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Lauren Beukes

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

The Spark: Trinity

Team Trinity

Fiona Snyckers writes punchy, smart chic-lit (although she hates it when I drop the k) and nuanced, provocative commentary on South Africa on her blog.

Her Trinity series has done terrifically. The eponymous heroine is smart, funny, awkward and engaging. The novels are written with a light touch and a sharp social conscience – and they’re entertaining as hell.

Maybe inspired by the awesome YA Sisterz serial Fiona wrote for the cell phone stories project (which you can read in full here), the third installment in the trilogy takes Trinity Luhabe back to high school.

The Spark is an ongoing guest blog series to highlight new African fiction. If you want to be part of it, go here to read the guidelines.

The Spark: Team Trinity by Fiona Snyckers

Verster 2aWhen I was thinking of writing the next book in the Trinity series, I decided to make it a young adult story. The series has always attracted young readers so it made sense to write a book set when Trinity was the same age as her biggest fans.

I have been interested for a long time in the genesis of abusive and controlling relationships. We are all familiar with the paradigm of cyclical abuse. We know of people who grew up in abusive homes, only to turn into abusers or abuse victims as adults.

But what about those women who grow up in loving, nurturing homes with no history of abuse? How do they end up as abuse victims? What does it take for a man to break a happy, confident woman down to the point where she accepts herself at his valuation?

Many of us find it hard to understand why women stay in abusive relationships when there is no economic reason for them to do so and no children are involved. We wonder why they don’t just leave.

I wanted to explore the process whereby a young girl could be isolated and have her confidence broken down to such an extent that she is not even aware of how her sense of self has been eroded.

As so often when I have unanswered questions, I turned to Twitter for help. The responses I got were immediate and overwhelming. I felt especially honoured to be trusted with people’s personal experiences. What interested me most was how often women said that their abusive relationship started off on an incredible high. They had felt fortunate, blessed and almost ridiculously happy in the beginning. Then when the criticisms and undermining started, they became focused on doing whatever it took to get the relationship back to that happy place. Like addicts, they were continually chasing that original high.

I am probably making Team Trinity sound like a far more serious book than it actually is. It is light, funny and an entertaining read. It deals with issues that range across wide territory. But I can’t deny that the original spark for it was this preoccupation of mine with how abusive relationships get started. Essentially, the book is my heads-up to teenage girls everywhere on how to recognise the signs that your power is being taken away from you.

Follow @FionaSnyckers on Twitter
Read her blog
Visit her website

Buy the book from your favourite indie or on Kalahari or Loot or get the electronic version available on Kindle.


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