PE-born writer back to launch thriller

Author Peter Church at the launch of his book ‘Crackerjack’
Author Peter Church at the launch of his book ‘Crackerjack’
Image: Brian Witbooi

When he was little, former Port Elizabeth resident Peter Church entertained himself by typing away with tiny fingers and making up stories in his head.

Now he has launched a South Africa-based thriller, Crackerjack.

Church was born in Port Elizabeth in 1963 and went to Grey High School, but now lives in Cape Town. He was at Fogarty’s Bookshop in Walmer for the launch of Crackerjack.

The idea for Crackerjack was conceived in 2010 but the book took nine years to reach the shelves.

“Obviously I was not working on it all the time, but I was always mulling over the twists and turns of the plot,” Church said.

Set in Cape Town, the narrative revolves around a Cape Town CEO of a listed engineering company whose luxury vehicle is discovered in a crevice at the bottom of Chapman’s Peak Drive. A mint of money is missing from his company’s accounts. Carla Vitale refuses to accept that her boss and mentor stole the money and sets out on a mission to find him.

Church attributed his love of writing to his mother, Sylvia Church. “She encouraged us to read from a young age, from Dr Seuss to Enid Blyton and Franklin W Dixon’s Hardy Boys.

“Reading was strongly encouraged in school – we did not have as many alternatives and distractions as there are today,” Church said.

“My mother had brought back a Royale typewriter from America and I loved hitting the keys and inventing little stories.”

Church said it was not easy to make a living writing fiction in South Africa.

“It’s a numbers game – 2,000 copies is considered a best-seller locally and this is not nearly enough to live off.”