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Bianca Marais Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Hum If You Don't Know the Words (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
If You Want to Make God Laugh (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Witches of Moonshyne Manor (2022)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Prynne Viper (2022)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Bianca Marais is a literary fiction and fantasy fiction author from Toronto that is best known for her debut work “Hum If You Don’t Know the Words.”

The author is a certificate holder of a creative writing degree from the School of Continuing Studies of the University of Toronto. She is also a creative writing professor at the same institution.

Before she became an author, she founded a corporate training company and was a volunteer with Cotlands. During that time, she worked with Soweto-based care workers to provide aid for orphans of HIV and their caregivers.
She is also an activist for the South African-based “Own Voices” movement, where she runs an initiative to empower and encourage women of color to showcase their stories.

Bianca is also the host of “The Shit No One Tells You About Writing,” which talks to aspiring authors and emerging writers in addition to people who need a look into the nuts and bolts of the publishing industry.
Marais is also a co-organizer of the Toronto-based “Emerging Writers Reading Series.”

While Bianca Marais has achieved much success, at some point she almost gave up. She had then been unable to get an agent to represent her for her first two manuscripts.

This was the time she decided to attend the University of Toronto and study creative writing. It was while she was attending the certificate program at the university’s School of Continuing Studies that she penned her third work.
It was this latter work that got her an agent, even though she still had to endure the pain of more than fifty rejections. Determined to become a published author, she rewrote her manuscript as she cut more than 60.000 words.
When she finally submitted it, it only got one less rejection as compared to before. She was lucky on the fiftieth submission as a publisher finally agreed to publish it.

Her first two works were literary fiction novels set in the country of her birth. Thereafter she penned a psychological thriller as she wanted to get into commercial fiction. Marais published “The Witches of Moonshyne Manor” in 2022.
When COVID came around, she noticed that many people that were writing to her had similar questions. It was then that she decided to start a podcast that she still hosts to this day.

As for how she came to write her novels, she has said it all comes from her upbringing in South Africa. Bianca Marais was born in 1976 in Johannesburg, where she had a very insular upbringing surrounded by Afrikaners.
The family maid was Eunice, a black woman who used to leave her children in the black reserves and head to Johannesburg to raise white people’s children for money.

It was through her relationship with the maid that she came to understand the horrors of apartheid. For Marais, it was her love for Eunice and the maid’s love for her that helped deal with Apartheid-era brainwashing and racism.
It was from these experiences that she got the inspiration for writing her debut novel. Her experiences have also guided her philosophy on race relations throughout her life.

As for authors that have influenced her, she counts the likes of Sue Monk Kidd and Kathryn Stockett whose novels inspired her to tell her South African stories.

Just like their works such as “The Secret Life of Bees” and “The Helps,” her novels are very similar in terms of characters and theme.

Bianca Marais’ novel” Hum If You Don’t Know the Words” introduces ten-year-old Robin Conrad, whose life has been secured by Apartheid. The work is set in the 1970s where the white girl lives with her parents in Johannesburg.
On the other hand, is a Xhosa woman named Beauty Mbali who lives in the same country but they could not have been more worlds apart.

Beauty Mbali is living in a Bantustan in Transkei and following the death of her husband, she has been struggling to raise her kids all alone.

The two lives have been set up on the division of race and there was no chance they would have ever met until the Soweto uprising.

The uprising alters the fault lines in their society as it ignites racial conflict. Beauty’s daughter disappears while Robin’s parents are killed shattering both of their worlds.

Soon after, Robin is sent to live with her irresponsible but loving aunt while Beauty is employed to take care of the little girl even as she continues to search for her daughter.

Robin finds in Beauty the family and security she craves as the two form a strong bond, even as they deal with their devastating personal losses.

Bianca Marais’ novel “If You Want to Make God Laugh” is an unforgettable and rich story of three unique women living in South Africa following the abolishment of Apartheid.

In a squatter camp just outside Johannesburg, Zodwa a seventeen-year-old has been living in squalor. She also has to deal with a worsening AIDS pandemic and the threat of a civil war.

Since she will be giving birth in a few weeks’ time, Zodwa carefully hides many secrets that may upend her life.

Across the country, Ruth is a wealthy socialite that seems to have the best life even though she breaks down because of the little she cannot have.

In the meantime, Delilah is a disgraced former nun in Zaire that is struggling to put a lid on a past that refuses to stay in the past.

Soon enough, these crises send the three women back to their hometowns to try to work out something.

Things turn interesting when an abandoned newborn baby challenges their lifelong beliefs on motherhood, race, and the power of happenings from the past.

As the mystery of the abandoned kid grows more complex, the lives of Delilah, Ruth, and Zodwa become even more complicated.

“The Witches of Moonshybe Manor” opens with the gathering of five elderly witches, even as a furious mob is threatening to destroy Moonshyne Manor.

All eyes are focused on Queenie the witch in charge who tells them that they have not been making their mortgage payments.

However, the imminent return of Ruby means there is hope. She has been gone for three decades but once she is back everything will be sorted out.

But the mob is not the only thing they have to worry about, as there is a man who is determined to avenge his family as he believes they stole his legacy.

Out of desperation, Queenie has to make a deal with an evil power darker and more powerful than anything they ever had to deal with before.

Things only get dicier when Ruby arrives and the witches learn that they have to face a seemingly insurmountable challenge.

It is an uplifting, tender, and funny work that explores the power of unlikely friendships, found family, and aging.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Bianca Marais

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