Join me in welcoming Maretha Botha, the RRBC Spotlight Author for the month of May!
Maretha Botha is an Italian National who grew up in South Africa. She now lives in the United Kingdom with her family. Her grandchildren are her worst critics and she often has to change or add a different bird of prey instead of the one she originally intended to use, because her grandson loves Peregrine Falcons. So, the Tawny Eagles made way for a Peregrine Falcon in book 1, and he will also re-appear in Book 5, “The Bird Mission”.
Being a writer gives her the opportunity to daydream, to linger in the world of one of her characters, and then to manipulate things the way she wants them to be. Shutting out the noise and getting on with creating an unforgettable moment in time while simply sitting at her desk – or standing as the experts are encouraging us to do – is one of the things she enjoys about writing and illustrating.
Drinking a quick espresso also helps to keep the creative juices flowing.
She studied Library Science and Information Science as well as Bibliology (knowledge of books and libraries through the ages), English and Italian at the University of South Africa. She worked as a research librarian for an oil research facility, but the most satisfactory work came when working at a private school in Gaborone, Botswana. Teaching children aged 5-18 helped her to find her “inner-child personality” again.
Readers often ask her how she came to write “Fauna Park Tales”. The inspiration for the red-roofed farmhouse came from a painting of a lonely homestead in the Karroo (a thirst land in central South Africa) done by her younger daughter, Lionilde Claire when she was in Primary School. This house and the surrounding areas are the central focus of the Molodi valley.
Some photographs from a real valley near the Mmokolodi Game Reserve, Gaborone, Botswana. Featured here: inspiration for the stubborn goat, Plump-Grump, who looks after things at the farm while Flame and his friends are on a quest to save the orphans.
The stubborn goat, Plump-Grump
Mmokolodi’s cattle walk on sand which is almost orange. Note the pylons in the background. All this have been inspiration for Book 4, after Tall Leader and his gang of poachers kidnapped two orphans and stole most of the villagers’ cattle. Flame and his friends are in hot pursuit to free their victims.
An excerpt from Book 4, “Trails and Trials: An African Adventure – Fauna Park Tales”, Chapter 9, “The Cattle Battle”.
MEANWHILE, TALL LEADER AND HIS gang had other things to worry about – most of them were still sleeping when the cattle began stampeding down the riverbed in the direction of the sunrise. For that moment, no one cared about Larita and Leru, or where they went. The lovely soft glow of the dawn was suddenly hidden by dust and small bits of sand – looking like an enormous whirlwind.
The cattle ran east, not looking to the left or the right, determined to follow their leader – the big bull, Mafuta – who bellowed, ‘Follow Flame and Bibi, all you cattle! Stick to the riverbed and go straight ahead. Forget about Tall Leader’s dogs or his horsemen. Move your hoofs and don’t stop!’
On the other side of the dune, things were going according to Flame’s plan and the cattle made their escape down the riverbed. Solo the sandgrouse and his fellow fowls flew ahead of them, choop-chooping all the way. Nothing could stop them, not even the bad humans, their horses or their dogs.
Flame and his furry and feathered friends lead the cattle away from their captors – Chapter 9
(Illustrated black and white paperback)
Connect with Maretha online:
https://marethabotha2013.com/ (child-friendly blog)
THANK YOU SO MUCH RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB AND THE BLOG POST HOSTS FOR YOUR WONDERFUL SUPPORT AND THE PRIVILEGE TO BE THE SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR THIS MONTH!