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Penguin SA

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Michéle Rowe’s What Hidden Lies Launched with Mike Nicol at The Book Lounge

Michéle Rowe

Michéle Rowe and Mike Nicol took great delight in teasing their audience as they proposed suitable locations for murder in greater Cape Town earlier last week. The full house – which included a large contingent of students from Constantia Waldorf School – was held enthralled at The Book Lounge (itself a potential site, if rumour has it correct) to celebrate the launch of What Hidden Lies. This newest addition to the burgeoning genre of South African crime fiction is written by the award-winning filmmaker and script writer, Michéle Rowe.

Michéle Rowe and Mike NicolWhat Hidden LiesThe Book Lounge proprietor Mervyn Sloman galloped through the book in one sitting, which lasted well into the night. He said, “It was a fantastic read, with a great plot, tremendous pace and stand-out characters. Percy Jonas is a wonderful creation. As soon as you put the book down, you want to pick up the next one and read more about this woman.” He looked at the author quizzically, and said, “So when’s the next one coming? No pressure…”

Mike Nicol, whose next book Of Cops & Robbers is due out later this year, asked Rowe a number of questions that had the audience giggling the whole evening. Nicol enquired why Rowe had swopped the better paying gig that screenwriting allegedly is for its poor relation, the novel. “When you’re a screenwriter, it’s fine to write the screenplay if you’re also directing it. Inevitably, however, some moegoe takes your script and turns it into a really bad movie,” she said.

Rowe thought it would be nice to write and direct the movie, to do whatever she wanted with the characters. “A book seemed like the best way to keep in complete control, to have my characters do what I wanted them to do. I am something of a control freak,” she confessed.

“It’s far more appealing to tell your characters what to do than to hear a producer say, ‘I don’t really buy that character… I mean, what’s her arb? What’s her journey?’

Rowe spoke of the process of entering and winning the 2011 Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award. Unfortunately she couldn’t get a visa in time to attend the prizegiving. “It gives you some sort of profile but it doesn’t particularly help you get published. You’d have to win the Whitbread to make a difference, but it’s nice to have the sticker on the back cover.”

Fellow crime writers, Joanne Hichens and Margie Orford, were spotted in the audience, as were colleagues who had attended the UCT MA in Creative Writing Programme alongside Rowe. A long queue formed of eager readers who wished to have the author sign their copies. Everybody present went home with a smile as a truly good time was had by all.

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Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) tweeted from the launch using #livebooks:

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