When Julia Lemekwane’s social media friends kept begging for more Facebook short stories, she decided to turn those stories into a book. We chat to Julia about her book, Wool Over My Eyes to find out more.
Please tell us a bit about yourself
I’m a 25-year-old author, storyteller, blogger, and I love writing. I have been nominated for Annual Global African Authors’ Awards 2023. I started writing when I was in grade 6 and by that time I was only into poetry. When I went to high school, I grew an interest in novels. As an active English student, I got interested in writing stories. In 2016 I started writing short stories on Facebook. These were just posts and I never thought they could be turned into a book. The first short story I wrote was called How I met him and it grew into more chapters. This gave birth to Wool Over My Eyes which I formerly called Betrayal. I had the full manuscript from 2016 and was only able to publish it last year, 2022.
What inspired you to write this book?
(Sighs) The inspiration for wool over my eyes is based on day-to-day life experiences. This is more like showing people what really happens in life than feeding them information that doesn’t exist. I feel that as people, we relate better to stories because they actually show us what really happens. In this book, I created characters who are going through challenges that we experience today. Yes, it’s fiction but anyone can see themselves in the characters. This concept is meant to address our struggles as South African youth that we face in relationships, life, unemployment, child-headed homes, poverty, and depression, jealousy and human trafficking.
So your book is called Wool Over My Eyes, how did the title come about?
(Laughs) Obviously eyes are basically for seeing. If you put something in your eyes, you won’t be able to see. The concept comes from an adage “wool over my eyes” which translates to not being able to see what is actually happening around you because there’s something covering your eyes. The same thing happens around you; you get betrayed. It’s like hugging someone and they have a knife ready to stab you in the back. There’s a lot of betrayal happening in the book, and no one can see it coming.
What challenges did you come across when getting this book published?
When I started writing this book, I was only 19 and only received funding to have it published in 2022. I had the manuscript ready to be turned into a book but here I was sitting at home with it for years without funding. My greatest challenge was getting funds to have it published because I was still young. I would sometimes get calls from different publishers to help me get my book published but they had terms and conditions to it. They would say that I should at least have R16000 or maybe R20000 and at that time the amount was a lot for someone who was 19 and not working.
What can readers expect from you as an author?
Readers should expect a lot as I am now moving into the digital space. There’s a website coming up where people can be able to purchase my books in future and get to know more about my writing experiences and read it on my website. I have a lot of books coming up. I am now working on wool over my eyes 2 because the readers are demanding that there be part 2 as the first one leaves them with questions as to what happens next. In a nutshell I can confidently say that book 2 is filled with thriller, suspense, and more of a reflection of our lives.
What’s your advice to someone with a dream of getting published but have no clue about it?
Let passion drive you into your destiny. Have a timeframe of when you want to have the book published. Connect with people from all walks of life through social media. Do research on South African authors and connect with them, attend book launches and be with other writers so that they can be able to guide you. Always talk about your plan to the right people. Sell your idea to the world before it even gets to black and white.
How can people get hold of you and how can they purchase your book?
The book is available directly to me and if you are far, I send it via courier. I always do meet and greet with people who want to buy the book. They can contact me on my social media pages.
WhatsApp: 066 457 1910
Facebook: Author Julia Lemekwane