One woman who is on top of her game is Mokopi Shale who is fast becoming known as the queen of romance, with four romance novels under her belt.
Last month, Melodi Publishing announced the release of their debut novel with her in the romance category. Her three previous novels were produced with other publishers.
Her latest novel, Before There Was Us, tells the story of Didintle “Didi” Sechele, who grew up watching with awe the love her parents felt for each other. This leads to her to becoming a well-known and loved author of the quintessential South African romance.
Didi is a true romantic who has spent her life looking for her own Mr Right. The novel chronicles the humorous and often tragic journey she goes through trying to find her true and lasting love.
It’s a compelling and complex journey finding true love in a time of the hook-up, apps and the throw-away love culture. With an unexpected twist at the end, the book sets the scene for the feature film, Love Lives Here, starring Thando Thabethe, which opens nationwide tomorrow.
Like the film, the novel explores money, relationships, self-love, family and sex and sexuality.
Asked about the novel, Shale said: “Like real-life human beings, all the characters we see on our screens have a back story, a past and reasons why they act the way they do.
“Before There Was Us is a labour of love, literally and metaphorically, because I took the back story of Zinhle Malinga, who was originally called Didi Sechele, and turned it into a romance novel.
“Basically, all I wanted to do was to document a journey to self-love that doesn’t ask for permission to do what needs to be done to find happiness.”
Melodi Publishing is a startup that aims to partner with aspiring and established authors who do not want to deal with the stress involved in distributing their book. The main focus of the company is to publish authors writing in English, as well as indigenous South African languages, who are telling authentic South African stories.
“I have lived a million lifetimes in the books I have read. I want Melodi book readers to experience the same, while also having the opportunity to engage in dialogues about their experience,” says Gao Mothoagae, managing director of the new publishing company.
Through its indigenous language books, Melodi is also aiming to create, or bring back, a passion for local languages and the shared history they represent as part of the rebirth of black communities.