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Launching my COVID project: a new book!

Launching my COVID project, a new book, Hippos, Hotspots, and Homelands

Yes, when I realized what a long lockdown we were in for, with no promise of traveling in sight, I decided to write my long-planned memoir as a Covid project. My notebook has plenty of story ideas jotted down, some of them already written up as episodes for my writers’ group, and I was itching to get going.

What a blessing that at that very moment, Amanda Turner, a best-selling New York author, offered a Covid-special 5-day seminar on writing a memoir. I enrolled and the rest is (nearly) history. I signed up for a variety of online presentations and events, such as Women in Publishing (Alexa Bigwarfe), and 17000 (Cara Stein) – all of whom I am eternally grateful for.

I dipped my toes in the water when MalanMedia published the Afrikaans biography about my dad, PIET wat POMPIES was (Elsa van der Byl) in 2019, but I sold it from the trunk of my car with the help of my brother, Johan. The publisher, Daleen Malan, at MalanMedia accepted the memoir proposal and the book will be published in May on Kindle and Amazon, again under my maiden name.

New Memoir

The memoir basically covers three areas of my last 20 years in South Africa: living and working as an educator in three homelands during and after Apartheid in the old South Africa; wild animal adventures while living in game and nature reserves, and experiences of the political situation, student unrest and growing crime in the country. I tried to capture all of that in the title of my book, Hippos, Hotspots, and Homelands.

Talking about ‘Hotspots’, that’s where I feel I am right now! In a hot spot – trying to connect all the dots of successfully launching this lifework. As the weeks progress, I will write about my progress. At the moment, I am updating my email list and working out a launch plan, trying to get IT out there! I am going to set up a ‘street team’, do some presentations and interviews, and work the social media, besides the final prepping of actually getting the book done.

I love Amanda Turner’s blurb: “Hippos, Hotspots, and Homelands is a must for avid armchair travelers.”

So, if anyone wants to be part of this venture or wants a copy of the book, email me at elsa@travelswithelsa.