Tears of the Maasai

Praise for Tears of the Maasai

“Engaging and entertaining”

- Adelaide Advertiser

“An impressive debut novel”

- Illawarra Mercury

“Rich with historical detail as well as the sights and sounds of modern-day Africa, Tears of the Maasai is an epic story”

- Pittwater Life

Tears of the Maasai

ISBN: 9780732279219
First published 2004.

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In the tradition of Beverley Harper comes a sweeping story of love and honour.

After a disastrous affair, Jack Morgan is at an emotional crossroads. When he’s offered a UN posting in Kenya he grabs it, believing time spent on foreign soil will help him forget and move on. But Africa is a land of danger, adventure and temptation, and within weeks of arriving Jack is seduced – by the spectacular Serengeti National Park, the rich Kenyan culture, and a beautiful Maasai woman named Malaika.

Strong, successful and fiercely independent, Malaika works in the Nairobi office of a US aid agency. But she, too, carries a burden within: she fled her abusive father as a young child, and in doing so was forced to abandon her majestic Maasai heritage and repress painful memories. Determined to protect her hard-won autonomy – a rarity for women in Africa – Malaika approaches Jack with curiosity. And caution.

But the heart knows no boundaries, and their love takes its course, drawing attention from officials both black and white. When Malaika is reunited with a Maasai man she had long ago forgotten, she is plunged back into a world of ancient curses and tribal responsibilities, a world for which neither she nor Jack is prepared.

At the centre of a gathering storm, Malaika and Jack must decide if their pasts can permit a future for their love… Rich with historical detail as well as the sights and sounds of modern-day Africa, Tears of the Maasai is an epic story about family, responsibility, and the cost of loving. In prose that is as broad as the plain and as colourful as the wildlife, Frank Coates brings together black and white, old and new, and shows how we must first look back in order to look forward.

With the author behind the Scenes of Tears of the Maasai

Frank in the Masai Mara presents a copy of Tears of the Maasai to James Simoine Tira in appreciation of his help with the Maasai language.

Tears of the Maasai grew out of a number of anecdotal short stories I wrote during 1999 –2000. I had waited a long time before doing anything about my desire to write – 30 years in fact – but I finally ‘grasped the nettle’. I enrolled in a short course on creative writing at TAFE. It focussed on short stories and the opportunities to get them published.

But I had problems with the genre. I didn’t have the discipline to keep the stories tight and punchy, and they went on and on – far too long for their own good. All I really wanted to write about was my life and experiences in Africa years before, but which were still very much on my mind.

I felt I had failed the course, but surprisingly, the teacher invited me to join a writers’ group, and through them I began to work on my technique, and my stories.

After many failed attempts to keep my short stories short, the writer’s group finally convinced me to write the novel I obviously wanted to write. I strenuously denied this at first, ‘I still had the day job’, I told them, and certainly no time for such an enormous undertaking.

But I worked on the novel for the next two years, during which time it went through a number of titles including Tears of the Lion and Sendeyo’s Curse before arriving at Tears of the Maasai. When I had the completed manuscript I embarked upon a series of exciting events. First, I found an agent, and shortly after that I signed a two-book contract with publishers Harper Collins.

The subsequent events were an exhilarating ride, with each high more exciting than the last. The thrill of seeing Tears of the Maasai in book shops was unbelievable. I still get that same old buzz seeing my books on the shelves.