How the Water Falls
by K.P. Kollenborn
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.
Lena stood outside of her workplace with a sign that read, “Work for First African Bank and Die of Starvation Wages.” Down the block, at a shoe store, a light-skinned man in his mid-fifties stood in front of his workplace with another sign that read, “Work for Edworks and Die of Starvation Wages.” Not far from him, a third accomplice—a young Zulu woman—stood in front of a clothing store holding a similar sign. All three lived in different townships, but Lena had managed to speak with them about staging this little protest during their lunch break. At first they were reluctant, fearing losing a job that had taken a long time to find. But none of them were paid the same wages as their white co-workers. Despite the fact that blacks were allowed to be employed in the downtown Johannesburg retail district, and had been for some years now, there were issues regarding pay and pay raises. They were earning nearly half of what their white counterparts were making, suggesting that they were worth half a human being. Lena had also contacted Robert Mlambisi from the paper to take photos. She understood it would not make the front page; nonetheless, to be mentioned at all in a newspaper would still achieve attention.
“How you been, sista?” Robert asked, giving her a hug while holding his camera with his other hand.
“Well, I am still ‘ere,” she smiled.
“That is much of a good thing as any!” he laughed. “It’s good to see you rreturning to your old habits. Good indeed!”
“Thanks for coming, Rrobbie. Dis is much apprreciated.”
Let's learn a little about author K.P. Kollenborn!
What is your writing environment?
Clutter mostly, surrounded by books, loose paper with notes- whether thoughts pertaining to my research or chicken scratchings, two computers, a window for natural lighting and observing the outside world, and bills. It’s a symposium of organized chaos, enhanced by inspiration and procrastination. And no, my kids may not touch my computers without my permission and are on restricted time.
Who is your perfect hero and why?
People like Malala Yousafzai, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, and Mahatma Gandhi who fight for human dignity through peaceful means. How extraordinary that by the very essence of their beings they have influenced the world through their faith, persistence, and observable wisdom.
What authors have caught your interest lately and why?
One is an indie author, Mark Rogers’ Seed of Vengeance which is a poetic and dramatic historical tale of greed and racism in America’s coal mining town that combines the storytelling of Shakespeare,Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner. The other is Arnost Lustic’s Lovely Green Eyes which is about a young Jewish girl who has an opportunity to be transferred out of Auschwitz by pretending to be Ayran and becomes a prostitute at another concentration camp to survive. The author was a holocaust survivor himself.
What type of book have you always wanted to write?
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. I dislike superiority complexes that many people flex around. It not only diminishes their ability to be compassionate, it also diminishes their own loss of humanity.
Top 3 things on your bucket list?
I want to be apart of creating documentaries, write several historical screenplays, and publish a biography about my writing mentor, Leonard Bishop, who was good friends with Mario Puzo and James T. Farrell, hung out with Joseph Heller and Thomas Berger at Greenwich Village, pissed off Earnest Hemingway for publishing an article in an unfavorable light, taught Anne Rice at Berkley, and was one of the top ten writing teachers in the US.
How did you get the idea for this particular novel?
The ideas for How the Water Falls were inspired by 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. And in correlation to my title, I wish to have a symbolic connection 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.
What is your favorite scene in your new release?
That’s difficult to narrow. I have several messages for How the Water Falls, revolving around empowerment of common people, endurance, and forgiveness, but the main one is hope. Despite the brutal and depressing circumstances of apartheid, hope is the destination for change. I have this philosophy: 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.”
What are you working on now and when can we expect it to be available?
I’m working on two projects: One is is Pictorial Ballad which deals with the relationship between the American military and Lakota Sioux during the 1870’s. I hope to have this project completed by fall of 2015. My other Pictorial Ballad, Two Dairy Goats’ Journey, has already been published as a children’s book. You can learn more about this here:http://kpkollenborn.blogspot.com/p/pictorial-ballad.html. My other project is a historical fiction about a female cross-dresser who ponders on themes such as identity, sexuality, and race during the Victorian era. I have no idea when to complete this project! Perhaps in a couple of years.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
In a creative atmosphere, I also enjoy drawing, playing music, and creating arts and craft items. In a personal atmosphere, I love family outings and watching TV when no one’s around.
What would you consider a perfect date?
LOL! I don’t! Impossible to comprehend because it never works out the way you think a particular day should play out. Much like my first date with my husband- during a blizzard, and our wedding- when a flash flood started before our ceremony! Mother Nature and Murphy’s Law are much stronger forces than our existence! Perfection is an abstract ideal that tests our sense of humor. All. The. Time.
What is one interesting fact about you that readers don’t know?
I'm dyslexic. There are eight tiers of dyslexia, ranging from mild to severe. Mine is mild, which is why I went through school undiagnosed, but it left me believing that I wasn't as smart as the other kids because I was slow and processed information differently.
AUTHOR 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.
K.P. Kollenborn will be awarding a print copy of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Follow the tour HERE