#Read about Guest #Author Jennifer B. Graham

Jennifer B. GrahamMy name is Jennifer B. Graham, author of a memoir, An Immoral Proposal. My book recounts my growing up as a person of colour under South Africa’s apartheid regime. The story culminates in a forbidden, illegal romance with a white man – a big no-no under apartheid for which there was a stiff prison sentence of 7 years if caught and arrested.

Having all the elements of a good read, conflict, plot, intrigue, beautiful setting, colourful characters, An Immoral Proposal really wrote itself – it was a story begging to be told. In fact, I started writing it as a novel, but it rang hollow. I thought as the narrator I could hide behind the story, so that I didn’t have to get emotionally involved, but it didn’t work.

JBG 02When I ran it by a publisher friend of mine, she told me very gently and diplomatically that it stank! She said it needed to be a memoir. I wasn’t familiar with memoir writing and thought that genre was only for important public figures and celebrities.

Pouring out one’s heart in a public forum is not easy, but for me it was important and healing, because I needed to find my voice.

Because of the evocative nature of the book, it was emotionally draining to write. It took 25 years. What an enormous relief when it was finally birthed on November 9, 2013, after being “pregnant” with it for all those years.

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I went the self-publishing route through CreateSpace.com. The marketing aspect of An Immoral Proposal has been (and still is) a huge learning curve. It took me a year to learn about the technical aspects of creating a website as well as the nature of blogging and networking. I’m still learning. I’m currently working on the sequel to my memoir.

Jennifer B. Graham

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27 thoughts on “#Read about Guest #Author Jennifer B. Graham

  1. Congrats on finishing your book and publishing your memoirs. It must have been a difficult thing to do. May you find peace now that it is finished. Best wishes and blessings! Will follow you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I came here via Christoph Fischer’s reblog, and found your story an interesting one! Congratulations on finally birthing your 25-year pregnancy…and letting the world know about you and your story. On my TBR list, for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As an apartheid era South African I can well imagine this book as cathartic.The issue about whether to camouflage memoir as fiction is very current for me. There are plus-es on both sides; fiction gives a reader the imaginative freedom to embrace a ‘story’ and make it true (or not); memoir co-opts the reader and mostly through the personal voice. I have written the first (fiction) but having been absorbed by the fresh and intimate memoir (Eat Pray,Love) I am beginning to re-consider! I wonder whether you have read Lewis Nkosi’s novel ‘Mating Birds’? A very powerful account of the period.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Philippa, for your comments. Yes, it was cathartic writing An Immoral Proposal as a memoir. I thought writing it as a novel would be easy, but it wasn’t. I needed my story to be authentic for me. Instead of hiding from my real demons in a fictional setting, I had to face them head on in my memoir. It meant sticking my neck out, yes, but doing so, I found my voice.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Having lived in South Africa in the 60s as teenager it was made clear both at school and in our cultural diplomacy information pack that even talking about apartheid negatively carried stiff penalties.. Imagine if you were conducting an illegal romance… does not bear thinking about.. a brave woman tells her story.. Jennifer B. Graham in An Immoral Proposal – the latest author on The Story Reading Ape’s blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I lived through apartheid, I couldn’t ever imagine an end to that regime. What a monumental time in history when Nelson Mandela was released from prison and apartheid died like all oppressive regimes. Looking back, I think it was partly naivete, rather than bravery that got us through and of course, our abiding love and friendship. It could easily have gone pear-shape for us! Thank you so much for your kind comments, Smorgasbord. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Good for you finally getting your book out there after all that time of incubation! I was told something similar by an agent about my first book, but I’ve never had the nerve to rewrite it as memoir. Not that there’s anything harrowing in it like yours 🙂 Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well done on getting the book out after so long.I can’t imagine the pain you must have gone through in the writing, but maybe it was cathartic too. Apartheid was both immoral and evil, to have been touched by such cruelty must have left a terrible scar. I hope that it’s healing now that you no longer face being treated as a second class citizen.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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