Of trilogies, toads and turnovers…

Consuelo Roland

I ran into Hout Bay author, Consuela Roland, in Constantia recently and asked if she’d cracked the international market yet.

“Yes,” she beamed, “in July the first book in my Limbo Trilogy came out in Holland, published by Parameter Publishers. I am joining several other South African writers to be published in Dutch.”

The good news comes as she presses on with her third book due in 2019, while marketing her second book Wolf Trap, released last year by Jacana Media.

I asked how she was going to tie up the multiple threads.

“Every Limbo book is a big organic story – I know what the bare bones are, where I’m headed, but not how it’s going to be fleshed out.

“It starts to become alive and more interesting, and deliver little surprises, as I work bits and pieces from news items, conversations and research into the text.

“The trilogy is set in Cape Town where Paola Dante, a successful career woman finds that her missing author husband, Daniel de Luc, has been leading a double life.

The charismatic husband who loves cooking pasta alla carbonara also works for Real Man Incorporated, a sex organisation which arranges ‘studs’ for wealthy women to 
have babies. Even after two years Paola refuses to believe that he won’t be coming back.

“In book two Paula puts her career and life on the line to keep her adopted daughter, Simone, safe from an international paedophile network.”

The final book is about settling accounts with punishment and vengeance but also, she says, with 
forgiveness, pardon and unexpected heroism.

Consuela stresses that her plot is based on factual anecdotes heard at dinner parties although the characters are not biographical.

“I think my life has been dull and boring which someone famous said was the right thing for writers… then everything else interests them and they are curious about the lives of others. Where my books are semi-autographical is that my character is based on women I met in the IT industry who were incredibly strong and together. They were women I inspired to be but never quite got there.”

Her favourite authors are John Irving and Margaret Attwood as there is always suspense in their stories. “You sense that something is going to happen and then a random event drives their characters in another direction. I am influenced by that kind of writing and those are stories I very much enjoy.”

Month of the toad

From late July through August and into September the endangered western leopard toads make their way from the urban gardens they call home to their breeding sites and back, running a gauntlet of walled gardens and busy roads.

Thanks to the good July rains, there’s now enough water in Bergvliet’s Die Oog dam for the toads to make whoopee at the end of their trek – just as the toads will do when they find their way to the protected Cape Lowland Freshwater Wetland 
in the grounds of the Norval Foundation.

The architects had to construct culverts under busy Steenberg Road so the toads could cross in safety from one part of the wetland to the other. This respect for the humble toad is also to be found in the shop selling souvenirs and collectables where on one wall there is a poster relating 
the legend of the western leopard toad.

According to the tale, the toad was created by the goddess of prosperity and vegetation to give an indication whether the land would be prosperous for years to come.

A good year led to a huge celebration to thank the goddess and to ask that the prosperity be continued for the year ahead.
There is some sanity in 
this legend as frogs and toads play an important role in our ecosystem.

They eat bugs. They provide food for myriad animals and they are also an indicator species. A healthy water system means healthy toads and frogs. An unhealthy water system means no toads and frogs, and trouble for us.

A need in every chore

Funny how you can come across an interesting story while washing the dishes.

I was squeezing green dishwashing liquid into the hot water when I noticed on the bottle a smiling face of a man with small writing above his head.

Fetching glasses, I could read that he was Edward Moshole, founder of Chem-Fresh products who was working as a cleaner when he identified a need for gentle detergents made from quality ingredients.

From this he started his company and handled all the manufacturing himself using a hand-mixer set up in his backyard, while selling his detergents door-to-door.

Further research revealed that he had started his business in 1999 with just R68 in his pocket. Today he has a company that not only has a turnover upwards of R25 million, but is also on the cusp of expanding to the next level, now he’s turning his clients into partners.

Initially he started buying quality products in bulk and selling them to his fellow cleaners but was not satisfied.
He wanted a business that made and sold its own products. So, he tackled the long and arduous process of creating cleaners and detergents that could pass strict regulations and compete with the best products on the market.

His first real break-through was in 2006 when a supermarket agreed to start stocking his products. Today, his Chem-Fresh products can be found all over Africa and he regards Pick n Pay as one of his main clients.

Horse and carriage

If you want to read about love and marriage you better ask the librarian for two books.