I finished my PhD novel The Buried Chameleon. The title relates to a practice among the indigenous Khoi tribes. During drought they buried a chameleon to bring rain.
A short synopsis
Amberike from Abyssinia, 10 years old, arrives at the Cape of Good Hope with her older sister, Gilda (12). They are housed in the slave lodge. They are separated and Amberike does not see her sister again. While adjusting to life at the lodge Amberike meets the Cook, Klaas, Arrie and Maria who becomes her substitute mother. The Cook, a writer from Indonesia falls in love with Amberike. Her body maturing is noticed by the men at the lodge and Klaas and Arrie take a special interest.
Amberike attends the lodge school where she catches the roving eye of Egbert, the teacher. He wants her to learn manners and asks Meine’s wife, Anke, to take Amberike under her wing. Anke admires Egbert and agrees. Egbert and Anke have an affair. When it is found out Meine sends Anke away and sells Egbert’s slaves, ruining his future plans.
The Cook has the compulsion to run away from his enslavement. Although Amberike develops a crush on him she has to compete with his desire for freedom. She contracts smallpox, aborts as a result of it, and when she recovers she uses her acquired immunity to help the Cook assist the Khoi, for whom the epidemic has devastating consequences.
I self-published my collection Eye of a Needle: And other Stories but do not really want to go that route with this novel, although my stories did well, with the Department of Education buying it for school libraries. However, the sales on Amazon never took off. At most I sold about 20 copies.
I was so busy completing the novel and writing my reflective essay that I never got around to looking for an agent and/or publisher.