In a time where we all need a little entertainment in our lives to distract from the reality of our world comes a book unlike any other. Scarlet Odyssey by C.T. Rwizi, a young African writer who lives in South Africa, is a lush and magical world inspired by the many cultures and myths of sub-Saharan Africa.
At the heart of this story is a young man failing to conform to society’s expectations. And because of this he is forced to journey thousands of miles away from home to redeem himself and for a chance to save his people. This wholly original blend of fantasy meets technology is a must read and is available to purchase today!
Want a chance to read Scarlet Odyssey? One lucky person is set to win a copy of this coming of age story. Just leave a comment below telling us why you’d like to read this book! And when you’re done there, read the essay on why C.T. Rwizi wrote Scarlet Odyssey!
Why I Write ‘Scarlet Odyssey’ by
I’ve always enjoyed reading books in the genre, and I’d find myself dreaming up my own stories in my free time, wishing I had an outlet to bring them out of my head. For the longest time it never occurred to me that I could simply write these stories on paper and attempt to publish them like every other writer.
I didn’t even think being a writer was an option for me. Writing isn’t a profession many people pursue where I live—I’d say the same is true for many African societies—and I carried that same mentality with me. I knew several doctors and engineers and managers, but I knew no one who’d written fiction, let alone fantasy or science fiction, and gotten published.
It wasn’t until I’d graduated college and I was back in South Africa, sitting at home after a day at work, that I—for some reason I can’t explain or remember—settled in front of a computer screen and started writing. The first story I wrote wasn’t Scarlet Odyssey. It was a fantasy starring a white-ish guy in a pseudo-medieval European-ish setting. It wasn’t very good, and I wasn’t enamored of it, but I wrote it because I believed it was what fantasy was supposed to look like and what readers wanted to read. There was a formula, and I was trying to fit my story and characters into it.
Then I saw her. She was a bride dressed in traditional Xhosa attire on the TV screen at my uncle’s house where I was visiting. Every Sunday, my uncle’s wife watches this wedding program that features weddings from all over South Africa. There are usually two ceremonies—one with the suits and the white dress and the priest, and a more traditional African affair the next day. I saw her just as she stepped out of a car on her second day to the sound of music and cheers, and I remember thinking: wow, I wish I could write a story with her as a character.
And I remember thinking: But who said I can’t?
I immediately reached for my journal and wrote down a description of her, how she made me feel, how stunning she looked in her attire, how proud of her heritage she was—she and everyone around her—and rightly so. I later used that description for the Yerezi queen when she makes her first appearance in my novel.
That was the initial spark, the inspiration that unshackled me from the formula, unleashed my creativity and led me to the story of Scarlet Odyssey.
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