In the latest game of tag for historical fiction authors on the blogosphere, we introduce the main character of our work in progress or soon to be published novel. Just to be different, I’ve decided to talk about the main African character in my recent historical novel.
Thank you to Tim Taylor, author of the wonderfully atmospheric Zeus of Ithome, for tagging me.
What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
Charles Omari Ondiek is a fictional person.
When and where is the story set?
The story starts in the 1950s during the height of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, through Independence, and ends with the attempted coup in 1982. The reader is also taken with Charles to London and Oxford; and with another principle character, Caroline, across the Kenya-Tanzania border on safari into the Ngorongoro crater.
What should we know about him?
Charles is a member of the agricultural Kisii tribe which occupied the fertile land along the Kenyan shores of Lake Victoria. He’s had a missionary education and is an intelligent, ambitious man, who gains entrance to Oxford University. Before going up, he has a temporary job as driver for a white settler farmer whose hobby is to train racehorses.
What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?
Before going to University, Charles falls in love with the boss’s daughter Teresa, who is Caroline’s best friend; but their secret is discovered by the Mau Mau oath administrator on the farm, who hounds them through the years with a powerful curse. Although he is a committed Christian and doesn’t believe in such things, Charles can’t help wondering.
What is the personal goal of the character?
Charles’s first objective is to get into Oxford University and he returns to take up a career in journalism, which he hopes will lead him to fame and fortune in his newly-emergent country. His ambitions focus on the ancestral secrets of his tribe in a desert location.
Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
You can read the first few pages of BREATH OF AFRICA – which has been described as “a hymn of joy to Africa” – on Amazon; and get an idea of the rationale behind the makings of the book on my BLOG (There’s Always Hope). My BOOK TRAILER will give you a glimpse of the stunning scenery described in its pages.
When can we expect the book to be published?
The book was published by Crooked Cat in March 2013, and nominated for The Guardian First Book Award in July 2013. A second edition was published in April 2014.
Thank you for visiting – I now tag my good friend DR MARK PATTON, fellow Crooked Cat author, archaeologist, Dean at the University of Westminster and writer of warm-hearted historical fiction set in Roman Britain.