readers to know about this book or you in general?

Mostly that Camdeboo Nights takes some unexpected turns, and what you think might happen doesn’t necessarily come to pass. I like to keep my readers on their toes, and some pretty strange stuff happens. [smiles] 

What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? 

Don’t be precious about your words. Be prepared to cut and rewrite. Don’t take constructive criticism or rejections as a personal attack, but rather see where you can improve your writing (especially the case if you get a personalized rejection letter). Lastly, read, read, read, and read outside your chosen genres. Read the classics, read the best-sellers, and make an effort to go track down truly obscure material. 

Excellent advice! Do you have a favorite author? 

I have three: Neil Gaiman, Poppy Z Brite and Storm Constantine. There are others, but the list will get a bit exhaustive.

What is your favorite quote?

Heard it in a song once, but couldn’t figure out where they referenced it: "When there’s nothing left to burn you must set yourself on fire." 
I kinda live by that rule. 

What genre of books do you read for pleasure? 

I prefer epic fantasy, but generally read everything that gets put down in front of me, though I draw the line at stuff like Dan Brown or EL James. 

What’s the most amusing thing that’s every happened to you? 

Where do I start? Generally I provide free entertainment for my colleagues each day, and scare the others when I talk in Gollum voices. 

I bet you do a mean "My Precious." What do you like to do when you’re not writing? 

Reading, playing guitar, gardening… And tagging along when my husband goes to photo shoots or is filming his next indie movie. 

If all TV shows were real, what show (all time) would you most like to live in? 

Game of Thrones… No. Wait. Maybe Supernatural. 

 Party dress or blue jeans? Um, funeral garb? 

Of course! Plotter or Panster? A little of both, though I tend toward being a plotter. 

Print or e-Book? For general reading, e-book all the way, though I like keeping hard copies of my favorite authors, especially if I’ve attended their launch and can get them to sign. 

Coastal walks or extreme sports? Coastal walks. I love the sea. 

Cookies or cupcakes? CUPCAKES!!! 

Super hero or super villain? Super villain, of course.

If I had a free afternoon I’d . . . take a nap. Seriously. I don’t know when I last had an afternoon nap. And I’d order one with rain pouring on the tin roof outside. 

Peanut Butter: Crunchy, Creamy, or I hate peanut butter and am addicted to Nutella. I’m deathly allergic to peanuts, so it’s going to have to be Nutella. ON EVERYTHING. 

You suddenly realize you live in a haunted house. Do you: 

  1. Run screaming for the door 
  2. Bravely go to a church, load up on holy water and try to get rid of the ghost 
  3. Set up ghost hunting equipment to capture phenomenon 
  4. Call in the Ghost Adventures crew so that you can ogle the lead guy Zac’s amazingly stiff hair when you’re not ogling his….physical attributes 
  5. Deny you have a ghost and just let it scare the bejesus out of your visitors. 
I’ll have to go with #5. And be on hand to take photos. 

Could you tell us five random facts about yourself? 
  1. I’m actually blond; 
  2. I’ve eaten crocodile and ostrich kebabs; 
  3. I have Viking ancestry; 
  4. I live in a Treehaus; and 
  5. I’ve run in a cheetah enclosure (not recommended).w

I'd love to see the pictures from the run in a cheetah enclosure! Well, that's it for the interview. Thanks so much for stopping by to talk to me today, Nerine. It's been wonderful having you at the Cafe. Now, here's The Cafe Review of Camdeboo Nights by Nerine Dorman.

This book had me at, "Rose, the name he'd given to this monster whose streamlined curves were finished with chrome and burnished burgundy paintwork, was his dearest possession." In Camdeboo Nights, Nerine Dorman weaves a fabulous fable with the best of them, blending a magical, supernatural world seamlessly into reality.

Camdeboo Nights is, to sum it up in one word . . . Delicious! You know how you sometimes find a book that's as good to read as some luscious pastry is to eat? Well, Camdeboo Nights is one of those books. It's the kind of book that's usually devoured in one sitting, because you just can't put it down. If you do have to reluctantly step away from it, the story stays in your head, circling through your mind, making you feel as if you've left the characters' lives suspended in time until you can pick the book up again.

I read all types of genre, and I have to say that Camdeboo Nights is completely different from anything I've read before, with an extremely original storyline. Through this talented author's gift for description, the characters and locations were both vivid and realistic. It's fast-paced and pulls you in right from the "Highlight" at the beginning to the "Epilogue" at the end. It's definitely a book that will be put on my "Keepers" list, and I'll read it again.

I do not post spoilers in my reviews, but prefer to give my impressions of the book as an avid and widely-read reader. Needless to say, I enjoyed this book immensely and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves to read original fantasy.

I'm giving Camdeboo Nights a 5 Cup Review!


Helen Ashfield’s world is about to be turned upside down. Is she ready?

Helen Ashfield’s life is complicated. Not only must she adjust to her parents’ divorce, but she has to come to grips with her new school in the small South African Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet. She’s sorely mistaken if she thinks she’s going to slot seamlessly into her new life. Her growing magical powers have attracted the unwanted attention of Trystan, a vampire, who may not have her best interests at heart.

Outcast from his kind for drinking another vampire’s blood, Trystan has been on the run for almost a hundred years from Mantis–the closest thing their kind has to an enforcer. All Trystan wants is an existence of quiet anonymity, but Helen turns his world upside-down.

Helen’s powers also mark her as one of Mantis’ targets. If Mantis gets control of Helen, she’ll change the course of history…for the worse.

Armed with her grandmother’s shopping list, Helen ran out to the familiar silver Volvo, looking forward to speaking with Arwen, only to discover Szandor and another woman with a teased-out mop of white-blond hair waited in the car.

The woman turned icy gray eyes on Helen, giving her the impression that she could read each of Helen’s secrets.
She was pale, which wasn’t helped by the funerary aspect of her clothing–a buttoned-up sleeveless shirt with a cameo at her throat. When she moved, an audible swish of many layers of satin and chiffon filled the vehicle.

This must be the aunt. She couldn’t be the mother. The resemblance to Szandor was almost uncanny.

Szandor smiled, but the pleasure did not reach his eyes. “This is Sonja, my sister. Sonja, this is Arwen’s new friend, Helen.”
Sonja gave the briefest of frowns before facing the window.

“Uh, hi,” Helen said, wishing that she could be anywhere else but in this car with these peculiar people. The journey to Graaff-Reinet would be just over half an hour but it would feel like an eternity.

Szandor made a sound that was almost a snigger before turning the key. If only Damon were here, but her brother had gone to visit the Prof the instant his chores were done.

They drove in silence, with only the hiss of the air-conditioner as accompaniment, until they left the valley.
Then Szandor said, “Did you enjoy the films last night, Helen?”

She thought her heart would explode. Should she lie? Should she allow the story to filter through without some of the pertinent details?

“I… Uh. Yes.” She had watched films after Trystan had walked them home. Granted, she hadn’t been able to concentrate on any of the onscreen action.

“Oh,” Szandor said.

She caught a glimpse of his amused expression in the rearview mirror.

Bloody hell, of course he didn’t believe her. What did she expect?

“You haven’t seen or heard anything that you would consider out of the ordinary, have you?” Szandor asked.
“Um, no.”

“You’ll tell us if you do, won’t you?” Szandor asked. It was more a command than a question.

“I guess so.” Helen clutched the seat with white-knuckled hands.

Her grandmother’s amused tones echoed in her memory. The whole lot of them, they’re all witches. The father, too.
How far would Szandor push his craft? What could he do? Was she in any danger? If there was the superstitious fear of witchcraft that was prevalent among the indigenous Africans…

She’d read a little about the subject a few years previously while researching for a painting for her art classes. Witchcraft was a fascinating topic but she had never expected to ever deal with the real thing. Now her present situation seemed very real and very menacing.

“Where’s Arwen?” Helen hoped to steer their conversation to safer territory. She may as well have said “Nice weather, we’re having.”

“Arwen has been grounded,” Szandor said, his pale gaze reading the road ahead.

Oh heck. He knew.

“Oh.” Perhaps it would be better to say nothing at all then she wouldn’t dig herself a deeper hole.

The rest of the ride passed in uncomfortable silence. Helen pressed her face against the glass and hoped nothing more would be said.

She hated deception of any kind. Whenever she lied, she always ended up being caught out. Instead, she watched the passing landscape, where gray-blue spiked agave lined the road in clumps. Every so often jeep tracks led from the road they followed and she wondered where they went.

An editor and multi-published author, Nerine Dorman currently resides in Cape Town, South Africa, with her visual artist husband. Some of the publishers with whom she works include Dark Continents Publishing and eKhaya (an imprint of Random House Struik). She has been involved in the media industry for more than a decade, with a background in magazine and newspaper publishing, commercial fiction, and print production management within a below-the-line marketing environment. Her book reviews, as well as travel, entertainment and lifestyle editorial regularly appear in national newspapers. A few of her interests include music travel, history (with emphasis on Egypt), psychology, philosophy, magic and the natural world.



  1. Nerine, you sound like an absolutely fascinating person! Yay to the Author's Cafe for posting these wonderful reviews. :)

  2. Wow! A five-cup review! And I'm glad I've given you a ride to remember! And Kirsten, I aim to be fascinating. Life's too short and boring otherwise. ;-)

  3. Congrats Nerine, a fantastic review! A sign of a bestseller! "It's the kind of book that's usually devoured in one sitting, because you just can't put it down."

  4. Nerine, I had just writing a comment on a different site that being an author is a calling not a 'business' because most of us will never make a rational rate of return for the effort we put into writing.

    And here I find you saying the same thing. Congrats on getting five cups of coffee. (Don't drink them all at once or you'll be writing on your ceiling and people will get a neck ache while reading said ceiling.


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