Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

About Me

I am a South African living in Germany. Having earned my living as a writer since leaving university, it still took a big leap of faith to start writing a novel. However, I had a burning urge and I was tired of reading crime fiction that centred on the mutilated bodies of beautiful young women. Surely a crime novel could be intriguing and thrilling without any women having to be naked and dead?

I started my project in 2008, signed with my agent Michaela Roell of the Eggers Agency, Berlin, in 2010 and signed a deal with a publisher in 2012. Tucked into those milestones were 14 full-book revisions – three with my agent, three with her co-agent in London and one with my publisher. I had learned how to write a novel by writing a novel. And still no women were naked and dead.

Balthasar’s Gift has been published by Argument Verlag mit Ariadne, a Hamburg publisher that focuses on crime fiction by women, as Balthasars Vermaechtnis. It is now also available as an e-book, published by Culturbooks. The English version will be published in June 2014 by South Africa’s Modjaji Books.

I blog here and take my coffee breaks on Twitter (@charlwrites). Please feel free to visit me at either and join in the conversation. I am working on the second book in the series – an eco-conspiracy called Karkloof Blue.

In my other life, I am a corporate hack, mother of three, reader, traveller, feminist and optimist. I am happily married to the love of my life.

Here are some things I love:

  • Reading in the bath
  • Mornings
  • Journeys to places new
  • Kissing my children
  • Chocolate for breakfast
  • Yoga, particularly the tree pose
  • Silence and being alone
  • Change
  • Where I am from
  • Where I am going

And here are some things I loathe:

  • Fundamentalism
  • The patriarchy
  • Victim mentality
  • Unsolicited advice
  • Hearing “you should”
  • 4pm
  • Being bored by people who lack the edit gene
  • Feeling trapped
  • Excess (though not of champagne)

42 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hi,
    I came across your blog while Googling instructions for making a Schultüte (ended up buying one — so much easier!). I had to laugh when I read your “10 things I find weird” list. (I’m sad that I don’t have a baby in the house anymore, but at least I no longer have to put up with busybody old women scolding me for my children being “underdressed.”) And I share your astonishment that religion is a school subject here. If any country would separate church and school, you’d think it would be Germany. But we’ve been through four religion teachers at four different schools by now, and our experience has been that they teach Bible stories and songs, not beliefs. (Well, one teacher was a little dogmatic, but our daughter knows not to take seriously anyone who warns against Harry Potter.) I’ll be thinking of you on Saturday when our youngest also starts 1st grade. (Incidentally, I blew off the Elternabend last night. I think 8 PM is an annoying time to start a parents’ meeting, and all the ones I’ve been to drag on foreeeeeeeever. Hope yours are more enjoyable.)

    Jennifer (near you in Heidelberg)

  2. Hi Charlotte,
    I have very much enjoy reading your blog. My wife (Doree) and I are contemplating the expat thing and you provide a window into that strange world. Thank you.

    Thomas’s Friend Mike

  3. thank you very much I am this “smelly” teenager from heidelberg.Does not matter maybe you send me an email

  4. Thank you very much for having such a great blog.

  5. Hi Charlotte,

    I am moving and starting my new job in Frankfurt in February. Are you living in Hessen region? I was hoping to find a reliable property agent, any recommendations?


  6. Hello

    I’ve just found you by following the links from Lesley at Peregrinations with the ‘I am from’ meme…

    I’m also South African…living in France…

    I loved your ‘I am from’ post and am moved to do my own.

  7. Hi Charlotte, I just spent another wonderful hour browsing your web – I have nominated you for a thinking blogger – BUT I SEE YOU ALREADY ARE!!! lol OH well I guess you are a double thinker now. Cheers Lynda

  8. Just came across your blog. Beautifully written and funny too!! Thanks for sharing your family and your thoughts.

  9. hi, you have done a great job, i gotta accept this,that you are a good have got a great send of using the words.i just want to know that how much time have you taken to write the whole thing?

  10. Hi again,
    I’m new to your blog and am looking forward to reading through more of it.
    I have a question about your randomizer: if you are hosted at, where did you find that widget? Was it custom-made? Can’t seem to find anything labeled as such in the widget box of the dashboard. Apologies for the tech-iness of this query.

  11. oh! I just saw you on Buzz Balls and Hype–! I was like, “oh! I know her!” Excellent question.

    I don’t have children, but I think I’m going to utilize Dr. Sue’s answer to do an assessment of my time management and goals.

  12. Sounds like a good life!

  13. Seasons Greetings from Singapore

    The bikeboy is linked to http://http//

    Please correct

    Cheers, Kishore.
    Still @ SAP 🙂

  14. We have lived in Germany for 2 years and it would be nice to see your list of favorite “Journeys to places new”

    Our best trips have been
    1) Neuschwanstein in all seasons
    2) To Bad Antogast ( )

  15. Dear Charlotte,

    I’m writing to draw your attention to a new online platform we have put together. Our President is Pierre Chappaz, co-founder of Kelkoo, and our name is ebuzzing.

    ebuzzing allows bloggers to earn money writing about things they actually like.

    You browse ad campaigns posted by advertisers, create blog content discussing the things you genuinely wish to highlight and are paid for each article.

    Of greater interest to more well-established and influential blogs such as yours, we also allow bloggers to define their own price-per-article and be approached directly by advertisers with bigger proposals, which you are, of course, free to take up or turn down.

    For information and to sign up please visit our site:
    And please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.

    Kind Regards,

    Dan Levy

    ebuzzing UK Community Manager

  16. Ah… didn’t mean to comment that… meant to email it. Do excuse me, and please delete if it bothers you!



  17. HI there..I found your website when I typed in “living in Germany and hating it.”
    Hmm..I guess you know a lot already…lol
    I came here to marry my sweet German husband…but as a US citizen I find this place restrictive, controlling, totalitarian. I won’t go on with that, because I DO have a lot of details but it will be so very negative…I can’t wait to get back to the thing this place made me understand and appreciate my own country so much more!
    Take care…

  18. I have only recently started blogging and I would like to thank you for your informative and fabulous blog! I came across your blog when, (due to my husband contemplating a move to the Vaterland), out of desperation I searched for ‘South African living in Germany’. I wanted to find out all I could about the day to day living in Germany but from a South African’s perspective and I thank you for giving me an insight into what may await us as a family.

  19. Greetings!
    I’m an 18 year old American girl who loves to travel and was fortunate enough to come across your blog. As someone who has lived abroad, I am greatly inspired by the way in which you examine the many cultural differences that exist in our small world. I was especially moved by one of your most recent posts, “A Cold Comfort”. While America’s problems are much different from South Africa’s, I feel strongly connected to the emotions you described: eternal love for your birth land, a native’s understanding of its potential, a deep sadness at its current state, and a knowledge that you can never go back. While it must have been painful to write, your words are greatly appreciated. Thank you.
    Incidentally, I have a very lovely, no-nonsense German boyfriend and will soon be travelling to Baden-Wurttemberg to meet his lovely, no-nonsense family. Your many anecdotes about the German way of life have kept me laughing, and I look forward to collecting some of my own!
    Thanks again and best of luck,

  20. Hi,
    I really appreciate what you have written about Half a Yellow Sun. I am leading a book discussion about it tonight, August 4, 2008 and it gave me a great perspective. You are very articulate. I will share your insights with my group of women -all over 60.

    I am a professional artist in the USA. I live in Pennsylvania. I have work on Myartspace as well as on my website.

    Again, great commentary on Half of a Yellow Sun. Now I will check what you have to say regularly.


  21. Hey there,

    I was looking around in technorati for travels and things to do in Germany and came across your blog.

    I’m living here for the next 6 months and I must say what you’ve written about Germany has given me a lot of ideas how to spend my time here.


  22. Dear Charlotte
    I think you’ve saved my life. I too am a South African and moved to Germany ten months ago, to Schwelm, a little dorp between Dusseldorp and Dortmund. The first 6 months were exciting and, as much as I’ve tried to ward it off, the last four has felt like being sucked into the thick wet clay of my garden soil. I’ll definately be a reader of your site. There’s so much there that resounds with me. Congratulations on your awards.
    I’m also hoping you could assist me: do you know of any other South Africans living in Germany who could possibly assist me with some gardening questions?

  23. been away from home friends become so very important.
    good job! keep up doing so.

  24. Charlotte,

    I am new to the world of blogging. I came across your blog under books and am so enthralled with your blog that I shall become a regular reader. I am now motivated to create my own blog. The issues with the potty training and just child rearing are to be treasured, as they soon will be grown. It seems like yesterday my boys were wearing diapers, yet thirty years has quickly passed.(now its jockeys and boxers I hope) Have a blessed day. You are very creative and a delight to read.

  25. Hi Charlotte. Your blog is fantastic, and I am enjoying it very much. One side of my family is German, the other South African (moved there from Germany after the war), so I have relatives in both countries and can relate to much of what you say. Of course, I also enjoy your anecdotes on motherhood, as I have two of my own. Please keep writing!

  26. Hello! I am researching German culture for an American TV show filming there in July. I’d love to chat with you. Could you please email me?

  27. Hi Charlotte,
    I am writing from a British production company and am producing a documentary about Lego for the BBC. I see from the SAP website that you were involved in an intiative with the First Lego League in Soweto. I would really like to talk to you about this as we are trying to find people all over the world who use and love Lego. I am on a bit of a tight deadline…so would be great to hear from you as soon as possible!

  28. I googled stay-at-home feminist and your blog came up. I enjoyed reading your post and getting to know you here.

  29. Hey Charlotte, Just found your blog – awesome!

  30. Suggestion: sign up at twitter so we can also follow you there. Sound bites of what you say on your blog will remind me to check it.
    Dani suggested I read your blog and I’m glad I did. I don’t need to wonder what to read, I just follow your suggestions.
    Best, Hils

  31. Hello, have just found your blog, am enjoying what I have read so far 🙂

  32. Hi Charlotte,
    I really enjoyed reading the 10 Things I Find Weird About Germany…it is so true and even I find some of these weird by now. I am German myself but have lived in Australia for the past 5 years. Sometimes I think I will experience a full on culture shock if I ever decide to move back. Anyhow, keep up the great work. I really enjoy reading your blog.
    Cheers from the Oz

  33. Charlotte,

    Love your page. We have a little book club in Piggs Peak, not very cerebral – anything goes (even the Monk and the Ferrari). Some only like non-fiction. Do you have a book list for 2010? Are you going to do one?

    Hope all well in Germany, sounds like you have a wonderful time there.

    Best regards

  34. Hi Charlotte,

    Thanks so much for including me in the list of writers’ blogs. I love your blog. Carole.

  35. Hi,

    I am contacting you from a leading online marketing company in London.

    I am looking for excellent quality websites such as yours to place adverts on, is this something you may be interested in?

    The placement of our adverts are contextually matched to the content on your webpage and therefore are relevant.

    We feel the positioning of your website will have excellent benefits for both parties involved.

    Please contact me if you are keen to discuss any partnerships with us or ask any questions and I will be happy to help.

    Kind Regards

  36. Hi Charlotte,
    Ran across your blog after reading your article on Expatica. Congrats on your best blog prize.
    I’ve been living in Munich for 18 years. Got a book up on Authonomy about a comical crime at the Oktoberfest. If you’re interested to read it, here is the link:
    Maybe I’ll look you up to get some editing help.

  37. You’ve twisted my thinking in a most creative way. Thank you.

  38. Hallo Charlotte,

    Super-nice Surprise to find your Blog on the Net. Compliments! So many things to read and look at her!

    Thank you!
    South-African greetings from Filderstadt (near Stuttgart)

  39. Charlotte – I’ve lost your email address – any chance you could get in touch. You offered me a place on a blog tour when Over the Hill came out, but I didn’t get myself organised (a step-daughter suddenly, dangerously ill and mother-in-law died, so keeping anything on the road was an achievement) so I’m hoping to get a tour going this time, even though Hidden Tiger is only a little ebook.
    Thanks, Jo

  40. Dear Charlotte,

    I found you and your beautiful site when I noted your exchange with Victoria in the Tainted Love string on Tales. If you’re interested, I’d be happy to send you a copy of The Obsession, either paper or ebook.



  41. Another feminist, crime fiction lover here 😀

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