Having had friends and others comment favourably on his writing but not being able to find an agent, John looked to self-publish. Cold Fiction was the outcome. Having discovered TSL Pub, he is in the process of moving his self-published novels to us. Shaka are Dead was his first novel published by TSL. Powerless was his first written novel and is the second to be publised. In the pipeline are: Reading Lady Chatterley in Africa, and a A Donkey Called Oddsock
John also writes under the name RJ Whitfield.
John’s writing draws on his South African upbringing, exploring themes around reconciliation between different groups of people and circumstances. He enjoys travelling to unusual destinations.
He has been writing since about 2005 and has been an active member of the Harrow Writers’ Circle since 2006.
Apart from writing, his other main love is music charts.
What people are saying about Powerless
Some of the best writing I’ve ever read. Especially the dream chapter. Northwood, Middlesex resident
Shaka becommed my friend when Zakes tried to commit sewerage pipe there by school. Our adventures beginned when Theresa Dern did of charf it were me what did of throwed her with a ball but it weren’t not me, it were Petrus Buthelezi.
Set in post-Apartheid South Africa, this is the moving story of a young uneducated lad who witnesses his school mate, Zakes, attempt suicide. A series of events which includes selling his father’s gun to Zake’s brother sees him witness his family be killed. The two boys, along with the dog Shaka, flee the scene to find Zakes’ grandparents in Mpumalanga.
Inspector Nuts, tasked with searching for the young fugitives, ends up finding the lad pointing a gun at his head. Having won his trust, the Inspector is eventually able to bring the case to a close after a few twists and turns.
What people are saying about Shaka are Dead
4* “Samson’s quirky sense of humour shines through in this colloqually written book. Best to start off reading it aloud…”
The Sugarman was afraid of sugar mice. The Gingerbread man was in search of a fix of sugar and the best quality stuff was found by licking the Sugarman. In return for a few licks, the Gingerbread man tries to help the Sugarman overcome his fear.
(Inspired by the title – Sugarman and the line ‘You’re the answer, that makes my questions disappear’)
Only Good For Conversation
A man meets a stunning girl in a pub who turns out to be a friend of a friend. However, all his advances are met with a lack of physical contact. Convinced that, despite this quirk, she likes him, he endeavours to find out why this girl, whom a stranger in the pub had referred to as the coldest bitch he knows, is only good for conversation.
(Inspired by the title and the line ‘You’re the coldest bitch I know’)
Crucify Your Mind
James has a brand new shiny secret. He keeps it in a box under his bed, but lives in fear that Tom may find it. James also collects answers, white lies, excuses and such bric-a-brac. Despite Tom warning him about the dangers of keeping other people’s secrets, he still goes out in search of more. This new secret though, ends up causing more problems than it was worth.
(Inspired by the line ‘Secrets shiny and new’)
The Establishment Blues
Major Jim Weatherman is having a bad day. The correct statistics on crime had been released to the press, leading the public to believe that he was honest. It also looks like his main rival D’Aggio (who had been jailed for submitting accurate expense claims) was about to get out early for bad behaviour, and there is a distinct possibility that he may have to lower taxes. The public would crucify him if he did. Could his day possibly get any worse?
(Inspired by the lines ‘Mayor hides the crime rate’ and ‘Public gets irate but forget the vote date’)
Hate Street Dialogue
The Childwoman escapes from the inner city which birthed her and runs into in the wilderness where she meets a pig with a hose tired round his neck. The pig tells her that in order to be free of the hate the inner city has caused her to harbour, she has to find the Hanging Tree of Hate Street and swallow the bitter leaf from the tree. If she succeeds, she will be free, but if she spits the leaf out, she will carry the hate forever.
(Inspired by the lines ‘The pig and hose have set me free’ and ‘I’ve tasted hate street’s hanging tree’)
Dave, the lead singer of South African band The Imaginary Facts performs an impromptu version of ‘Forget It’ on the country’s prime time radio show. The pain and hurt he injects into the vocals send the group spinning into the big time and they are soon selling out stadiums across the country. But Dave is a bit unstable and obsessed with the rumour that Rodriguez shot himself on stage after singing ‘Forget It’.
(Inspired by the rumour that Rodriguez shot himself on stage after singing ‘Forget It’.)
Inner City Blues
A suicide bomber tells of his preparations to explode a bomb on the tube/subway. We follow him from his flat where he has said goodbye to his wife and daughter as though it were a normal day, out onto the streets where he is confronted by all the evils he sees in the world. But all is not as it seems with this bomber.
(Inspired by the lines ‘Going down a dirty inner city side road I plotted’ and ‘Mama, Papa stop’)
Ian Dale’s home is invaded by a group of gangsters. He is tied to a chair in his living room while his wife is kept in the bedroom. He is then offered an impossible choice – if he has sex with an ‘infected’ girl his wife will be set free, if he doesn’t, she will be killed.
(Inspired by the line ‘I wonder how many times you’ve had sex, I wonder do you know who’ll be next’)
A husband and wife, whose marriage is on the rocks, are surprised when their thoughts start being mouthed by a pet monkey in the wife’s case and a young woman patient in the husband’s case. Things get more complicated when they both encounter their spouse’s ‘thought mouthers’.
(Inspired by the line ‘Cos a monkey in silk is a monkey no less’ and Janis in the title that made me think of Janis Joplin’s song ‘Mercedes Benz’)
Gommorah (A Nursery Rhyme)
69 is a Sex M digit, living in a world that is run by thought herders and genetechs. He knows a little of Gommorah, the time before, but his thoughts are constantly monitored by the T-Probes that criss-cross the pen when he lives. He has applied to have a genesplice with 13, a pretty Sex F, but his world is turn upside down when he encounters 220, who had accidentally had too much Gommorahian DNA put in his genes. 220 starts talking of a place he calls ‘outside’ a concept that nearly makes 69 mindmelt.
(Inspired by the lines ‘You know my name well’ and ‘You won’t find in any book’)
Rich Folks Hoax
A war photographer survives a village massacre while covering a story around rebels. The whole village is obliterated along with his fellow reporters. The only other survivors are a local woman and her baby. Together they bury the dead, then head off in search of help, but the rebels return.
(Inspired by the lines ‘The moon is hanging in the purple sky ‘ and ‘Baby’s sleeping while its mother sighs’)
Jane S. Piddy
Jane S. Piddy, an 85 year old, decides to Google her name and is astounded when she finds that a man called Rodriguez has not only written a song, the title of which is the same as her name, but it also refers to Ruth and Rosemary, her sisters. She is further amazed to see that he is playing a concert the next day at a venue not far from where she lives. She decides to attend the concert, but maybe her mind is not quite as good as it should be.
(Inspired by the line ‘Dancing Rosemary, disappearing sister Ruth’)