I recently had the pleasure of working with Niki Malherbe on the cover of her second novel, Somewhere in Between. She kindly agreed to answer a few questions about her inspiration and experiences as an indie author.
Here’s the blurb:
The self-righteous, headstrong lawyering mother has a new and greater challenge.No longer seeking the approval of her own successful mother, one of South Africa’s first women judges, Niki is out to find that elusive concept of the ‘work/life’ balance and some real, sustainable solutions. Her journey takes her deep into feminist philosophies as she struggles to understand the unfolding media-driven drama of the Oscar Pistorius trial while researching issues of ethics in the legal profession.
But in between life and children, Niki is also determined to navigate her way around the world of print and publishing and connect with her own identity as a writer.
How is she going to survive all this?
When did you start writing and what inspired you to write that first book?
I have always written journals as a young girl and then of course, much of law (my career ) is about writing : opinions, agreements, legal pleadings, correspondence. It’s all reading and writing and then of course speaking (if your pursue a career in litigation). First book was inspired by the birth of my first child (started journaling again) and then doing some writing courses. It was after the completion of an online creative writing course which taught me about writing creatively and gave me the motivation to tell my story that I felt passionately about finishing it and getting it out.
Why did you decide to self publish?
I’m hopelessly impatient. Bottom line. I sent my first book to all the big (8) publishers in SA and got some nice feedback but all rejections and then didn’t feel the urge to keep on with the submission process.
I could have tried an overseas agent but didn’t feel like the effort (impatient as I said!). But I also believe that if I have to wait for someone to find my work useful or worthy of being published, I will become demotivated. I also kind of enjoy the challenge of just doing it myself but I also think there’s a reason for books not being published. They’re either plainly just not good enough or they’re just not the right book and the right time for THAT particular publisher. Certain books really do need a publisher. I would not try to publish my next one without a publisher though and have already started the submission process which is very hard.
What is the greatest piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Believe in your story and just keep working on it. Bum in chair. Nothing more complicated.
What unique challenges do you think there are in writing a memoir and how did you overcome them?
Interesting question. SA publishers have not always been keen to publish memoir from ‘nobody’ about ‘nothing’ that is not generally political or traumatic or a rise to redemption kind of tale. The so-called ‘misery’ memoirs are more newsworthy. Much like ordinary news. No news is good news. Mike Nicol (political crime writer) commented on my first book that ‘had I been in the USA, there may well have been a demand’ but the SA publishers feel you have to be someone: a celebrity or politician/entertainer/extreme sportsman or otherwise a great (generally tragic!) story. So, how do I overcome this? I just do it myself ! And try to attract attention with an online presence,( a blog and social media) and hope that somehow my story will inspire someone to see things in a different way. I really do believe (with this new book) that the world as currently exists needs some more mothers!
What would you do differently next time around?
Would be great to save some costs and possibly learn how to format it myself better because it shouldn’t be that difficult but I don’t have the patience! Plan the launch only AFTER I have the printed books in my hand. But one thing I will do the same- employ you for my COVER ! I love it!
You can purchase Somewhere in Between here.