Friday, August 6, 2010

Author Interview: Lesley Hauge discusses Nomansland

I reviewed Nomansland earlier today, and now I am pleased to welcome the author, Lesley Hauge, to Dystopian August.

What five objects from your life would you put in a time capsule to help a future society form a picture of who you are?

1) A large mug of tea (it's a very sophisticated state-of-the-art time capsule that can preserve such things). That first, early morning mug of English Breakfast tea or if I can get it, Kenyan tea, with milk and sugar, defines the start of the day and in some way defines me. Tea is a legacy of the colonies, as am I.

2) A chipped but very beautiful crystal glass of very cold, very dry white wine at 6 pm. I am a creature of habit. This is my reward at the end of the day, in the same way as the tea helps negotiate my passage into the day. I collect odd crystal glasses. I don't mind the odd chip.

3) A small brass box, given to me by my brother, containing the last letter he wrote to me before he died.

4) A pair of dancing figures, both male, made out of scrap metal from Zimbabwe. I love dancing. I love Zimbabwe and these figures are so full of life and friendship, so ingeniously and resourcefully made -- they represent a triumph of joy over the tough life of Zimbabweans, and they are made so anonymously -- no signature, no ego.

5) A photo of my family: my sons, my husband and my parents.

(and if I could have an extra one, the Oxford English Dictionary. I have the Compact Edition, two volumes housed in a blue box with a little drawer for a rectangular magnifying glass that you need in order to read the tiny print.)

You state on your website that John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids inspired NOMANSLAND and you use a quote from it to open the novel. What other dystopian lit has made a lasting impression on you?

I like what you might call the off-center, subtle dystopias of J.M. Coetzee in WAITING FOR THE BARBARIANS and J.G. Ballard's books.

You’ve said in another interview that your next project is another book in the NOMANSLAND universe – possibly a prequel. Any chance we’ll get a direct sequel? That ending just screams for one!

Oh dear ... I didn't want any screaming.

You have two cats: Kate Moss and Stan Lee. I desperately need to hear the story behind those names.

My oldest son Max named them (they're both rescue cats, brother and sister) because the girl cat is skinny and beautiful and my son much admires the work of Spider Man creator, Stan Lee. Stan Lee aka "the boy cat" does not love me -- he is polite, but keeps his professional distance. He only loves Max. He sits outside on our stoop and tourists take his picture. Kate Moss doesn't go out much -- although a few days ago she fell off the fire escape and managed somehow, to grasp the electrical wires slung across the backyard with her two front paws, and dangled there, skinny, pale tummy exposed, back feet peddling madly, yowling her head off -- we rescued her (it wasn't that far to drop).

What is your favorite destination in Africa and why?

I have to say that my parents' garden is my favorite destination in Africa. But if I were to pick one place outside of that, then almost anywhere on the Zambezi river. I once canoed on it for ten days, from Kariba to the Mozambique border, and it changed constantly, from vast, empty spaces, glittering water to strings of villages and then to dark red chasms and cliffs. There is life and game and birds everywhere. One early evening, some lions on a sand bank in the middle of the river, jumped in and swam in front of our canoes back to the river banks on the mainland
Thank you Lesley!  Daniel and I also did a short canoing trip on the Zambezi, and once we got over our fear of being capsized by hippos and eaten by crocs, we had fun!
Find out more about Lesley and NOMANSLAND at her website.
I also found Lesley's guest post on the MacKids blog about how she integrated the topic of feminism into the novel to be very interesting.


Kristen M. said...

FYI - This is one of the best interviews I've read in a while!

Mrs. DeRaps said...

I can't wait to read this book. I love a good dystopian read and this one, with a powerful female lead, seems original and fresh.

Thanks for the interview!


great post! such a powerful cover! it made me read the interview and add the book to my wishlist :)

Anonymous said...

It is extremely interesting for me to read this blog. Thanks for it. I like such themes and everything connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.

Bella Hakkinen

Lenore said...

Thanks Kristen!

Mrs. DeRaps - Keller, the female lead, certainly stands out among dystopian leading ladies.

FSOM - Yay!

Zibilee said...

I liked her time capsule, and I would definitely share a cup of tea with her. She sounds like a really fun lady! Thanks for the fun interview, Lenore!

Silver Thistle said...

Great interview!

I've been mooching around the interweb trying to find Lesley's website or blog but can't seem to find it/one.

Your link there seems to be no longer working so just wondering if anyone knows where she's at? :)