Today we talk about Of vagabonds, missionaries and thieves, the second novel by Douglas Hawkins published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author Douglas Hawkins to get to know him better and find out more about him on his book Of vagabonds, missionaries and thieves.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- Why did you decide to start writing?
Some years ago I simply started feeling the urge to write. As I had never written anything before, I was introduced to a retired TV script writer who I thought could assist me. She asked what it was I wished to write about. As I am a keen amateur historian the first thought that came to mind was the Anglo-Zulu war, fought in 1879 between the British and Zulu kingdom in what is today a part of South Africa. Over the years a tremendous amount of academic studies have been published on the subject. The very few historical novels that have been published were written from the point of view of British soldiers. I needed to write something different and decided to write a novel solely from the point of view of the average Zulu family of the time. It took five years of careful research before I produced the final manuscript. The core of the story is the role played in the war by two brothers within a fictitious high ranking Zulu family. Apart from this the story is culturally and historically accurate. The book itself-published under the title “My Brother’s Keeper”. It received good reviews in the media. The book is available from Amazon.
- Where did you find the inspiration to write this story?
Encouraged by my first novel, the inspiration for my second novel, “Of Vagabonds, Missionaries and Thieves”, came about when a friend passed a comment about a trade in African children that took place in the 19th century Dutch-speaking republics of southern Africa. Children were taken from African villages by the settlers to work on the farms. Even African chiefs took part in the trade in return for payments in cattle and guns. The republics no longer exist having since been incorporated into what is today the Republic of South Africa so I began researching the subject. Apart from one excellent academic study which is referenced at the end of the book, I was surprised to find that very little had been written about it. I felt therefore that this was an important story to tell in the form of an historical novel which everyone could read.
- What message did you want to send out with your book?
There are two messages I feel the need to convey. Firstly, child labour is a shocking practice that is still carried on in some parts of the world and must be stopped. Secondly, the history of southern Africa is fascinating but few readers take an interest in it. The reason for this is that the various publications that are available are long academic studies, read by a relatively few dedicated history enthusiasts.My novels provide stories of history, filled with plots, villains and heroes in an exciting and enjoyable form of learning. They can appeal to everyone without having to study long publications of academic research.
- Which authors of the present and/or the past do you take as a model?
None. I write as I feel in my own unique style.
- Are you already working on a new project?
Not yet. I have various ideas in my head. Not until I discover something that is relatively unknown from an historical point of view will I write again.
Europe Books thanks the author Douglas Hawkins once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside him on the editorial path that led to the publication of his book Of vagabonds, missionaries and thieves. We wish him the best of luck for this novel and for his future works.
To you, my dear reader, I wish you to find interesting ideas which will make you reflect on yourself and your life, on a useful and pleasant introspective journey.
So, my dear reader, I just have to wish you to enjoy your reading!!!