I’m a rebel in my own way who created the life I desired, making many mistakes along the way.
I left home at a young age to distance myself from a troubled childhood, and worked for minimum wage to put myself through a bachelor’s degree. Yes, I was the typical immigrant girl with only a few dollars in her pocket who cleaned stinky toilets and slept in rented basement rooms to get back on her feet.
I went on to get an MBA from Solvay Business School in Europe and worked my way through the corporate world for more than a decade until I rediscovered my life’s passion for books and social change. Today, I write, speak and connect with readers with one goal in mind—to inspire and empower the lives of young women around the world, especially those who live in the darkest corners of our planet.
I do what I do because I remember what it’s like to be a scared and lonely girl with few opportunities and little support.
I was born on a tropical island in the Indian Ocean, spent my childhood in the savannas of Southern Africa and have worked in South east Asia, North America and Europe. I’ve been an accidental traveler all my life, and have lived in fifteen cities, in seven countries, on four continents to date.
I come from many places. I’m a citizen of this world.
My favorite pastime is to cook and bake in my kitchen with a glass of red wine on the counter and sweet jazz playing in the background. I’m also an adrenaline junkie and have rock climbed, rappelled, bungee jumped, parasailed, flown in an acrobatic airplane upside down, rode on the back of a race motorcycle across Quebec, and parachuted solo from 3,000 feet. But I still don’t know how to ride a bicycle. Yet.
The greatest love of my life is reading. Books are what gave me an escape, a door to wonder and possibilities during the darkest moments of my childhood. I now pledge to read at least forty books a year, every year.
My love for books began when I was very young. I used to read Jack and Jill stories using a torchlight under my blanket till late at night, when I was supposed to be asleep. I graduated to Enid Blyton and Nancy Drew, then on to Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Daniel Defoe and others. As a child who moved to a new city, a new country or a new continent every few years, I found it hard to make friends, so books became my companions, and authors, my allies. I gobbled up every book I got my hands on and savored every word I read.
I remember one day discovering a dusty, ripped copy of The Gulag Archipelago, a difficult read about the Stalin era. This was not a book for a child, but there was not much else in my little school library, in that remote town where we lived at that time. That book taught me the strength of words. It taught me how storytelling can shine a powerful spotlight on injustice and how mere words can transform ideas and minds around the world.
I started to write full length novels in 2010, mostly memoirs of a lifetime of traveling. It was only recently I decided to write a story about a young woman who goes through experiences I witnessed, experienced or learned about, having lived in many places where women’s rights are not respected. I wanted to write a story about a girl who goes through adversity and hardship, but who rises up and fights back, and comes out stronger and wiser, despite what she endures.
I write these stories because I’m compelled to write them. I can do nothing less.
I envision a world where every girl in the world gets to go to school in a safe and nurturing environment, a world where every young woman gets the choice to decide what she wants to do with the rest of her life.
My mission in life is to inspire girls and young women who live in the darkest corners of our planet. These are sad places where girls don’t matter and where women have few rights, if any. They are pulled out of school to marry men four times their age, forced into domestic slavery, and sold across borders for a few dollars as chattel. I want to inspire these girls and young women to stay strong against their adversities, to grab onto chances, and to never back down. I want them to know they matter and they are not alone.
I write to entertain, but more importantly, I write to inform the world about what happens to the most vulnerable populations in our world today. And if only one girl, just one girl, stands up for her dignity and rights after reading my work, then I will have done my job.
A few things you might want to know if you want to work with me:
- I work only with those who align with my principles: Integrity, Truth, Respect, Justice, Freedom.
- I do not subscribe to any one religion or culture.
- I am a proponent of global entrepreneurship.
- I am not afraid to speak truth to power.
- I will not be censored.
“I hope my achievements in life shall be these: that I will have fought for what was right and fair, that I will have risked for that which mattered, that I will have given help to those who were in need, that I will have left the earth a better place for what I’ve done and who I’ve been.”
Carl Thomas Hoppe