It is my pleasure to welcome good friend and fellow Mesdame of Mayhem Lisa de Nikolits to BAD GIRL. Her book, THE WITCHDOCTOR'S BONES is on my 2014 Top Ten list.
It was a beautiful day. Road trip, upstate New York, my husband at the wheel, blue skies above, scenery pretty as a picture.
“The Killing Sands?”
Husband shakes his head.
Silence fills the car. Well, not exactly silence, Jimmy Buffett is blaring merrily and my husband is humming along.
How can he be so happy when I am in the throes of such torment?
I take off my shoes, put one foot up on the dashboard and consult my notepad.
“What Lies Beyond?”
“Behind the Shadow of The Sun?”
Firm shake of head; no.
I start thumbing through my dictionary, yes, a real printed book version of the thing.
Sun, sun, sun….
“Shadows Under the Sun?”
“No. No shadows or sun.” My husband has moved on and is blithely singing along and grinning at me. Such joy.
I glare at him.
“A Travesty of Innocence?”
He nearly swerves off the road. “No! Sounds like a courtroom drama.” He carries on singing and I want to swat him with the dictionary but hold myself in check.
“You,” I say with gritted teeth, “are proving very hard to please.”
He has already rejected these gems: Turn From The Sun, Black Against The Sun, A Feast of Sand and Poison, A Feast of Thorns, Bad Magic and Banquet of Poison.
“What about something that’s in the book,” he offers helpfully. “Like a chapter name or something?”
“The chapter names are all too complicated,” I say, “like who would read something called Murder at Sossusvlei?”
“Well then, not a chapter name but there must be something in the book… wow, look at that old Chevy…” He segues into a long ramble about classic cars, which, under other circumstances, I would actually find interesting. But since he isn’t talking about The Book, his utterances are no more than white noise.
The CD, A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean, comes to an end.
“What do you want to listen to?” He asks.
I shake my head. “I don’t care.” I am mournful. “I’m never going to find the right title. This has been going on for months.” I hang my head.
“You’ll find it, you always do.” My husband’s confidence is very annoying.
“Easy for you to say,” I snark back. Yep. I’ll be honest, I’m the one being annoying and why he doesn’t ditch me at the side of the road and drive off with Living and Dying in ¾ Time blaring loudly, is beyond me.
“I know!” I sit up. “How about The Glass Circus Safari?”
“Nope. Too difficult to say and it doesn’t tell you anything about the book – so, no.”
“But it’s from a poem in the book, the one that Eva writes.”
“I remember the poem. But no, still no.”
“I remember the poem. But no, still no.”
I give a deep sigh. “This book. This book. Six years of my life, has this book taken from me…”
“Six years of our life…”
“Yes, six years of our life, and it’s cost me a damaged optical nerve and more sleepless nights than we can count. And now, it’s all revised, it’s good to go, but the name, the name. This book means to much to me, it’s my African baby, it explores the dark corners of Africa where others might fear to tread…”
My husband, having heard this more than once, tunes me out but I’m talking more to myself than him anyway.
“…not that treading into dark corners is in any way a new thing for me to do. When I was a teenager, I was always going into stores in Africa that most White people wouldn’t ever go into and that’s where I got my bones, my witchdoctor’s bones.”
My husband’s interest in the conversation is reawakened at this.
“Witchdoctor’s bones. You get this little bag of bones and then a booklet with instructions and the bones, when thrown, will tell you about the future or where a lost relative is, or a lost possession. Sangomas or witchdoctors are usually the ones to throw the bones, that’s what they call it, throwing the bones, but I got a little bag and I tell you, bad stuff happened. That’s where I got the part for Marika, in the book. You know where she says how she threw the bones and then her goldfish died and pictures started falling off the walls and then she had to bury the bones in the veldt? Well, that was based on me, my fish died and I had to bury the bones.”
And then, EPIPHANY!
“The Witchdoctor’s Bones!” I yell. “That’s it! That’s the name!”
My husband grins. “It’s a good name,” he concedes.
“I hope Luciana likes it,” I say. (Luciana Ricciutelli is my publisher). “It does fit the book,” I say, “it’s already in there and the whole book is about the consequences that befall a bunch of foolhardy people who mess with Africa without respect or fear of what might unfold.”
I think for a moment. “The Witchdoctor’s Curse?”
My husband shook his head. “Bones are better,” he says.
“The Witchdoctor’s Bones,” I say and I settle back into my seat and look around. “So where are we, anyway? And how long have we been on the road? And never mind all that, let’s stop for lunch! We’ve got a title, I’m ready to rejoin the world!”
Readings on YouTube:
– Helen’s Revenge: http://bit.ly/1phxCsg
– Dumi, An Exerpt from The Witchdoctor’s Bones: http://bit.ly/1lirtpA
Pinterest Moodboard: http://bit.ly/1f56CCG
Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1gNPYeB
* books can be ordered (or pre-ordered) at Amazon.ca or from inanna.ca and can also be found in select bookstores. If you have any trouble ordering a book, please contact the author, Lisa de Nikolits, at firstname.lastname@example.org