Cover_How the Water FallsHow the Water Falls
by K.P. Kollenborn

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BLURB:

On the fringes of a civil war arise a kaleidoscope of stories of abuse, power, betrayal, sex, love, and absolution, all united by the failings of a dying government. Set in the backdrop during the last years of South Africa’s apartheid, How the Water Falls is a psychological thriller that unfolds the truth and deception of the system’s victims, perpetrators, and unlikely heroes.

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Excerpt Three:

Dingane smeared a smile, exposing two missing teeth, one on the top, the other on the bottom. “Yes, baas,” he replied evenly, sarcastically. “An’ how fery kind of you. A man wit morals may pay more. But not you, baas. Tank you for being like any utta man on dis block so my childrren can starve.”

Huffing, the owner crossed his arms. “Well, it’s not my fault you people breed like rabbits! That’s the real problem. You people don’t stop having children you cahn’t afford!”

Looking at Robert as if soliciting strength to not hit his employer, Dingane returned to stare at him. “Could you, honestly, feed a family wit 30 rrands a mont? Afta taxes?”

“I write your paychecks. I know how much you make!”

“Den shall I make a sign for you, too, baas? Come join us?”

Straining his jaw, he cleared his throat. “Dingane, I’m warning you. If you do not come inside now, I suggest you don’t come inside my store— ever again!”

He sighed and shrugged. “You hafe my addrress to mail my las’ check, baas.”

Exhaling, the store owner began pointing once more. “You need to leave these premises for loitering, Dingane! I can call the police on this matter and they can arrest you, and your two girlfriends, for that!” Then pointing at Lena and the other young woman, he vented, “The same applies to you both! I’ll call your bosses as well if both of you don’t remove all this nonsense!”

The owner stomped inside his store, glaring out the window as he picked up his phone.

Dingane joked, “All dis calling will only wear out dat little pointy finger of ‘is!”

Lena and Robert laughed.

Robert promptly announced, “Well, Lena, it looks like I won the bet. It took more than ten minutes before one of them brroke down!”

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An Author’s Journey Through Reading to Writing
Meet K.P/ Kollenborn

1. When did you start reading?
Because I’m dyslexic, reading and writing came to me slowly as a child, and I somehow compensated by memorizing the structure of words. I struggled with reading when I began at seven, although by the time I was in the fifth grade, I began to enjoy the luxury of reading.

2. What was the first book you remember reading? What was the first book that had a real ‘wow’ factor for you?
In fifth and sixth grade, I found an interest in historical fiction, although I had read attempted to read mystery, comedy, and young adult romance, but it was historical fiction that I was attracted to more so. The only reason the young adult book entitled, Kim/Kimi, wowed my wasn’t so much as it was necessarily an exceptional piece of literature; it was the subject matter that stunned me. It was was when I first learned about the Japanese-American internment camps. I’ve already been reading about WWII for several years, and had an awareness about the concentration camps in Europe, and an awareness about English children being sent to American to avoid the blitz, but it was my first awareness that American history may be just as flawed as everyone else’s. Growing up at the end of the Cold War era, I have to admit, it was bit of a shock.

3. What attracted you to or got you started reading?
Knowledge. I’ve always wanted to learn and explore anything and everything outside of my own backyard.

4. What genres (topics) have you read? Was there any progression to the genres you’ve read over the years? Did you start in one genre and then discover others the older you got? i.e. scifi and then romance, then paranormal, then espionage….
As I’ve mentioned before, historical fiction was the main genre I returned to as a child and teen, and later I wanted to learn more from actual resources, and therefore turned to memoirs and non-fiction. I even majored in history during college, however enjoyed literature classes that combined the mixture of history and art. With non-fiction, there is power in knowledge. With fiction, there’s a power in emotion and intellectual questionings about humanity. By combining to the two elevated my brain and passions to experiences outside of my own while maintaining a solid connection to my existence.

5. Who are your favorite authors today? What types of books do you like to read today?
John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men are still inside my head. He mixes literary prose and realism with such grit and fortitude that I’m charmed by his depressing and enriching style. I love how F. Scott Fitzgerald used The Great Gatsby used cultural references of that time period to preserve the essence of the Roaring Twenties. I’ve also been inspired by G.J Ballard’s Empire of the Sun, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, and J. M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians when dealing with war, prejudices, and violent interactions between people under stressful circumstances. But more recently, I’ve enjoyed how integrating the art of storytelling with historical research have succeeded beyond a marginalized audience such as Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex, Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, and Kathryn Stockett’s The Help.

6. What do you like in a story? What does it have to have to grab you?
I like stories with a historical and cultural edge, and I love stories that deal with struggle for freedom, searching for identity and purpose, and have some sort of message that forces you to contemplate. Rarely will I read fiction that won’t have these elements.

7. What got you started with writing? And how long have you been writing?
Technically I’ve been writing since 1985, and It has been a gradual evolution. Initially I wanted to be an artist – mainly focusing on drawing and painting, and I had a graphic arts degree. I used to tell stories to my sisters as children, but later in school, when I felt forced to write stories as part of our English and grammar training, teachers would compliment my story lines. I began to have awareness that I could create something in which people liked. And I kinda liked it, too. The biggest influence in school was my 8th grade English teacher who read four of my stories out loud to the class. That was the same year I wanted to write about the Japanese-American experiences. Up until I was a teenager, I didn’t believe I had any other talent. After college, I was very lucky in finding a mentor, Leonard Bishop, who had taught writing at Columbia and Berkeley. (I should be thankful he married a Kansas gal which was the reason he would even live in Kansas!) It has taken me some time t find courage to pursue a writer’s career.

8. What do you like to write about?
I love to write fiction with a historical twist. I can’t solely place my stories in the historical fiction category because, by definition of historical fiction, the backdrop of novels have to be set back by at least 50 years. There are times I like to delve into the past as recently as twenty years. I like believe that after a two decade introspection we have learned more wisely than something that happened yesterday. And that’s why I love history: To learn. To question. To redeem our humanity. Although I have How the Water Falls marketed as a thriller, sub genre of psychological, historical, and political, despite of its backdrop, the story is about people and how they relate to one another. It’s an intense journey that does have moments of humor and tenderness. If the reader cannot connect to any other characters, then the author has failed to make that connection.

9. What are you currently working on?
On the fringes of a civil war arise a kaleidoscope of stories of abuse, power, betrayal, sex, love, and absolution, all united by the failings of a dying government. Set in the backdrop during the last years of South Africa’s apartheid, How the Water Falls is a psychological thriller that unfolds the truth and deception of the system’s victims, perpetrators, and unlikely heroes. Although I have it marketed as a thriller, sub genre of psychological, historical, and political, despite of its backdrop, the story is about people and how they relate to one another. It’s an intense journey that does have moments of humor and tenderness. If the reader cannot connect to any other characters, then the author has failed to make that connection. My audience is intended for adults who love a hybrid of historical fiction and thriller. And this is a very adult book based on content and language. The writing pulls you into South African struggles while full of suspenseful action and mystery. This novel is certainly political and ethically explorative, but it doesn’t suffer from its big concepts making it too lofty and inaccessible – inarguably. How the Water Falls is about people. The human experience is the main character, and for the reader, an understanding of what this group of people had to endure is the best lesson to inherit.

10. What inspired the plot for your current novel?
From real people and real events. If a person is to become socially conscious as a means to understand the world around oneself, then exploring the past is a good way to start. For me, it began with the movie Cry Freedom, which was based on the friendship between Donald Woods and Steve Bike. The inhumanity shown in the movie left me horrified and emotionally displaced. I was only fourteen. Then, years later, I came across a documentary, the name I don’t remember because I missed the beginning, about a white South African couple who had nothing in common. The wife was a liberal reporter, and the husband was a former army personnel and police officer who had been fired as a scapegoat for apartheid’s problems. They struggled with understanding each other’s past. The other inspirations came from the book Kaffir Boy and A Human Being Died That Night: A South African Woman Confronts the Legacy of Apartheid. In dealing with how to come to terms with violence and poverty, these two books opened up a world history books didn’t touch. I wish to have a symbolic connection with the titles to the meaning of my stories. How the Water Falls is meant to represent the ideology of power and corruption through the structure of waterfalls, and how a system can fall by the pressure of united power. One of my characters, Lena, explains it all at the ending of the book.

11. Anything else you’d like to share?
If you have read and savored over The Power of One, Cry the Beloved Country, Waiting for the Barbarians, and Bloodlines, then you’ll hunger for How the Water Falls. They all are about stories that take place in South Africa and combine a human story with the corruption, bigotry, injustice, and violence surrounding apartheid. But it’s more than just that. There are lessons to be learned. There are introspections to be evaluated. There are empathy, rage, and sorrow to embrace. Whether the message is hopeful, tragic, or both, regardless, it should be influential.

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AuthorPic_How the Water FallsAUTHOR Bio and Links:

Although I’ve been writing since childhood, I have a BA in history. I love studying history as much as wanting to evoke stories. I like to believe that after decades worth of introspection we have learned to value our lessons, and the best way to recite our lessons are through storytelling. That’s why I love history: To learn. To question. To redeem our humanity. Submitting to a moment in time allows us to remember, or to muse even, our society’s past. Although writing can educate as well as entertain, yet what makes art incredibly amazing, to that of paintings, photographs, and music, it transposes emotion into another form of humanity, and therefore, it is our humanity which keeps all of us striving for an improved future.

I am fortunate to have been trained by one the top ten writing teachers in the US, the late Leonard Bishop, and author of ‘Dare to be a Great Writer.’ I owe my love of writing to him. In addition to writing, I draw, paint, create graphic design, and am an amateur photographer.

website: www.kpkollenborn.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kollenborn
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KPKollenborn
Blog: https://kpkollenborn.blogspot.com
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5386352.K_P_Kollenborn
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/kollenborn/videos
Google+ https://plus.google.com/+KPKollenborn/posts
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kpkollenborn
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/How-Water-Falls-K-P-Kollenborn-ebook/dp/B00L8F1UZA

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