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John van de Ruit

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

Travel blog: Kuala Lumpur and Phnom Pehn, Cambodia

I’ve started a travel blog for the Penguins to help promote the third Spud. Follow me as I backpack through Asia, a convenient place to spend the long countdown to the book launch. Here are the first two entries:

KUALA LUMPUR (Malaysia) 1st APRIL

71 DAYS to launch

Happy April fools day y’all! Since my job is to make people laugh and to distract them from their daily lives with idiotic nonsense, i shall therefore desist from attempting an April fool’s joke about myself. Options i considered were:

I’m not coming back.

I’m having a sex change.

I’m racing in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix

I’ve plagiarised Spud, Learning to Fly.

Penguin Books has gone bankrupt.

I’ve bought a brothel.

Macaulay Culkin is playing Spud in the movie!
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How Spud – Learning to Fly got started

Dear Reader

In Spud, the character of The Guv inscribes a book of poetry, which he presents to Spud Milton on his 14th birthday. It reads, “Here’s to all the beginnings, and the possibilities they bring.”

Spud – Learning to Fly’s beginning was August 2007. In a few short years I had written two books, performed hundreds of Mamba shows and lived the life of a celebrated nomad. Running on red bulls and adrenaline, and mostly overawed by the sudden turn in my fortunes, my new roller coaster life took on a life of its own, and I merely chased its wake. The Madness Continues (and continues…) book tour was gruelling and I realised that I had reached an end of sorts. Call it the end of the beginning. I needed a break, a break from the daily buzz, a break from Spud, and mostly a break from myself. I decided to disappear, and so I did. For five months I didn’t mention the “S” word, avoided all contact with the world, and relished my ordinariness. It was a beginning of sorts.
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Spud News for North Americans

Thanks to those who have blogged about Spud and sent positive letters. I’m thrilled you enjoyed Spud and his crazy gang and I find myself relieved that the humour seems to have translated well into the North American context. So here goes…

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I know what I didn’t want to do this summer

To all readers, assorted Spud fans and other shady members from the lunatic fringe. I offer up my warmest greetings and best wishes for 2008.

For me, like many, Christmas is an entirely dodgy time of the year. In South Africa we find ourselves scorched by blazing summer heat with absolutely no desire to eat turkeys or pigs. In fact the heat is so bad here that I saw Santa handing out presents in his underpants. (Come to think of it that might not have been Santa…) Anyway, forget it. The point I’m struggling to make here is that Christmas is a decidedly vile experience, and New Year’s Eve a mere stomach bug waiting to happen. It’s now over, so I’m crawling back under my rock and waiting it out until Autumn.

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Spudcast! Soundbite from the New Spud Audiobook

Spud AudiobookOne of my earliest memories of childhood was driving on long and mostly torturous trips to far-flung areas of Southern Africa. My parents soon discovered that an effective way of preventing war between my now lovely sister and myself, was to pop an audiotape into the tape deck (remember them?)

I can recall listening to stories by Dick Francis, Agatha Christie and Roald Dahl – I also remember my father driving the family around our suburb extremely slowly and repeatedly. Despite driving all day we couldn’t let the holiday die until Hercule Poirot had taken his time evaluating the evidence and letting us know whom the murderer was.

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Watching from afar

This is my first post for my Amazon.com profile page. Hopefully, it will appear in two places at once – if not, back to the technical drawing board!

So to Amazon.com browsers, if you’ve stumbled upon this: thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the book.

Spud was launched by Razorbill (Penguin USA) in America and Canada on the 4th October 2007. I unfortunately was not anywhere near North America, in fact, I was so far away I was in South Africa! I tried my best to celebrate the moment with an overrated dinner in a swanky restaurant but with every drink I ordered, the toasts to America grew wearier, until eventually fading away into excited talk about the rugby world cup.

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How to sound like James Earl Jones in just five days

John van de RuitDear Reader

Announcing…. Spud the Audiobook Recording

– or –

How to sound like James Earl Jones in just five days.

The week started on a bad footing when my traditional boys-only Transkei fishing week ended three days prematurely. This was largely on account of gale force winds, dwindling whiskey reserves, and our fishing boat drifting out to sea.

After a hearty SAA breakfast of grated cabbage roll on soggy lettuce, I dismounted my Airbus to find absolutely nobody waiting for me at the airport. I must say the Penguins (my publishers) are usually quite good about arranging a hearty airport welcome complete with hired fans, fake news cameras, and a sturdy bunch of fake flowers. Alas I found myself bereft in the mighty concrete jungle and after just shy of three hundred offers for a taxi, I grimly shuffled off towards the bright red hell of AVIS.

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So You Want to be in Spud: the Movie?

I’m not sure if writers (like actors) are a breed that can be boxed into specific character traits and behavioural patterns. Sure every actor thinks he’s/she’s different to the rest of the mob and that his/her particular expression is historically unique. This is an illusion but don’t try telling actors that or you’ll get slapped, skeefed and badmouthed. Perhaps the private nature of an author’s daily grind establishes a false need for privacy, or perhaps the world of an author’s imagination eventually seems more enticing than a beer at the Keg with Nigel from school. Who knows?

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The Book Fair and Other Vague Musings

Hi All

I returned yesterday from what was unquestionably the most intense ten days of my life. Twenty-seven book talks, thirty signings and God knows how many books I’ve scribbled in. The worst thing wasn’t waking up before the sun (although in Jozi this wasn’t a problem) or the arthritic wrist – it was the smiling. Every evening i would stumble back to my hotel room with sore cheeks and wonder why. Well anyway you get my point. The novelty of being in demand soon morphs into a kind of clean professionalism that takes in everything but feels nothing. Funny that.

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Cape Town Book Fair & Stuff

Cape Town Book Fair LogoSo this week it’s the second Cape Town Book Fair and I can’t wait. Judging by the response to last year’s event I would guess this is going to be even bigger and more intense. Unfortunately the Penguins have seen fit to schedule me for about 32 signings, talks and appearances in five days so I probably won’t get to experience as much as I would have liked. I’ll write back when I return and tell you all about it. Meanwhile, see below for an enumeration of the aforementioned 32 appearances.

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