Nothing is excluded from the terror.
Why did I write Blood Mines?
I wrote this book during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November 2014. The topic is a very serious topic within the borders of my country: The devastation it causes and the ignorance of the government makes this a very real threat in the province where I live.
Due to its rich mineral, gold, diamond and coal resources, most of Gauteng’s earth crust are hollowed out in man-made tunnels that run for kilometres underground, snaking its way from the east to the west and from the north to the south. Tremors can often be felt when the earth shakes under its weight. These tunnels link towns and cities together and everywhere you go you will see its evidence above ground in towers of steel rising high into the sky, man-made mountains that dot the horizon and craters where huge trucks run with more earth they have removed.
When I signed up for the month-long challenge to write an entire manuscript, I had no idea what to write at first. There were so many topics I always wanted to write about. Nothing stood out until I remembered a story about an uncle and aunt who lost their farm because of contaminated acidic water.
I cannot recall just what reminded me of that dark time in their lives but I did some research and learnt about the actual impact this had on them. It is a permanent hazard to human and animal alike in the larger parts of Gauteng. From there on the story seemed to write itself and soon a futuristic story developed. That gave me a much bigger scope to write about and here we are, with you reading the end product: A futuristic book filled with suspense, and also my first.
I have to thank NaNoWriMo for this. It challenges you to do the impossible: 50 000 words in 30 days and motivates you to keep your focus on the draft once you are part of the team.
I also want to thank Leon Swart for his input, Isak de Lange and Elsabe de Beer for the proofreading of this book, and Manuela Cardiga: She just has the gift of knowing exactly what I wanted in the book’s cover and created something beautiful in just a day.
But most of all, I want to thank Isak, my life partner, who supported me from the moment we met. Also, thank you to my children, who are always in the background while I am writing away, and my father for just being Dad.
Without all the support and encouragement, the book would not have seen the daylight, and I am eternally grateful to every person who shares this life with me.
Blood Mines is full of pain, desperate hope and a need to survive. A blink of the reality of life currently in South Africa combined with fiction and romance. It is definitely not for sensitive readers for it is an eye opener for reversed racism and the possible outcome of it. Where current generations have to suffer for their forefather's mistakes even if they want to live in harmony and peace. I have to say Blood Mines had me in tears and in a desperate feeling to reach out. The author had the ability to mirror the emotions and the physical pain up to a tee.
A must read, but be prepared to be confronted with harsh reality and the imagination of the author's prospects for the future. Corri Badenhorst
The part that came across as convincing was the love of a mother for her son. The plot twist that brings our female to the pivotal farm or small holding is interesting but not very logical.
Unfortunately the plot, though not meant to be also comes across as insensitive to me, a native to this country. Still, to broaden your pov. This is the ideal book to do it with. It has a lot going for it, the Afrikaans culture and usage of terms to name but a few. Wanda Hartzenberg
This story has an interesting and potentially realistic premise. The region of Gauteng in South Africa is heavily mined, with the threat of earthquakes due to the depths of said mines. The author has taken this fact and written a post-apocalyptic nightmare. I found myself completely hooked for most of the story. Told through the eyes of Tanya, I did find some of the plot a little far fetched at times; especially some of the scenes when the mutated animals appear, though this did get me wondering if there was some radioactivity going on rather than just cyanide poisoning, or other toxic chemicals causing the mutations. However, this is only my personal opinion. Other readers may not have this response. Another niggle I had with this story was how quickly the main protagonist trusted complete strangers, as well as how quickly the love interest grew between herself and Dirk. I can understand instant attraction, but insta-love? Not so much. Another pet peeve of mine is the use of terms of endearment like sweetie, honey, or love (and many others) in a derogatory way. I don't know if this is what the author intended when she wrote the story, but I found these terms to be degrading and made me want to punch the characters for using these terms in a sarcastic or patronising way. Maybe it's just a colloquial language difference. Who knows? Lynn Worton
“Set in a post-apocalyptic South Africa of 2048, where corruption, pollution and vigilante militia are rife, Tanya and son Steve are attacked on their rapidly deteriorating farmstead.Water is scarce, contaminated by cyanide and other chemicals over spilling from abandoned mining operations, exacerbated by earthquakes. She and her son are rescued by a group of individuals known as The Phantoms (much like Fremen in “Dune”, stockpiling underground lakes of fresh water).There are unexpected plot twists and turns, as Tanya strives to help the Phantoms uncover more water caches, but it quickly becomes clear that greed is a bigger driving force than altruism, and no-one can be trusted.I share most of Lynn Worton’s concerns about the book, especially the irritating terms of endearment, but take my hat off to author Lynelle Clark for completing this story as part of a challenge to write a 50k word story in 30 days.I read the entire story in one sitting and enjoyed it, despite my aversion to this genre, and didn’t find it a chore. So, all in all, a riveting read.” Scott Richards