A bored housewife is angry with her husband.
He has just returned home from his offshore job and went drinking with the boys instead of spending time with her.
As she blows off steam on her mountainside balcony, she witnesses how a young taxi driver smashes into a young woman jogging with her three friends.
The taxi spins around and comes to a screeching halt just metres from where the lifeless body of one of the joggers is sprawled across the tar.
These are just some of the characters brought to life by Fish Hoek resident, Melina Lewis, in her first novel, After You Died.
Melina works as a marketing consultant and has always enjoyed writing. She has experience as a copywriter and writing for marketing textbooks.
She had been working on the idea of writing her own book for a while and decided to set the book in Fish Hoek where she and her family have lived for the past four years.
The book focuses on the seven stages of grief and how the characters relate to each of them.
The novel takes you on a journey through the emotions of each character as they each experience loss and try to move forward with their lives.
“I played around with the different scenes in my head for months adding to the plot and then changing it again,” she says.
And on a family weekend trip to Stanford in September 2016, she put pen to paper and After You Died was born.
Each character was developed individually although, she says, some have character traits from people she has met and all have
“a little bit of herself” in them.
Her research included a visit to False Bay Hospital which features prominently in the book after the young taxi driver is seriously injured after killing the jogger.
She did hours of research online about rehabilitation facilities, how they work as well as making sure, what the legal complexities are after death from a car accident.
AXhosa-speakingfriend helped her with some of the taxi driver’s dialogue and local friends helped her edit it as she went along.
She soon got into a rhythm of writing every day and completed her book in 2018.
But then getting it published was another challenge.
After hours of research and listening to podcasts, she decided to self-publish her book which turned out to be journey in itself.
“I believed in the product and decided to go for it,” she says.
The first step was to convert her manuscript to an e-publication.
After extensive research, she decided to use a publisher based in America.
They converted her manuscript, designed the cover and printed the book.
Since then, she’s had a second edition re-designed and printed in South Africa with good results.
“I prefer the second edition done locally,” she says.
Although it was a costly process, Melina says she is confident her book will sell well.
Marketing your own product is challenging but exciting, she adds.
For more information about her book, visit her website at melinalewis.com or her Facebook page at Facebook.com/MelinaLewisauthor.
Her book is available on
Amazon as an e-book, or in paperback for R160 or by contacting her via her website or Facebook page.