From 2005 to 2008 I lived in South Africa where I worked with children affected by HIV&AIDS in after-school clubs in Tembisa township. My hobby is figure skating, and I was thrilled to find a rink ten minutes from my home in Kempton Park. Skating is no longer and all-white sport. I found myself wondering: What if a promising African figure skater were worried that people would find out her father had HIV? What if the expenses of his illness forced the family to move from upper-middle-class Kempton Park to working-class Tembisa? What if my skater saw people mistreated because of the virus? How far would she go to keep her secret? Who would model living positively with HIV?
The manuscript had several readers, Zulu and English, adult and teen, to whom I am indebted for pointing out cultural errors. Any that remain are purely my own fault. I hope that African readers will see something of themselves, and that American readers will get a glimpse of what it might be like if they were in Sindi’s skates.
Listen to the advice of others. Try different approaches to your story. But in the end, it is your story. Write your own passion, not what you think will sell.