If you’ve ever been to Ireland and somehow wound your way to the beautiful part of Ireland that is county Kerry, you may have wandered into the lovely little town of Dingle. If you did, then you will of course be familiar with Fungie. For the unfamiliar, Fungie is a dolphin that has been swimming around the waters of Dingle for the past thirty odd years and a whole tourist industry has, in typical rural Ireland fashion, been developed around him. He has it would appear, long outlived your average bottlenose dolphin.
You can go out in any number of boats to photograph Fungie as he swims alongside, or indeed if you are so inclined and lucky enough, you can get a chance to swim with him. This week, as if tourism isn’t already on its knees due to Covid-19, Fungie has disappeared! So important is he to the local…
I’ve just typed THE END to my latest novel, The Chainmaker’s Wife – a sequel to The Chainmakers’ Daughter. There’s still a lot of work to be done applying my latest research findings, editing, beta reading, etc, but I hope to be able to publish it before Christmas.
I was asked to write this sequel by a reader who wanted to know what happened to Jack and Rosie after the landmark strike for a minimum wage by women chainmakers in 1910. What happened to them, he wanted to know from 1910 to the end of the First World War.
So I obliged. Had I known the difficulty of the research, I might have baulked at the task, but fortunately, ignorance is bliss, and I jumped in with both feet. Despite the research constantly contradicting itself and having to dig deeper and deeper, it’s been the fastest book I’ve ever written…
My guest this week also writes stories set in Africa. We share a love for that great continent where you can feel the drumbeats of life emanate from the ground beneath your feet. Stand on her soil and you experience the primaeval force of life and your place on this planet.
Over now to Steve Braker, who is lucky enough to still live there, in a town I visited several times.
Steve Braker Action and Adventure Author
Firstly, I would like to thank Lucinda for inviting me to write this post on her newsletter.
Here’s a little bit about me…
I was born in Cornwall, in the South West of England. It is a wonderful part of the world full of beaches, beautiful moors, and some of the best scenery in the U.K. I grew up surfing, rock climbing, and camping which gave me a real taste for adventure. My parents were very keen readers. The house was always full of storybooks, mostly true-life adventures. My favourites always included some sort of far off adventure in lands I could only imagine. I remember being glued to the Gerald Durrell books. In his early days before he opened his sanctuary in Jersey, on the Channel Islands, he captured animals for zoos. His adventures in Africa catching lions and elephants were remarkable, and his ability to describe the scenes so vividly has always stayed with me.
I left school at sixteen and immediately enrolled with a local silversmith on an apprenticeship. It was a wonderful experience but did not really fulfil my desire to travel. After four lovely years, creating jewelry and silverwares, it was time for an adventure, so I took off with my savings, desperately searching for my life’s purpose.
I travelled to the Far East, India, and West Africa, wandering around trying to find myself and grow up. I managed to get some odd jobs to supplement my income and ended up teaching English in the British Embassy in Bangkok. I was very happy there and this would probably be the end of my story, but unfortunately, my father became terminally sick and I had to return to the U.K.
I landed in the U.K. in the depths of winter without a penny to my name. I managed to find some odd jobs cleaning offices and working in restaurants, but I wanted to get back to my teaching as I had found it fascinating. I managed to scrape enough money together to get a T.E.F.L. qualification enabling me to teach in the U.K. Once I had this under my belt I was able to work in the schools that proliferated Oxford Street at that time. This was not enough for me, before long I managed to open a one-room school in China Town in the West End of London. It was a good time for language schools, so with some hard work and a dose of good luck I was able to grow the school over the ten years.
This is where my passion for the English language really came to life. The technical aspects of the language really intrigued me. Breaking down sentence structure to its smallest parts became a real pleasure. This led to looking at the way the language works and how people interact with it.
Writing was always an interest to me, but I had never sat down and actually written anything. But during this time, I wrote many short action-adventure stories about my travels in West Africa and the Far East. Unfortunately, they are now lost in the mists of time.
In 1999 everything was changing in London, and I had a young family that was not enjoying living in the centre of a concrete jungle. So, my wife at the time, who is a Luo, a Nilotic tribe that lives around Lake Victoria, and I decided we would give Kenya a go. It was a massive decision; we had four kids the youngest was eighteen months old. But we desperately wanted our children to grow up with a sense of freedom.
In 2000 we all moved to Kenya in East Africa and settled in Mombasa on the coast. During the school holidays, we travelled the length and breadth of Kenya and sailed along the coastlines from Zanzibar to Lamu. They have all grown up now and headed back to the U.K., but they love coming out on holiday, and I’m sure they will return permanently one day.
I became very involved with the ocean and opened a marina and workshop. I also became a P.A.D.I. open water dive instructor, keen fisherman and free diver. One of my passions was repairing and building the ancient wooden dhows that still ply the coast of Kenya.
Working in the Ocean gave me the inspiration to write my first book ‘African Slaver’. I loved the experience and was hooked. I was amazed to see loads of reviews on Amazon.com all rating the book a four or five star. I wrote the story after spending some time in Mogadishu where child slavery is rampant. My books are action thrillers, but they have a twist of real-life experience with a heavy dose of local culture thrown in.
The William Brody Action Thriller Series is designed to show an aspect of Africa wrapped up in a fast-paced thriller. They are fiction but depict what is really happening on this continent. I was brought up on a steady fix of late eighties T.V. like The A-Team and Hawaii Five-O and for the English readers Minder and The Sweeny. These action series had a thread of old world ‘Do the right thing against all the odds.’ This seems to have gotten a bit lost over the years. My male character, William Brody, I like to think has the true grit that was represented in the movies and series made during this period.
I am currently working on the fifth book of the series. African Vengeance which is set in Mombasa and a small town in Tanzania called Tanga. Brody gets involved in a race against time to save his friends from some corrupt local officials. There is loads of diving, sailing and interesting interactions with the local population.
If you would like a taste of the William Brody Action Thriller Series, I am offering the first book, African Slaver, free of charge to anyone who signs up to my email newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time so there is no risk, and I only send the newsletters out once a month or so. Just click here if you would like a good read about Africa. You can also find me at www.stevebrakerbooks.com or drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for being my guest this week Steve.
If you would like to be a guest, just drop your name in the comments below. – Apologies too for a very basic layout. I’m still struggling to find my way around this new block editor. I won’t repeat in public what I think of it.