November 2015

Page 21



AUTHOR: JT Lawrence

by Melissa Delport

Janita Lawrence is an author, playwright and bookdealer. She lives in Parkhurst, with her husband and two young sons, in a house with a red front door. She writes every day, in a coffee shop up the road, and she bakes a mean Guinness-and-Chocolate cake. Her recently published novel Why You Were Taken is a tightly wound and imaginative sci-fi thriller set in Johannesburg, in 2021. The book has been incredibly well-received and has been optioned by the SABC for a radio serial. Janita attributes her success as a novelist to a love of writing instilled in her at a very young age by her mother, who is incidentally her biggest fan. Brought up on a diet of Roald Dahl, a young Janita began her writing career at the age of 7, when she wrote her first poem. By the tender age of 11, she had written her first novel, dotmatrix style, on canary yellow bond paper. Janita went on to study Visual Communication at Triple A, majoring in art direction, and was then accepted into the internship programme at The Jupiter Drawing Room, where she went on to win various advertising awards. In 2009 she opened her online business, Pulp Books: a personal bookdealing service. Why You Were Taken is not Janita’s first foray into the world of fiction. Her debut novel, The Memory of Water, was published in 2011. She has written various plays for SAFM including The Shelter, Unspilling the Milk, Every Breath You Take, and serials, the most recent being the crime drama Jigsaw. Her short story collection, Sticky Fingers, will be broadcast in the last quarter of 2015. Janita is currently working on Grey Magic, slated for publishing in 2017, about an eccentric modern-day witch, accused of murder, who must explore her past lives in order to keep her freedom - and find her way back to magic.

EXCERPT: Why You Were Taken Also, food was a problem. She couldn’t run with all her groceries so she has to shop every day. She didn’t like shopping: too many people. Her psychologist said to try online shopping. Everyone’s doing it, she had said. But that would mean giving strangers her address and the hours she would be home. Even if the shop people were harmless, the information could be intercepted. When she finally built up supplies she would end up throwing them away. The fridge door would look suspicious: like it had been opened by someone else. An intruder. She would try to work out exactly which food they had contaminated but could never stop at one item. Once the pineberry yoghurt had been binned, the cheddar looked suspect, after that, the pawpaw, the black bread, the SoySpread, the feta. The precious innocent-looking eggs, the vegetarian hotdogs, the green mango atchar, the leftover basmati, until it was all discarded and sealed tightly in a black plastic bag. The dumping of each individual item causes her pain, she so hates to fritter. This happens once a week. Sometimes she needs to check the cupboards, too. Sometimes it’s not just the open things in the fridge that may have been tainted. She’ll get an idea, a name, in her head, and those things will have to go, too. Last week it was Bilchen. Pictures in her head of factorybots polluting the processed food and then sealing them in neat little parcels, ready to eat. It was as if someone was shouting at her: Bilchen! Bilchen! Like a branded panic attack. And then she had to check every box and packet in her cupboard and toss everything with the Bilchen logo. There wasn’t a lot left over.

To find out more about Janita, you can visit her website at: