Hi, all, it’s Sher here with an interview for Cat Gehrlich’s new fantasy romance: Juma’s Rain, set in Africa and starring the Nok. With ancestors who migrated from England to Africa, how could I resist?
Character Interview with Juma Botango
Welcome Juma. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thank you for having me. I’m a girl like all the others in my tribe, only I’m living at the Endless Well and not in the village. I’ve got two brothers and a father.
We’re all Nok except for my father. He came from a tribe far away and was found wounded by a buffalo he had been hunting. He fell in love with my mother and never returned to his tribe.
What happened to your mother? You didn’t mention her before.
My mother was the chieftess’ daughter, and she had been her mothers confirmed successor. That means that the village witch was able to confirm that she had the talent to become chieftess. But when she fell in love with father, she renounced her duties and followed him to the Endless Well where she went with Monnatoba some time after I was born. Since you’re one of the pale people, you might not know our gods. Monnatoba is the Goddess of the Moon, of Dreams and Death.
Do you have more gods?
Sure. Our most important goddess is Vanamate, Goddess of Water, of Consistency and Life. Her brother Mubuntu, God of Fire, of Wilderness and Danger, is always playing tricks on her and Monnatoba. But even he doesn’t dare to wake the Nameless, their father, because that would be the end of the world as we know it.
Your gods sound quite dangerous. Do they interfere with your life a lot?
Well … in the stories of our ancestors, our tribe has always had specially gifted people visiting the gods, but in recent times I haven’t heard of one. Usually our prayers and ceremonies are sufficient. However, right now, Mubuntu is getting stronger daily and Vanamate hasn’t blessed us with her tears for a much too long time. She has not woken yet.
What are you doing to get through this drought?
I’m just a normal girl. How can I do much? But our village witch is knowledgeable. She is doing her best to wake Vanamate with songs, ceremonies, and spirit journeys. I’m sure she will be able to remind her that we depend on her tears.
Aren’t you worried that Mubuntu will use the situation?
He already is. Plants and animals are dying prematurely. But Vanamate will keep him in check as soon as our prayers reach her ear. Don’t worry.
Well, I’m not convinced. There’d be no need for telling your tale if everything were as easy as you think it is.
I’m sure the grown-ups will wake Vanamate, and there’s enough conflict in my tale between me and my cousin, Kandra, who is trying to steal my place as the next chieftess. Also, her brother Netinu keeps following me, and that’s extremely indecent and embarrassing.
That does sound interesting indeed.
You’ll have to read my story to find out more. (cheeky grin)
I will. Thank you for this interview.
Thank you for having me.
Link to Amazon:
The sun’s rays parch Juma as she leads her all male family toward the main village. Nothing and no one will stop her from becoming the chieftess’ apprentice. So she ignores the heat. Everything will be better near the lake. But the fields that should sprout green by now lie bare, with precious soil cracked and dry. Even the lake, thought to be everlasting, dwindles.
Juma discovers that heat dæmon Mubuntu is out of control and that the rain goddess is still sleeping. But only Netinu, the chieftess’ son, believes her, and he seems more interested in courting her than in the welfare of the tribe.
With her dreams going up in flames, Juma prepares to battle the dæmon and wake the goddess – and maybe, in the process, prove herself worthy of becoming chieftess.
The eBook also contains the novella “The Rain Maiden” by Theodor Storm
A few words from the author:
This Fantasy story is loosely based on Theodor Storm’s novella “Die Regentrude” (Germany 1863) but is set in Africa in a tribe of the little known Nok. All we know about this culture is that they left very beautiful clay statues and kilns behind. As far as we know, they went directly from using stone to iron tools without first using copper and brass like the rest of the word. What little I was able to find out about the Nok, I found so fascinating that I wanted to make them come alive again. And what better way to do that than with a love story.