Is The Green Lady written for adults or for children?
The book is written for children of all ages who sense and appreciate the deep mystery and wonder of the forests.
What was your inspiration for this book?
The magnificent beauty of the forests of the Garden Route; but also forests that I have visited all over the world. There is some incredible connection, a sense of peace and indescribable elation, that I feel whenever I am in the forest. This was my inspiration.
It is often said that all novels are autobiographical. Is this the case for The Green Lady?
The book is set in the Garden Route of South Africa, and mostly in the town of Knysna, which is the closest town to where I live. So, many of the places I mention in the book are real. However, the characters and events are all purely fictional, although, like most authors, I am often inspired by people I have met or experiences I have had.
I have included several of the themes of my life and personal development during the past five years or so in The Green Lady. Such themes include: connecting with the heart, trusting your own inner guidance and the search for meaning and purpose in life. Also, many of the characters represent different aspects of my personality and of my passions. For example, the passion of Benjamin Leigh in the story, Expression of Your Authentic Self, for alien vegetation management is also a reflection of one of my own passions. The story of Greg and Sandi in Follow Your Heart reflects a part of the journey of my partner and myself in building our own off-the-grid home, even though we did use a more conventional building method than the characters chose to use. The peak experience of Ken in the story of the same name and also of a few of the other characters is based upon such an experience that I personally had, which ultimately led to my own move to Knysna. So, yes, I suppose that this book is, to some extent, autobiographical in nature.
Have you ever met the Green Lady yourself?
I think that a little part of me IS actually the Green Lady! When I am in the forest and experiencing that connection I mentioned before, I am often convinced that I am being observed by some greater entity. It often feels to me as if the forest is communicating with me on a very deep level and I draw such energy and inspiration from the place that… how can there not be a Green Lady!
Like many of the characters in the book, you too have moved from the city to the small town of Knysna. Tell your readers a bit about your journey.
I was a boardroom warrior in a large, multinational corporate when I had a transformative experience in the Knysna area. You can read more about my experience in my diary. My life partner and I, like several of the characters in my stories in The Green Lady, liquidated our assets and moved to a small community, high up in the Outeniqua Mountains and bordering on the indigenous forest, where we built, mostly with our own hands, an off-the-grid home. This is where we still live and where I continue to write.
What is so special about Knysna and the surrounding forests?
It is a magical, exquisitely beautiful place. I’ve travelled extensively all over the world but this place remains my home and the only place I want to be. Come for a visit and see for yourself!
Will there be further Green Lady books?
My lovely green muse has, once again, tapped me on the shoulder! I am currently working on the sequel to The Green Lady, called The Green Lady’s Story. In this book, the Green Lady shares her own personal story with Peter Allen.
Who is the Green Lady really? Where did she come from? What is her purpose in the world? What message does she have to share with us?
You can find the answers to these questions and many others in my new book. An excerpt from The Green Lady’s Story can be found in the pages following this section
Why did you decide to write a book?
I’ve always written, as a way of working things out in my own mind, as an expression of my inner-self or just for fun. But this book asked me to write it and so I had to oblige.
You appear to be very passionate about conservation. Tell your readers a bit more about that.
I am extremely passionate about conserving and protecting this perfect place. By contributing my time and energy to this goal, I find my connection to the forests ever deepening and the benefits that I reap far outweigh the energy expenditure.
What is the one take-home message you’d like to leave your readers with?
There is always magic and beauty and enchantment… just a heartbeat away; if you would but choose to see it.