Books LIVE’s Erin Devenish recently met with Alex van Tonder to speak about her debut novel This One Time, which deals with the way stories and social media impact reality.
"I found out about more about the author’s own social media engagement: what makes her happy, what makes her rant on Twitter, and which emoji best suits her personality. During the conversation, I also discovered a little bit more about how stories and media interact with her work as both author and fashion copywriter."
"Readers, who are in the mood for a proper mind-fuck as far as psychological thrillers are concerned, will find solace in Alex van Tonder’s This One Time. The writing flows well, the pacing is good, and the plot is downright terrifying." - extract from a review by Killer Aphrodite
"The wolf was the immediate threat at first and it’s the obvious threat. To him it’s the most dangerous threat. But as the story unfolds, you realise that the wolf is actually on his side. The most dangerous thing for him would be not to listen to her, and not to work with her. You start to see that the threat is something very different.
She starts off as a hallucination, as he is coming off drugs, and he is getting clean. That does happen, when you are becoming sober. Technically, in very simple terms, she is a hallucination. I’m not going to give away the twist, but if there is any uncomfortable truth that we have to face in our lives, especially as we grow as people, it often presents itself as a fear. As something terrifying and scary, and we do want to run away from it. We don’t want to listen to it at all. Most of us want to run away from hard realisations or hard truths about ourselves."
Read the whole interview on BooksLive.
"I took inspiration from the real world of blogging and Instagram Fame and reality TV and the shadier world of revenge-porn, but he is no one person. He’s a complicated character in that he’s a blogger who projects a bad boy lifestyle of womanizing and parties, and he leads a life many men know isn’t necessarily in the best interest of feminism or equal rights but it still holds attraction. So he has this massive, worldwide following and therefore a lot of power, and it allows him to get away with doing whatever he pleases. He has control. Or so he thinks. Jacob ends up grappling under the weight of this persona, because even though it’s not real it’s taken over his life and is starting to get in the way of his success and his relationships, so he tries to escape it by fleeing New York to for Alaska. Of course, it is not that easy for him to escape the monster he has created."
Read the full interview here
"Alaska as a setting is really important. Apart from being physically isolated and impossible to penetrate… what was really important for his character development was for him to be emotionally isolated. A large part of his sense of self is linked to his affirmation online… he chases likes, he chases that endless online affirmation that you get when you’re a social media celebrity, so he needed to be in a place where he could get none of that… He has to escape, but he also has to come to terms with what he’s become."
I answered a few questions for Kelly from It's a Book Thing Blog, who had the (dubious?) honour of being the first person at my book launch in Jozi. And I answered them to the camera of my mac. Excuse my hair.
I had such a fun morning work Katlego and the Expresso team. And their frenchies, of course! Thanks so much for having me on.
I chat to Rozanne from Flits, an Afrikaans magazine show on Kyknet, right before my book launch in Joburg at Wolves Cafe. Don't worry - the interview is in English :)
I write in:
Bed, in the early mornings, with a cup of coffee and my laptop. Preferably before 6am.
The best advice anyone gave me about writing:
Write the book you want to read. Also: Have a lot of snacks within reaching distance.
To read the full Q&A click here...
Q: This One Time's protagonist can be seen as a sort of anti hero was it at all difficult for you to write from his point of view, especially when it comes to his views of women?
A: It was very difficult. I call it coming to terms with the character, you have an idea about what you want to write about and the story you want to tell but then in order for it to be true and for it to make sense to the reader and to make sense to you, you kind of have to come to terms with the fact that if it's going to play out like this he probably isn't a very nice person and he probably has some negative views. It was difficult to write on the one hand because I am a feminist and I believe in equality for men and women and I'm very aware of the weird white male thing happening on the internet at the moment but, in a way it was also quite therapeutic to write because you kind of realize that he is a product of society. It's not actually weird that he is this way he is because he has just taken something that was already there and now he's riding the crest of it.
To read the full interview, click here.
Zahrah from Voice of the Cape Radio station chats to Alex about how she researched a novel set in Alaska, as well as what it was like to write such a difficult male character, and whether it was satisfying to have a female antagonist take revenge on him.
Gareth Cliff chats to Alex van Tonder about all sorts of things including her debut novel, social media thriller This One Time.
"She’s young, quick-witted and has a way with words, but now blogger extraordinaire and marketing mastermind Alex van Tonder (aka Cape Town Girl) has put pen to paper for a different purpose: she’s written a novel, This One Time."