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Inspired by Africa

Salt Rock writer Maureen Campbell has released her debut novel – and it’s packed with romance, adventure and wild landscapes.

Born in Zimbabwe, Maureen and her family moved to Zululand when she was a teenager. The magic of the bush is in her blood and it’s what largely inspired her to write her novel African Dawn, which was published late last year.

Although she has always written, it wasn’t until she was 73 years old that she finally completed her book. The novel tells the story of Ivy, a young woman from London who travels to South Africa to trace her family history. Maureen says the character simply popped into her head but she never imagined she would actually publish a book. It was only with her husband’s encouragement that she decided to give it a try. “It was so scary,” she admits. The first publisher she approached advised her to put the manuscript away and return to it later, and that’s what she did. “When I returned to it some time later, I had this whole new enthusiasm,” she says.

Living through the pandemic was a huge motivating factor for completing the novel as it changed her perspective and the things she valued most. “It made me think about my life,” she says. “We knew so many people who didn’t make it, and I thought, this is my time.” Now Maureen writes most days and she says she has had a great response to her book so far. That said, having her story out in the world has felt both terrifying and exciting.
A mother and grandmother, Maureen loves to spend time with her family and she and husband Rob travel a lot. She loves life on the North Coast and also spends as much time as she can in the bush. She’s currently working on another novel – one that will be rich with South African history.

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Details: Africa Dawn is available on www.takealot.com

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