One of my stories, Nkoninkoni, has the honour of appearing in an anthology created for the purpose of donating proceeds to Save the Rhino International. Writers from around the world were invited to submit stories based on different animals. My animal was the Wildebeest, and writing about that awesome creature was an absolutely wild trip for me. Each story is beautifully illustrated by South African artist, Helmi, and the cover art created by talented UK artist Elaine McKenna. With the anniversary of The Plight of the Rhino anthology upon us, I decided to interview the man who made it all happen. Meet Conrad Brand.
Firstly, please share a little about yourself, and what you do in our writing world.
Hi Jo, thanks for your kind words and the opportunity to chat to you. I was born on the West Coast of South Africa and after meeting, my now wife, we decided to temporarily move to the UK to see what life has to offer outside of South Africa. That was 14 years ago… I mostly pen short stories and flash fiction, but am currently working on my novel, due to be released at the end of 2015. I have been blessed to have some of my short stories published in the US, UK and South Africa. I always have a piece of paper and pen to hand, because life around us is full of inspiration and story ideas. I am also a Freelance journalist with my own column called Brandpunt in The South African, a newspaper for South African expats around the world. You will also find some of my published articles in the Netherlands and South Africa. In 2012 I published Blog 4 Sports a collection of short stories and humoristic sketches available on Amazon and in some bookshops in SA. At the start of 2013 Springbok Publications saw first light and that completely changed my world, again.
Where did the idea for the anthology come from?
As a South African and someone who enjoys and loves our diverse wildlife, I thought that by bringing awareness to a certain cause, we as their keepers can make a difference in their existence. The senseless killing of our rhinos for nothing more than a myth and what is essentially the same as the nails on our hands, was something I am very concerned and passionate about so I decided to have as Springbok Publications’ first published book, a collection of short stories from writers all over the world. This would have the most impact to as many different readers possible.
How did it grow from idea to fruition?
It happened quite quickly actually. From starting the company, to getting a team together and then specialists to help with this specific publication, happened within months. Everyone involved was just so fantastic, and generous, by giving their talent and time to saving this beautiful species.
Tell us a little about the authors – how did you choose them?
Soon after the team was in place we sent private invitations to authors, known to the project team. To reach a wide and diverse audience I wanted to make sure that we have writers from different countries involved. The response was overwhelming and we ended up with fantastic stories and poems by new and established writers from England, Wales, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Australia, New Zealand and of course from South Africa.
Do you feel that you’re accomplishing what you set out to do with this book as far as spotlighting the extermination of the Rhino population of the world?
I think we definitely made more people aware of the imminent extinction of the species, and that it will be on our watch. Also that we can still make a difference, and there are very positive signs worldwide. The poaching numbers are still very high, and once again this year, record breaking, but there are positive signs that the message is getting through. Our benefactor, Save the Rhino International is working very hard to put their funds in the right hands and ensuring that the countries and people involved are being educated on the devastation they are causing. One year since the release of Plight of the Rhino I was amazed to learn about the vast advances that had been made against rhino poaching and how local communities now stand together to fight the cause. BUT I have also learned how these criminals fund their lives and activities more efficiently, all from a safe distance. It is simple, if we don’t continue in our efforts the rhino population in the wild will be extinct by 2026. So please help now to make a difference! Before it’s too late!
Is there anything about yourself that you’d like to share with us?
If you’d like to follow my writing progress or want to read some of my scribbles, please visit my website at Website. BUT, I would rather urge you to join me and Springbok Publications to stand up and make a difference in the fight for the rhino. Can you imagine one day, in less than 20 years’ time, to read in the newspaper that the last wild rhino had been shot today? Never will they be seen in the wild again and they would be lost forever. Like the rest of the animals already extinct. Buy your copy of Plight of the Rhino today – not only will you have a lovely read for your holidays, but you will have access to the facts and info of 22 different wildlife animals, all unique and special in their own way. You never know, you might actually learn something, like I did whilst putting this collection together. One thing IS for sure, you will be helping us to bring awareness to the Plight of the Rhino in the wild.
Cover Artwork ELAINE MCKENNA Copyright Elaine McKenna
To learn more about the fantastic work Save the Rhino International does and where your contribution is going, please visit their website at Save the Rhino International. For more information and news please visit Springbok Publications or follow us on Facebook. Gorilla by HELMI Copyright Helmi Lion by HELMI Copyright Helmi