About Mary-Anne

About Mary-Anne

When asked about my life and how I started to write I often ask myself ‘what can I say?’ I have had a varied and interesting life, great experiences and fearful ones! Coming between a bull elephant and his herd would definitely fall into the latter category!

My latest novel ‘Dear George’ is based on my experience with cancer. All events that take place are based on what happened to me. The characters and events are fiction. ‘Dear George’ will make you cry. It will make you laugh. You’ll emphathise, you’ll sympathise, you’ll want to protect Paige, the young sixteen-year-old that has to fight for her life!

Please take this journey with Paige and I. You won’t regret it!

The Crooks Family

Steve with Jayde and Carmen

As I am South African by birth I am also passionate about the preservation of wildlife and the continent of Africa. Many teenagers have never had the opportunity to experience a game-drive or even view a wild animal in its natural habitat. Africa is not well known to the rest of the world and has a certain mystique and drama about it. I can offer my readers an opportunity to experience this amazing continent by allowing them to live and breathe Africa through the adventures of the four teenagers, Fern, Nao, Philemon and Sam, whom my books are based on and to open a world that does exist with its fables and myths that have been passed down by generations of storytelling. Even though my stories are fiction, my novels contain a wealth of information about animals, landscape and the differing cultures of Africa.

Although I am from Africa I now reside in the U.K. with my family. I started my career as a teacher and have taught children in Primary and Secondary schools. I had a business, teaching computer skills to students of all ages. My company gave me invaluable experience in dealing with a diverse range of cultures. Our entire aim was that we taught our pupils the necessary skills and literacy but that they had fun learning!

This was part of the reason I decided to write my first novel, the first of a planned series.

Steve & Mary-Anne Crooks

Steve and I

The second reason was that my husband has been nagging me for years to write a book; he recognised potential in me that I had never even considered!

My third reason presented me with the opportunity to begin writing. It is not an option I recommend but worked for me! I was diagnosed with cancer and couldn’t start my teaching job in the U.K. I underwent treatment for nine months, seven of those bald! My amazing family would not even support me by shaving their hair in sympathy for me. My darling husband even had the cheek to say ‘I love you, my darling, but not that much!!’

The second novel is currently being written and is about a street child that hears rumours of homeless people disappearing. The third is being researched at the moment and is entitled ‘Do or Die!’ This novel is about Somali pirates attacking the cruise-liner the teenagers are holidaying on and kidnapping them. I love writing about Africa and have other novels planned for this series.

There are 117 comments for this article
  1. xxx at 10:41 pm

    Hey! I ҝnow this is kind of off topic but I waѕ wondering
    if you knew wheгe I coսⅼd find a caрtcha plᥙgin for my comment form?

    I’m using the same blog platform as ʏours and I’m
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    • Mary-Anne Crooks Author at 3:08 pm

      I love the UK and the British people. We’ve been so blessed living here and have had opportunities we wouldn’t have had anywhere else. My husband is British and my mother was born in Hampshire. My father’s family were also from the U.K. so in a way, England is home away from home but is our permanent residence now.

  2. Adam Barnard at 3:03 pm

    I’m a mature man but read your website with interest. The presentation is superb and your stories are interesting. Africa is my life and as your previous reader commented we need the world to understand how quickly our wildlife are being depleted. I realise you had a warning on some of your blog videos about not watching the slaughter but my belief is everyone should watch and be made aware of how these animals are butchered and the agony they have to endure. I’m looking forward to reading more of your work.

    • Mary-Anne Crooks Author at 3:04 pm

      Thank you for your kind comments about my website and writing. I do agree with you about our animals and definitely plan to plough finances back into Africa when my novels are published. Africa is the continent of extremes – extreme beauty and extreme violence and no matter what race, colour or creed, everyone falls victim to the latter!

  3. Amber Schroeder at 3:01 pm

    I read your story tactical brutality with interest. I experienced a similar marriage. It was so real to me and cathartic when I shed tears. Thank you x

  4. Janet Dubbelman at 2:56 pm

    Wow is all I can say…. Your sure write from your heart. The Hunted and Whisper of Death my fight with Faith are my favourite. Africa has a soul that you feel when reading the Hunted. Whisper of Death … Beautiful from your heart and love your honesty in that. Your Website is great too and so easy to wander through xx thanks Mary-Anne can’t wait for your books to be on the shelf

  5. Kim Haw at 2:54 pm

    I am so looking forward to your novels coming out,as a South African living in Johannesburg, when I read your extracts from the Hunted and Kill me please Sir, I feel those words. To date 9 September 2010, 127 Rhino have been slaughtered this year! The poaching of rhino and elephant in Africa right now is appaling, books like this will hightlight this plight. Sixpence, I see a Sixpence on every other corner in Johannesburg, glue their only comfort, my heart goes out to the Sixpences of the world. Well done Maryanne, love your work!

  6. Isabel marie Scully at 2:53 pm

    I really enjoyed listening to the extracts from the Hunted beautifully read by Carmen. I think you are a very talented Writer Mary-Anne. I will ask my friends to visit your website xxx

    • Mary-Anne Crooks Author at 2:53 pm

      Thank you – it’s been interesting to get feed-back from different cultures! I based the character of ‘Fern’ on Carmen and a lot of the bush is explained from memory – we had timeshare and spent a week a year in a Gamelodge – adored it! x

  7. Amy (ex SA) at 2:52 pm

    It’s always great to read a book about “Africa”……once the African ways grab your heart they never leave…..thanks Mary-Anne for bringing a bit of the bush back into our lives…after reading “The Hunted” to my 2 boys and seeing how interested they were to hear about the culture as well as the adventure you took us all on…..can’t wait to read more…. it was a perfect way of bringing “home” to our homeschool curriculum!!

  8. Sheila Loubser at 2:51 pm

    Well done Mary-Anne you write with such passion and really draw the reader into the story. Your stories about Africa are brilliant and one gets the feeling of being right there where it is all happening. I loved your stories about your own experiences as well and can see that your life is a journey with the Lord and that you really walk in faith. Best of luck with publishing may God’s blessings be poured out upon you and your writing be successful. Lots of luv sheila xxx

  9. Bev Caldwell at 2:50 pm

    Mary-Anne, you write from the heart, and it is a joy to read. I feel for Southern Africans who have left our wonderful continent as I could never do so – Africa has her own heartbeat which truly resonates with my soul, however you capture the essence and bring awareness to those who are not sufficiently blessed to experience Africa. Well done.

  10. Chantal Nielsen at 2:37 pm

    Once an African, always an African. We might not always understand why God allows certain trials and tests into our lives, except for us to grow spiritually, and become an inspiration to others, which you have clearly become. Keep writing with passion and heart!

  11. Liz Cross at 2:36 pm

    My daughter was reading your website and Fern’s blogs – I must say I’ve since been reading your extracts and your stories under ‘fly on the wall’. You said the one story ‘I’d rather drown’ is based on truth. It’s so difficult for us in Britain to imagine what that terror must be like. I hope she is okay now.

  12. Bheka Mabena at 2:30 pm

    i watched your youtube video and read some work from your book i’m african and was wondering why you used the zanzi tribe – i havent heard of them enjoy your writing, when can we buy the book in south africa?

    • Mary-Anne Crooks Author at 2:30 pm

      Hi Bheka. I created the Zanzi tribe to encompass all the various tribes in Africa as a whole. I didn’t want to choose just one therefore thought it better to invent a name that would hopefully portray a bit of each tribe. I have also not chosen a particular part of Southern Africa but described scenes from various parts of our beautiful continent!

  13. Stacey Chilcott at 2:29 pm

    love your website! one of my friends told me about it and i cant wait to go to africa. i’m from the UK and it’s totally another world so very interesting

  14. Aaron McQueen at 2:29 pm

    A friend of mine viewed your website and told me about it. Enjoy your writing and am looking forward to more about Nao, Fern etc. Even though we have the outback its still extreme in difference to what you describe about africa.

  15. Cheryl Oosthuizen at 2:27 pm

    I stay in Australia now but miss South Africa so much – love reading your work as I feel as if I’m back in the bush again – can literally smell it! Thank you x

    • Mary-Anne Crooks Author at 2:27 pm

      Wow, you’ve made me feel amazing – would be great to meet you one day! I miss Africa and everything about it but am hoping that, once published, we’ll be able to plough finances back into South Africa, her people and her animals. xx

  16. Deryl Rothman at 2:26 pm

    Love the website. Also look forward to reading your books. I think Africa continues to pulsate through our veins even though we don’t live there anymore. You seem bring the continent and it’s people alive to those who have never been & bring back nostalgic memories to those of us who have lived there :)

  17. Tanya Green at 2:25 pm

    I love your website, well done! I know that you’ll be published soon as you have the two main ingredients necessary, God and grit. You remind me of a bulldog, bite down and hold on until something happens. Keep up the good work. I love the blogs from Fern as well as the videos. God bless Mary-anne x

    • Mary-Anne Crooks Author at 2:25 pm

      Thank you so much Tanya. I know that when I surround myself with ‘firelighters’, people that believe in my dream, I’m on the right track – so appreciate your comment! The bulldog comment, as long as it only reminds you of its bite and not its face! Lots of love xxxx

  18. Patti at 2:24 pm

    Mary-Anne, I bet your Dad was a wonderful man……………..I miss my Mom and Dad so much too. Thanks for all your beautiful messages of inspiration too, you’re a fantastic person and such an excellent story teller. I look forward to a year of a wonderful friendship with you and all my other friends. Have a goody and wishing you and your family all the God’s richest Blessings for 2011. Love you.

    • Mary-Anne Crooks Author at 2:24 pm

      Hi Patti. Thank you so much for your support – I keep saying this but I truly couldn’t keep writing without the support of my family, friends, and newly acquired friends on the website and facebook! I hope that all your hopes and aspirations are realised in 2011. xxxxxxxxxxx

  19. Mandy Maison at 2:23 pm

    I’m suffering from cancer at the moment and have been so fortunate to have the sickness you did. It’s an inspiration to read how God protected you and how your friends supported you. You must be a great person.

    • Mary-Anne Crooks Author at 2:24 pm

      I’m so sorry that you’re enduring that awful disease Mandy – will definitely be thinking of you during your trying time. I’m definitely not a great person, it was God’s grace and the wonderful people He surrounded me with that got me through that challenge in my life. He’ll get you through this dark time as well. xxx

  20. Winny Russell at 2:20 pm

    Excellent writing and can’t wait to read the novels. I’m from S.A. and went onto google to find writers from here and came to your website. I feel that you bring Africa to life for your readers and think that your description of Sixpence and his life of squalor on the streets is outstanding. It truly portrays the darker side of S.A.

    • Mary-Anne Crooks Author at 2:21 pm

      Positive comments such as yours encourages me to keep on writing. Africa,as a whole, has an incredible need, not just in resources but in education. I think that has to be a priority so that her people can use their various skills to support themselves. I’ve also tried to show the wonderful side of this continent that is so rich with many amazing cultures, diverse landscape and also the incredible animal kingdom that is being wiped out rapidly.

  21. Lindsey Dodds at 2:18 pm

    Fantastic Mary-Anne, I remember your struggle so well with the cancer and your positive faith and belief in your recovery, definitely in for a book or two!

  22. Suzanne & Phillip (Australia) at 2:11 pm

    We traveled to Africa in 1990 into Fothergill Isaland in Zimbabwe, Zambia Nairobi Rwanda & loved it all. So look forward to reading your books.

    • Mary-Anne Crooks Author at 2:17 pm

      Thank you so much – I’m waiting in anticipation now as far as my novels are concerned! I have short stories under ‘Fly on the Wall’ if you feel like quick reads at the moment and have just added my first chapter of ‘Whisper of Death – My fight of Faith’. I appreciate your support!

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