I was surprised and honoured to learn that Undercard made 49th Shelf’s list of Top Fiction in 2019. It was a remarkable year for me, a year of endless firsts. It was thrilling, overwhelming, and endlessly rewarding, and this recognition by 49th Shelf made for an extremely satisfying conclusion to it. It has amazed me how much people have enjoyed Undercard. Despite how much effort it took, I loved writing it, and it’s fulfilled a lifelong dream to know that people have loved reading it.
Written by Vanessa Mainella and Kathleen Brennan, this interview came out great. It was a wonderful opportunity to share my processes and thoughts on writing, and specifically on writing Undercard. Because there are spoilers, with the interview dealing with what occurs in the book, I was able to delve much deeper into my choices for plot and character. It was a very rewarding experience. You can read the full interview over at White Wall Review.
My first time attending the mystery/crime fiction convention of Bouchercon was a real joy. Taking place in Dallas, Texas, the convention had excellent panels, warm, welcoming people, and a sea of thrilling novels. Ironically, the people who read and write about murder are as kind and supportive as can be. I’m very pleased and honoured to be part of this community. It was an experience to remember.
At ThrillerFest 2019 this past summer, I was interviewed by the Game of Books podcast, hosted by Christie Bunting and Cathi Twitero. They were great interviewers, putting one at ease with fun, engaging questions, and I really enjoyed it. My interview takes place at the 10 minute mark and lasts about 2 minutes.
You can listen to the podcast in full with the audio player below or visit Game of Books.
I cannot express how much I enjoyed my experiences at the Winnipeg International Writers Festival – the Thin Air Festival – and in Winnipeg in general. It was my first time in Manitoba, and I was amazed at how friendly and kind were the people in Winnipeg. There are also some beautiful sights, including the Red River and the Assiniboine River, as well as the Human Rights Museum, some of which I was able to see on long walks and runs. The organizers of the event were particularly hospitable, and it was a true pleasure to meet such talented Canadian authors. It was one of my best experiences since Undercard was released.
This was my first time attending ThrillerFest, the annual conference of thriller writers held in New York City, created by the International Thriller Writers organization, of which I’m a member. As my book was released in the year leading up to this conference, I was part of the Debut Authors panel, and was given the opportunity to briefly speak about my journey as a writer to the entire conference. It was a magnificent experience. Both being back in New York City, a place I love, after several years away, and meeting so many wonderful, interesting, and welcoming writers. The panel, the parties, the networking, the awards ceremony, it was, to put it simply, a great and valuable time for me. My fellow debut authors are people I hope to be friends with for a long time.
This sharp review succinctly captures so much of Undercard, especially its visceral intensity. From The Minerva Reader:
A visceral no-holds-barred novel that’s as tight and strong as the bodies that populate it. The book grabs you from the get-go, it’s a compelling, character-driven tough-guy revenge story about life’s disappointments and the self-acceptance of being a bench starter. There are lots of sporting analogies for the failed relationships and scars of the wars of adult life, both figuratively and literally. It’s a gritty and powerful read and the characters will leave you hoping there’s a sequel in the works. This is a true Vegas tale of winner takes all – but do they really?
This profile over at CJN gives great detail on my background, and how some of the things that I was exposed to growing up helped shape the themes and focuses of Undercard.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
For Albertyn, blending sport and literature has been decades in the making. He started writing short stories at age six, in his native South Africa, inspired by stories his mom wrote when she was that young.
“I always thought, as a kid, it was a foregone conclusion that I’d be a bestselling author,” he recalls.
But those dreams fell by the wayside when he fell into the sporting life. His father loved competition, and would challenge his son to road and swimming races. When the family moved to Toronto in 1993, his father bought him a punching bag and hung it from the rafters of their garage. Albertyn didn’t learn any proper techniques, but he did learn to love exercise. Tennis coaching came as naturally to him as cross-training in the boxing ring.
For the full profile, feel free to visit CJN here.
This podcast interview with Njoroge Mungai is much longer than any of the interviews I’ve done to this point, and in a relaxed atmosphere with great questions, I was able to go into considerable depth on how Undercard came to be, my writing process, and how my writing career developed. It was a really enjoyable experience for me, and I think that comes across in how many jokes there were and how much I laughed.
“Colourfully descriptive with a charm that persists throughout, Undercard brings new life to a genre of storytelling that’s popularity has seen peaks and valleys… We’ve never seen a boxing story quite like this one… But Undercard isn’t just a boxing novel; it’s a thriller, with twists and turns that will leave you breathless… When a book like Albertyn’s comes along, it reminds you why you fell in love with sport stories in the first place.”
The review by The Post Millenial is a lot longer than the previous ones and gives a much fuller picture of the book and its strengths. Worth reading if you want to learn more about the book or see how it has been received. Definitely a piece I will cherish.