Masha du Toit's Unexpected Magic - Contemporary Fantasy from Cape Town, South Africa

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Masha du Toit is an artist and writer living in Cape Town, South Africa. She illustrates stories that don’t exist yet, and writes about unexpected magic in everyday situations. She’s inspired by folk- and fairy tales, puppetry, and spur-of-the-moment bedtime stories.
storybook image
Masha writes in the genre of Contemporary Fantasy/Urban Fantasy. Because she is a visual artist, her books are illustrated as well as written by her.  "They are not graphic novels, and the stories are text-driven, but I like to find ways to expand on the story with my drawings."

What motivates your writing?

I write the kind of book that I'd love to discover in a library or second-hand bookshop and be immersed in, something that reminds me that although I'm no longer a child, magic is all around me every day.

Tell me about influences.

I'm influenced by writers like Diana Wynne-Jones, Charles de Lint, and Garth Nix, among the many!  I also grew up reading folk and fairy tales and am always looking for ways to weave those into my stories.

I'm also inspired by my environment. I keep meeting people who are so odd, or interesting, or irritating that I can't wait to place them in a story.  And living in Cape Town I'm constantly surrounded by things that just cry out to be written about, whether it is the way people speak, the city itself, or way that the natural world survives in and around the harsher urban spaces.

The Story Trap, The Broken Path books
all images © Masha du Toit
Do you have any regrets pertaining to your writing?

I regret that I only started writing after my mother died.  She was a great inspiration to me, with her love of stories and curiosity about just about everything.  In some ways, I'm always writing about my mother, and how much I still miss her.


What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
goblin, big nosed lady, odd neighbors

To be aware of what motivates you. It's easy to lose sight of your own goals when you are surrounded by people with different aspirations. Some of us need the validation of getting a contract with a publisher, or making lots of sales. Others simply want readers, or even just the experience of writing itself.  Don't let anyone tell you that you are not a "real" writer, for whatever reason.  Figure out what motivates YOU and don't lose sight of that.

teapot, teacups, book art


Discover more about Masha online…

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