Today we talk about One settler, One bullet, a book by Jeanne Pickers published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author Jeanne Pickers to get to know her better, as well as when she decided to write about her personal story in her book One settler, One bullet.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- When did you decide to write your personal story?
My memoir began its life as a diary. 20 years ago, Don and I set sail from South Africa on a 40ft catamaran we had built on our farm, never having sailed before. We were deeply traumatized by events leading up to our departure:the attack by dissidents on our family in the early hours of one morning, the tragic loss of our daughter for whom the boat was built, (her business was tagging whale shark in Mozambique), and the murders of several of our farming neighbours and friends over the years, months and weeks before we left. In the middle of the ocean, without distractions and the busyness of life, we began collecting threads to piece together, trying to make sense of it all. And as I wrote it all down, a pattern began to form, and the more we delved into the past, the more the diary began to tell us a story. Instead of bewilderment and pain, we began to laugh at the memories of the wonderful people we had grown to love. We stopped asking why, and started to remember the good times. This is my memoir.
- What sensations did you feel by ‘reading’ your life on the pages of your book?
The first overwhelming sensation on receiving the printed book was one of relief – it was done at last! Later, I felt a sense of pride. After 20 years, the diary, written on a sailing boat in the middle of the Indian Ocean had come together as a memoir. This memoir belongs to both Don and I, as he was as much part of it as I was. We have felt both the delight and the gravity of this legacy to our family, to our friends, and to the world. Our life experiences which we now share, will give perspective and be an encouragement to those who are floundering and trapped in that life, or others who seek refuge elsewhere. When I hold the book in my hands I feel the sweet taste of achievement. I had needed desperately to record and remember, the love and laughter of Kathi, of our farm workers and of our friends. I wanted the world to know the happiness of our life on Bloemendal and the juxtaposition of devastation that we had been through and what farmers are having to deal with even now, when the media is silenced. When I hold that book in my hands, I feel immensely humble and grateful that Don and I have the privilege of starting life again in a safe country.
- What was the first book you read and what did it teach you?
My husband’s answer to that is….the Bible…and it taught him not to believe everything he reads. But my answer is probably the first book I remember reading on my own was Winnie the Pooh by A.A.Milne. This good-natured, yellow-furred, honey-loving bear who lives in a forest, captivated my imagination. It was the illustrations that made the most impression on me when I was 6 or 7 years old of course – the English country side and the animals that lived there. Living in Africa, I was always fascinated by wild animals and elephants for me were the best. So Hefalump, the elephant that appears in Poohs dreams, was top of the list. But any story about country life and animals held me enthralled and was more than likely why I gravitated away from the city to living a rural life as an adult. Of course there are amazing life lessons to be learnt from A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh. I think he is a lasting character because he can’t be fully understood until you’ve grown up. Its only then that you can appreciate all the life lessons – a positive attitude, empathy, gratitude, problem solving, the importance of education, the simple things in life, friendship and the one I love the best – simply doing nothing!
- Are you planning to start a new writing project?
My second book and sequel to “One Settler, One Bullet” is well on the way and ready to be published in the next weeks. It is the sequel to my first memoir and is about our adventures at sea, after leaving our country, South Africa, and cruising for twenty years on the catamaran we had built. This is a chronicle of how we coped with life after trauma, and life on board, Katrine, never having sailed before. The memoir tells of surviving the worst storm in 25 years off the African coast on our first night out, and being caught up in the middle of the Tsunami in Asia in 2004. It’s about our adventures on deserted islands and living by our wits. But more than that, it’s about the incredible people we met, and how our lives impacted on theirs and theirs on ours. It has been a journey, and one that we could never have dreamt of in a million years.
Europe Books thanks the author Jeanne Pickers once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside her on the editorial path that led to the publication of her book One settler, One bullet. We wish her the best of luck for her future works.
To you, my dear reader, I wish you to get involved in the personal story of Jeanne Pickers and her husband, to let yourself be passionate and to find food for thought on which to reflect and possibly apply as a teaching in your everyday life.
So, my dear reader, I just have to wish you to enjoy your reading!!!