My 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.
When 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.
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