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Melissa Siebert Explains Why Writing Her Novel Garden of Dreams Was the Easy Way Out

Garden of DreamsMelissa Siebert, author of Garden of Dreams, spoke to Scenic South about what inspired her to write her novel.

Siebert, who was born in Boston but came to South Africa in 1988, has a long career as a journalist, covering “rights-based” stories such as forced removals during apartheid, human rights in Palestine and the exploitation of black blues musicians in Mississippi. She says these and other issues were the impetus behind Garden of Dreams.

Child trafficking is the worst abuse of those rights, with 1.2 million children being trafficked a year globally, the majority into sex slavery. It’s a tricky and dangerous subject to cover as a journalist, so I guess you could say I took the ‘easy’ way out and wrote about it in fiction. Though that’s only part of the novel. It’s also a coming-of-age story, the story of a fragmented family and the tough choices people make between the personal and the political in life. I’ve wanted to write a novel for years – but it seems I needed to live life to this extent to be able to write this book.

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