I've reached one of those patches in my life where I ask myself: "Why do I write genre fiction?"
That nasty little voice at the back of my head keeps reminding me I could enrol at the local university's MA in creative writing programme, where the likes of the great Andre Brink or another South African literary giant could possibly become my mentor. Thirty thousand rand over two years is not a lot of money in the greater scheme of things (about $3 000).
I could go onto being published by Penguin or some other very big local publisher and garner some serious notice in my home country. People could buy my books at Wordsworth or Exclusive Books, and I could have book-launches at The Book Lounge or the rather indie (and very jooje) Kalk Bay Books.
And I'd probably be trying to write yet another post-apartheid South African novel featuring disenfranchised European Africans moping about in a country that doesn't want them any more.
That's far too depressing.
Every so often, I write a story where a vampire happens to sneak in. Or a plucky werewolf... Or, the gods forbid, zombies. My recently sold novella, The Namaqualand Book of the Dead is, for all intents and purposes, literary travelogue with a dash of fang. And I'm still LOLing at the agent who told me I'm "too literary" for genre fiction.
You know what? I don't care. I write what I write, when I feel like it, and the rest can go to Hell in a handbasket. I'll give a nod to William Burroughs, add a dash of Gaimanesque weirdness, and present my readers with something that is truly my own. Sure, there's some post-apartheid wangst, as well as a little bit of mystery, but there's a whole lot of the magic of not knowing quite what sort of entity is waiting around the corner.