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Zirk van den Berg interview excerpt 1

@Zirk van den Berg: The policeman in Nobody Dies is called Nic Acker, which is the name of a real policeman in Cape Town. Is this intentional?

You’re not the first to pick up on this! I had a classmate at school called Lillian Acker, whose father was in the police, but I never knew his first name. I think it’s more likely the name stuck in my subconscious from my brief career as a crime reporter or from having seen it in the paper. Anyway, it was certainly not intentional. For the new edition of the book, I changed his first name to Mike, just so there can be no mistaking that this is a completely fictional character.

@Zirk van den Berg: Where did you get the idea for the story of Nobody Dies?

Where I was at the time was Mowbray station near Cape Town. Where the idea came from… imagination, I suppose. Some authors acknowledge news reports and the like as the initial spark for their ideas.  (The Italian crime writer Andrea Camilleri often explains the source of his ideas in an afterword.) In this instance, I can happily report that to the best of my knowledge the killing of witnesses by South African police personnel is purely fictional.

@Zirk van den Berg: Am I the only who finds Nobody Dies a sad book?

No, I’ve heard this before. I wrote the bulk of the book shortly after emigrating from South Africa, so maybe some nostalgia seeped through. The plot’s not sad though, is it?