Featured Interview With Rossandra White
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I’m a fourth generation South African, raised in Zambia where I had a baboon for a pet, learned to tell a crocodile from a log, and whistle through my tongue. We also lived in Zimbabwe for a short while. That’s where I set my latest novel, Monkey’s Wedding. Family holidays were either down to South Africa to visit family, day trips over the border in to the Congo, or trips up to east Africa. Now I live in Laguna Beach with Fergie and Jake, my two Staffordshire Bull Terriers, where I hike the hills and canyons behind my house.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I was in my forties when I felt compelled to write a book. Out of the blue. Not a short story, not a poem. An entire book. I didn’t have any idea what I was going to write about. Twenty years later, I ended up with two (and-a-half) novels, a memoir, a handful of short stories, and the realization that I had intuitively chosen writing “to take fuller possession of the reality of my life” (to paraphrase Ted Hughes). All those thoughts and ideas, fears and regrets had a way out into the light of day. Through articulating words to the page, I was able to explore my own personal myths and ground myself in a way I might not have been able to do otherwise.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
Here are some of the authors, whose books I’ve enjoyed: Kuzuo Ishiguro, Ann Patchett, T.C. Boyle, Brian Morton, Elena Ferrante, “Book Thief” by Zusak, Alice Munro, Barbara Kingsolver, Alexandra Fuller, Vivian Gornick
Tell us a little about your latest book?
Zimbabwe 1953: Adolescents, Elizabeth and Tururu—she’s white, he’s black—share an uneasy friendship on a remote plantation when they’re thrown into a crossfire of political change and ancient ritual. Will their friendship survive? The novel’s dual viewpoints afford an intimate glimpse into the two faces of a country at a crucial time in its history.
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