In Conversation with: Desiree-Anne Martin

Desiree-Anne Martin, was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1976. She is a warrior woman, author of We Don’t Talk About It. Ever, a poet, a mother, a wife, an addictions counsellor, a postgraduate student at UCT and a recovering addict. She is an advocate for destigmatising addiction and mental health issues. Desiree-Anne describes herself as a flawed, but fabulous woman with complexities and alluring nuances.

How did you get into writing? 

I have always written. I could read at a ridiculously young age and kept my first diary when I was 10 years old and haven’t stopped writing since. I have a passionate relationship with words. I am a self-confessed word junkie. I only started writing poetry a few years ago when I took the risk and started my own blog for short stories and poetry.

How was it working on We Don’t Talk About It. Ever?

It was, at times, an immensely painful process but a pain I was willing to bear if it meant finally speaking my truth. There are parts of the book that take the reader to harrowing and traumatic spaces and I had to revisit those places too in order to get the words onto the page. Yet it was also immensely cathartic and a healing journey.

What have been the highlights of your career so far?

When I receive a message from someone who has read my book and they tell me how it resonated with them and allowed them to find the courage to acknowledge their own stories and truths; that absolutely makes my day.  

Who are your writing influences?

Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Arundhati Roy, Judy Blume when I was a kid, and too many others to mention. For poetry, its Salma El-Wardany and Atticus

What do you hope people will get from reading your work?

My hope is exactly that: hope. I would love for my work to resonate with people, to touch them, to give them hope, to make them feel or remember something. I want my words to seep in under people’s skin and move them to speak their own truths. 

Besides being an author, what else do you do? 

I am an addictions counsellor in private practice, so I work with people, young and old, that struggle with a variety of addictive disorders or other self-defeating behaviours. I am also published poet and I’m a postgraduate student at the University of Cape Town. 

What is the one thing that you can’t live without? 

Can I only choose one?! Words: spoken or written, language is my life-blood.

Where can people access your writing? 

I have a website: www.believemoredeeply.co.za and my memoir can be found in most good bookstores and online at Loot, takealot and Amazon for Kindle.

What is the soundtrack to your life? 

It really depends on where I am in my daily journey, but it could be anything from some sultry deep house to some angry 90’s Alanis Morisette or The Clash or secretly listening to Taylor Swift or some heart-wrenching Sarah MacLachlan.

Describe a typical day in your life. 

There is no typical day! Because I have so many things that I’m involved in, I could be counselling one day, in varsity lectures the next, writing at 3am, or spending time with my amazing family. 

What are you most proud of about being South African? 

I’m a product and hybrid of the Apartheid regime as well as the democratic South Africa so I’m proud that we are survivors! I am proud of the multi-textured social fabric and diversity of my country and that everyone has a remarkable story to tell. 

How would you like to be remembered? 

As a woman who always spoke and lived her truth.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? 

Write, write, write. Every day as though it’s your job. Be disciplined about it. Don’t worry about form and structure just write whatever the Muses inspire you to write. And if you can’t write, write about that!

Social media handles/website links

Website: www.believemoredeeply.co.za

Twitter: @believe_deeply

Instagram: @believe.more.deeply

Facebook: Believe More Deeply (my author’s page) @believe.more.deeply

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/desireeannemartin

Jacana: http://jacana.co.za/book-categories/biography-a-memoir/we-don-t-talk-about-it-ever-detail

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