Eef Lenaerts on Writing a Book About Traveling through Africa

One of my first freelance jobs was to do the editing, formatting, and cover design for a book about traveling through Africa from Egypt to South Africa. It was a great book for me to read, because the idea of traveling over Africa has always intrigued me. (Although I’d do it in reverse from how the writers Eef and Dries did it, seeing as I am in South Africa already.)

But because I enjoyed working on the book so much, I thought I’d invite Eef to do a guest post about what it was like for her to write it.

Hi all,

Like many of you here, we wrote a book! But we’re no writers, we’re travelers and we had absolutely had no idea how the hell to write a book, so we got some help from Misha.

The book is finally finished (thanks to Misha) and she asked us to write a guest post about the process of writing a book while traveling, so here we go!

Four years ago, we left Belgium with our car. Two years later, we reached South Africa. It was an adventure, with many ups and downs. We loved it, but at times we hated it. It was hot, it was cold, it was amazing, it was dreadful…but it was the adventure of a lifetime that no-one can take away from us.

We left as total dummies with our Toyota Landcruiser. We drove from Belgium to Turkey and took a ferry to Egypt to start our way down along the East Coast of Africa, with South Africa as our end goal.

We were total dummies. Young and eager to go, we couldn’t wait. We packed up our house, sold our belongings, and bought a 4×4 to go on the adventure of a lifetime!

We didn’t take enough preparations, so of course we ran in problems along the way, getting stuck in the dessert with a hi-lift jack, but no points to use the jack, having a spare battery for the fridge, but having a warm fridge, applying for a visa, but no USD to pay for it…

These were all small things that we could sort out, and they make some great stories now, but we could easily have avoided these issues. So after the umpteenth time of thinking “Oh really? Wish we knew this before!’ I decided to write a book for the other dummies in the world!

With a good mood, I started writing down things that were important to prepare before you leave home, ways to act in certain countries, hidden treasures along the road, etc. Gathering this information was easy, but making it into a book was way more difficult than I thought.

It took me two years to finish the book. One reason was because we were still traveling, so we had a lot going on. The other reason was simply that things change constantly in Africa! So the information about a border crossing from two years ago was absolutely out of date. This meant that apart from the actual writing, the book required A LOT of research. In the end, I had read the content so many times, I just couldn’t cope anymore.

So for me, it was a horrible experience. 😛

I don’t think I’ll do it again in the near future, but the book is finished and I’m very proud of it!

So if you’re interested to have a look at what I made of it, or just need the final push to start an adventure (the big aim of this book is to give the people that push they need to get out the house and go and see the world), feel free to look it up! Part of this book’s profits will also go to the Rhino Fund Uganda, so the rhinos will thank you.

All the best,

Eef

Two years ago, Dries and Eef decided to throw caution to the wind. They packed up their house, sold their belongings and bought a 4×4 to go on the adventure of a lifetime, traveling over the African continent. It was a life-changing experience, filled with amazing sights and wonderful people, but it was also challenging because when they started, they had no idea about what they were letting themselves in for.

So to help others who want to share in this amazing adventure, Eef and Dries decided to share their experiences and advice learned the hard way, just to make things a little easier for new adventurers.

The tips range from what you should wear to what you should bring along, how to get through the borders to where you should camp and what you should do while you’re there.

Which means that Into Africa is a fun read for armchair travelers, but especially useful as a guide for adventurers out to experience Africa for themselves.

A portion of proceeds from the sales of this book will go toward The Rhino Fund Uganda, an organization focused on saving rhinos from extinction.

Available on Amazon

Anyone else ever dream of traveling through Africa? 

Got a new vlog post up…

Hey everyone! I’m still getting used to the whole vlogging thing, and since I’m still new on YouTube, I thought I’d do more of an about-me kind of post.

So I shared a bit of information about me, my writing, as well as what I’m planning to read soon.

Enjoy!

What are you reading at the moment?

Interview with Joylene Nowell Butler

Hey everyone! Sorry for my absence on Monday. I was going to post, but it was just one of those days, where everything that could delay my writing happened. :-/

Anyhow, I’m taking a quick break from my writing to host one of my old blogging friends, Joylene Nowell Butler, who’s here as part of a blog tour for her new book, Mâtowak: Woman Who Cries.

The follow-up to Broken But Not Dead, an IPPY Award Silver Medalist
 
A murder enveloped in pain and mystery…
 
When Canada’s retired Minister of National Defense, Leland Warner, is murdered in his home, the case is handed to Corporal Danny Killian, an aboriginal man tortured by his wife’s unsolved murder.
 
The suspect, 60-year-old Sally Warner, still grieves for the loss of her two sons, dead in a suicide/murder eighteen months earlier. Confused and damaged, she sees in Corporal Killian a friend sympathetic to her grief and suffering and wants more than anything to trust him.
 
Danny finds himself with a difficult choice—indict his prime suspect, the dead minister’s horribly abused wife or find a way to protect her and risk demotion. Or worse, transfer away from the scene of his wife’s murder and the guilt that haunts him…
 
Welcome to The Five Year Project, Joylene! Why don’t you tell readers here a bit more about yourself? 

I’m a long-distance grandma, which makes me cry sometimes. My babies are 3000 miles away. We live on the west coast and they’re on the east coast. I keep busy so as not to miss them as badly. I have been writing since I was eight.  Storytelling is in the blood. Can’t imagine what normal people do for inspiration. (grin) I’ve been fortunate to have three books and one anthology published. I never take that blessing for granted.

What inspired you to write this story? 

Mâtowak is the sequel to my second novel. I thought I was finished with the characters, but Sally Warner (minor character) began to haunt me. Finally, I stopped and listened. She was scary at first. Could I write a story about a woman losing her mind? Turns out I could!

What do you love most about your story? 

I love that they are decent people in extraordinary circumstances. I love that no matter how much money or prestige you have, happiness is not a given. I love that no matter how many times Danny gets kicked (metaphorically) he keeps getting up. I especially love that Danny has compassion for Sally despite the huge differences in their lives. Sally is privileged. Danny has had to work hard for everything he has.

What was the most challenging thing about writing it? 

The most challenging aspect of writing Mâtowak: Woman Who Cries was staying in the perspective of a woman losing a grip on reality. How to do that and stay credible was an on-going challenge. I didn’t want her to be dismissed or laughed at. I wanted my reader to find Sally interesting, sympathetic, and appealing, while at the same time able to understand why she was mentally unstable. I’m thrilled that the reviews so far comment that I was able to pull that off. Thank you, Reviewers!

Where can people find you and your book? 

The ebook Mâtowak: Woman Who Cries is available at Amazon.ca and Amazon.com and Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C
The printed copy is available at Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.

Thanks and have a great rest of the week.

Thanks for visiting, Joylene! And all the best with your book! So, ladies and gents, don’t you also think Mâtowak: Woman Who Cries sounds like interesting reading? 
 
See you on Friday!