Fever’s own paperback writer

WORDS have been her bread and butter for years, and now they’re her claim to fame... This former Fever journalist is now a successful fiction author!

Ash Rising, Katya Lebeque’s debut Fantasy novel, hit online book hubs like Amazon on Youth Day, June 16, and things have not slowed down since then, according to the 20-something author.

“Things have been crazy — good crazy! It has been so surreal, with reviews by people I’ve been following for years, WhatsApps from strangers (how did they get my number) and talk of readings and signings... So weird,” Lebeque said.

Just 48 hours after its release, Ash Rising had close to 400 downloads on Amazon, hitting number one in two categories and number three in the same category of books as The Hunger Games!

“It was really amazing, but the most amazing part was seeing people open their hearts up to these characters and their journeys,” she said

What most of her fans online don’t know is that, before she started making hundreds of dollars in book sales and appearing on reviewers’ blogs in America and London, she was a Durban North Fever journalist.

“I joined Media24 way back in 2011, straight out of university, hoping to become a journalist when I grew up...While I was there, the Durban NorthFever was created and I became its very first journo. It was then that I really got to love Durban, Umhlanga and Durban North in particular, and I still visit whenever I can.”

In fact, Lebeque links her success as a writer in both fiction and real life (she is still a journalist to this day) to the Fever publications.

“Everyone thinks that writing is about some solitary intellectual sitting in a coffee shop, scribbling in a moleskin. It’s so not — writing is about hard work, showing up at the page every day and working to deadlines. I learned all of that at the Durban North Fever and the other Media24 papers I wrote for. Getting my start at a community newspaper was valuable too, as I think that writing is all about community. In fact, I would go so far as to say that as the writer you are almost the least important person in the process – you are just the mirror.

“It’s about how other people feel, respond, connect with their humanity and with another’s experience while simultaneously feeling a little less alone in theirs that makes writing worth the trees it’s printed on.”

For those who like books, Ash Rising is a young adult fantasy novel about Ash, a no-nonsense fighter who abandons her title as a lady to become a monster hunter when the end of the world comes to her country. It is currently available in South Africa only through online channels, on Amazon, with the book set to be on bookshop shelves by Halloween.

— Supplied