Friday, April 3, 2009

Special Guest: Author Judah Raine

Hey everyone! Thanks to Tracy for the opportunity to blog here – it’s always grand to have a new spot in Cyberspace, and new people to visit with.

As an author, one of the common questions I get is where I get my inspiration from, so I thought that, today, I’d share a little of my life here in South Africa, and also some background on my latest Bookstrand release, The Look, which really is, like all my books, inspired by the same things that have shaped me into the person I am today.

I grew up a farm girl in rural South Africa, with my little bare feet firmly grounded on African soil and my head sheltered by the vast African sky. I learned to shoot when I was about 8, to fish when… I can’t actually remember, but I must have been very young. I learned to milk a cow (yes, by hand) so that the froth sat a few inches thick on top (a rare thing, and one which earned the respect of the men in the cow shed!) I learned the basics of wool sorting – taking a shorn fleece and separating the various sections into grades for sending to the wool markets.

Life was an endless adventure, back then. Somehow things seemed hugely simple. We had no electricity on the farm. Everything was candles and paraffin lamps, and a great big old wood stove in the kitchen that warmed the whole house in winter. We’d pull fresh veggies out the garden, and prepared all our own meat, and even smoked our own bacon.

Growing up in such a remote community was another experience I’ll never forget. Somehow that kind of community was simply there, it was, didn’t need explanations or justifications… Everyone knew everyone, back to a few generations, who married who and how many kids they had and who those kids married. People laughed together, cried together, helped out in a crisis and generally seemed to be there when needed.

Many of those farming communities had their “town” – usually a one-shop affair (which also doubled as a post office, a filling station if you were lucky, and a farmers co-op. My parents grew up in a little place called Bolo Reserve, right in the middle of nowhere. It had the store (yes, which was the post office!) and a hotel (three whole rooms and a bar) which also doubled as a filling station. No co-op unfortunately, though they did have a police station (about twelve kilometres out of town??), a stock auction facility and, wait for it, a jail. Four cells and a cottage attached. In my memory it was empty and the postmistress lived in the cottage.

They also had a tennis club/library, which had a huge hall. The Bolo dances were rowdy, festive affairs, drawing people from other districts. Parents would take their kids, and we’d play outside until it was too dark. Mattresses would be placed under the tables and gradually the kids would crawl in under there and go to sleep. One of our favourite games was peering out under the tablecloths and trying to guess which of the shoes that danced by belonged to who. Then we’d wake up in the car driving home, the sun just creeping over the horizon…

This is the type of world my sassy, streetwise heroine from The Look, Morgan Slater encounters when she heads off into the back of beyond. She’s looking for facts. What she finds is a truth far deeper than anything she’d ever imagined, and which challenges all her assumptions, perceptions and accepted norms. She also encounters the one man in the universe who has the ability to talk to her without needing words, whose uncanny ability to see into her soul creates a conflict and an excitement she never knew existed.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing this book, because it explores the layers – in people, in situations, and in our assumptions about life and about truth and how they all fit together. Morgan's courage lies in allowing the process stripping-away to become a process of adding-to, an intriguing journey that I think almost all of us can relate to.

Here’s the blurb:

With a secret that makes her pretty much a walking time-bomb with the potential to turn her own life and a whole lot of others inside-out, Morgan Slater's plans definitely don't include the suspicions of the determined and dynamic Blake Thornton.

She heads out to the back of beyond on a simple Quest for the Truth, but her first meeting with Blake draws the battle lines for a persistent confrontation that makes focusing on her real reason for being there extremely difficult. Worse, he has this uncanny instinct and a way of seeing beyond her sassy, street-wise confidence that makes their ongoing conflict more than simply a battle of wills.

But Morgan has also not anticipated a lot of other complications and, as she struggles to keep her secret and protect herself and others in a world of shifting boundaries and increasingly difficult emotional situations, The Look rapidly becomes...

You can find The Look at:

I’d love you to visit me on my website at or on my blogs at and

Thanks so much for having me here!

Happy reading,

Judah Raine


Mary Ricksen said...

What a wonderful way to grow up. I am so envious.
And I look forward to reading it.

Mona Risk said...

What a interestiinfg life you have. My husband traveled often to Johanesburg in the nineties. I never had a chance to go with him. I will check your book.

Teresa Reasor said...

Your blog is very interesting, and your books sound great!!
Good luck with them both.
Teresa R.

Judah Raine said...

Thank you, ladies! It was a grand life and I do miss it, though I get to re-explore it through my books.

Kathleen said...

Juhah you sound like you had a great up bringing. Even though I grew up in the city we had summer place where we "roughed" it. It was just a little cabin and we only had cold running water and an outdoor toilet. We still have it, and now a third generation is running around up there. The simple life is the best life!!!

Linda Banche said...

What beautiful pictures, and what a great description of your childhood. Sounds wonderful.

LK Hunsaker said...

Jude, thanks for sharing your home with us. I had to chuckle at the image of the kids lying under tables watching feet go by!

Hywela Lyn said...

Sorry I'm late popping in here Judah, but I loved your post, what a fascinating childhood. I'm one of those people who are quite happy living in 'the middle of nowhere' with just the basic amenities, so I'd have probably felt quite at home. My upbringing in Wales was pretty good though, with lots of wild countryside and freedom. 'Still Running' sounds great and it's a gorgeous cove.r

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