Katherine Dernison’s father believes his philosophy of the Amaranth Bloom can create a world without war. But when their home is threatened by the South African apartheid government, they must put their beliefs into practice. Katherine learns heartbreaking lessons about love, loyalty, loss, and the truth of her father’s words: if you aren’t actively fighting for something, you are actively fighting against it.
“THE AMARANTH BLOOM is sheer magic. Gorgeous writing, irresistible characters, a sense of wonder that won’t quit, and a cosmology that is both fantastic and as familiar as the natural world upon which our souls so depend for breath—these are the spells Deborah Goemans’ debut novel wields. This rare novel is not to be missed.” —Bruce McAllister, author of Dream Baby and The Girl Who Loved Animals.
Inspired by the life of Nelson Mandela, The Amaranth Bloom is beautifully written, joyful and tragic, thought-provoking and enchanting, and will inspire YOU to become an active peacemaker too.
Targeted Age Group:
My genre, literary fiction, is free and acrobatic so I can explore different aspects of life without sticking to a certain formula. I love to include magical realism in my work–which differs from fantasy in that my characters might believe in fantastic things, but they are still grounded in reality.
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Writers?
Learn as much about your characters and plot as possible before you write and then write, rewrite, and rewrite. Try not to suffer from premature submission (i.e. submitting the book before it is ready) and don’t publish the first draft.
Deborah June Goemans grew up on a flower farm in Cape Town during apartheid. She is inspired by the life of Nelson Mandela and believes that our actions create the world for our descendants.
I was inspired by the idea of our actions creating the world for our descendents. I read about the famous South African heart transplant surgeon, Dr. Christiaan Barnard, who was born and raised in the small town of Beaufort West in the Karoo. The main street of Beaufort West is named after a British soldier, Sir Rufane Donkin, who had his wife’s heart embalmed when she died and carried it around with him wherever he went in the world.
I like to imagine the young Chris Barnard being inspired by this interesting piece of local history. I believe this story teaches us the power of our actions, you plant a small seed and it grows into a great tree. Chris Barnard’s culture dreamed of finding a way to keep hearts alive and so Dr. Barnard found a way to do this.
My book recreates the joy and heartbreak of living in South Africa during apartheid, but really it is really about what ordinary people do when challenged by others. With a few minor changes, it could be set in South Africa today. Through my work, I hope to plant seeds of peace.