On the fringes of a civil war arise a kaleidoscope of stories of abuse, power, betrayal, sex, love, and absolution, all united by the failings of a dying government. Set in the backdrop during the last years of South Africa’s apartheid, How the Water Falls is a psychological thriller that unfolds the truth and deception of the system’s victims, perpetrators, and unlikely heroes. Many characters play the roles of spies, freedom fighters, lovers, adversaries, and supporters. This novel is as complex as apartheid was itself, unlacing fabrics of each character’s life to merge into a catalyst downfall. The question of who will survive this downfall will suffice in the courts of truth and reconciliation and whether love is strong enough to preserve peace.
What kind of readers will it appeal to?
Because the story emphasizes the psychology my characters and their unstable emotional states, bringing out drama, action, and a bit of mystery, a reader who wants an emotional and complex experience will find it in this novel while learning a little something about South Africa’s history.
If you like Blood Diamond, you’ll love my book.
We loved that movie. Tell us more.
The two main characters, one white, Joanne– a reporter, the other black, Lena– a banned activist, have their lives continuously overlap through the people they know during a thirteen-year period and eventually become friends as a result of their interviews together. Joanne personifies the need to question and investigate apartheid’s corruption from a white person’s perspective. Although her intentions begin with idealism, no matter how naïve, as the years pass while the system is failing, she crosses the threshold of what it means to be caught up inside the belly of the beast, especially after crossing paths with the Borghost brothers.
Lena, who is inspired by her predecessors, such as Steve Biko and Nelson Mandela, is among the minority of black women to peacefully battle for equality, even if her struggle is indicative of sacrificing her health and safety.
You mentioned the Borghost brothers.
Hans Borghost is Johannesburg’s commissioner of police who, like all those before, had a military background before pursuing a law enforcement career. Violent, manipulative, and controlling, he incarnates the image of South Africa’s perpetrators.
Jared Borghost is the younger brother of Hans and, like his brother, has a military background, but unlike Hans, he internally combats between his sense of duty and morality. His inconsistency indicates a conscience that leaves one to ponder whether Jared is either a perpetrator, victim, or both. As his surname suggests, Bor-GHOST represents the “ghosts” that haunt the family’s past.
We’ve interviewed you before. Can you tell our readers about Eyes Behind Belligerence?
Told in five parts, Eyes Behind Belligerence unravels the challenges between two unlikely Nisei friends, Jim and Russell, into adulthood during the Second World War. As restrictions are imposed, (even in the safe, rural community of Bainbridge Island,) as harassments escalate, (including the F.B.I. invading their homes and deporting their fathers to Montana for espionage trials,) the fated day arrives: evacuation of all Japanese civilians. Rounded up like cattle, tagged, they are hauled to the fringes of Death Valley: Manzanar. Together they must survive racism, gang violence, and the harsh elements of the environment. Together they must prove their loyalty, especially after a tragic riot on the eve of Pearl Harbor’s anniversary. While Russell enlists in a segregated army, becoming part of one the most decorated units in U.S. history, Jim is sent to a different camp for the “No-No” boys: those who are marked disloyal. Removed from their families, they are forced to reevaluate their identities and discover, most importantly, what it means to forgive.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Although I’ve been writing since my childhood, I have a BA in history. I love studying history as much as wanting to evoke stories. I like to believe that after decades worth of introspection we have learned more wisely than something that happened yesterday, because what happened yesterday affects how we live today. That’s why I love history: To learn. To question. To redeem our humanity. Submitting to a moment in time allows us to remember, or to muse even, over our society’s past. Although writing can educate as well as entertain, yet what makes art incredibly amazing, to that of paintings, photographs, and music, it transposes emotion into another form of humanity, and therefore, it is our humanity which keeps all of us striving for an improved future. In addition to writing, I draw, paint, create graphic design, and am an amateur photographer.
Do you have a website where we can keep up with your work?
Sure do! www.KPKollenborn.com.
How can we follow you on Twitter and/or Facebook?
I’m working on collaborating with an illustrator friend with a project that could be marketed to children, although, not entirely. ‘Two Dairy Goats’ Journey’ is a pictorial ballad about seeking faith and keeping hope. I’d like to allow questions between children and adults about these themes and interpreter them according to one’s belief, and thusly, discuss them openly, candidly. Projected release date will be by the end of August of 2014.
Finally, you said there’s someone we need to talk about?
I am fortunate to have been trained by one the top ten writing teachers in the US, the late Leonard Bishop, and author of Dare to be a Great Writer. I owe my love of writing to him.
What wisdom did he pass on to you?
I believe that if a writer can return to the world more than what the world has given him, then he has earned his keep, not only as a writer, but also as a human being. I also believe that whatever saves my life must be good. I have lived a God-blessed life, and I want to pass it on.
– From Tribute to Leonard Bishop