Move over Harry Potter - we have our very own JK Rowling.
The fast-paced fantasy-adventure Mr Humperdinck's novels are written by Cape Town author and doctor Wynand Louw.
Louw, who is currently on the “awesome side of 50” was born in Melkbosstrand. “My beard is grey, so what did you think?” he joked.
He studied medicine at the University of Pretoria and specialised at the University of Stellenbosch (Tygerberg Hospital).
Louw said he felt blessed to be a otorhinolaryngologist or, “a professional nose picker” as he sometimes likes to call it.
Louw’s childhood was defined by the likes of authors Tolkien, Lewis, Leiber, Burroughs and Vance - “and a few more you probably haven’t heard of”. He had a natural flair for science and the arts and always believed the two went hand in hand, Louw said, “is there a difference?"
"No seriously, true science is creativity. I have no talent for music but people tell me that performing Mozart fires up the same areas of your brain as doing maths and I believe it,” he said.
Deciding the fate of your main character and drawing up hypotheses are very similar processes, according to Louw. “You cannot do science if you do not wonder about stuff, dream up hypotheses and then set out to prove them right or wrong. Similarly you cannot write a novel if you do not wonder what your hero will do next.
"You think, ‘If I let this happen to her, how will she survive?’ You form a hypothesis and then write to see if it is true or not. If it does not work, you try something else, until just the right chemistry happens,” he said. As for his medical career, Louw said the most rewarding aspect has been getting blood on his hands.
“Doing ear surgery must be the biggest kick one can get legally. I often wonder why everybody does not want to be an ear surgeon.”
For Louw writing is more of a guilty pleasure. “It’s something you indulge in when no one is looking.
"You lock your door, switch off your phone and just disappear. And when you re-enter society a few hours later, nobody has the faintest idea that you have been to far-off galaxies, slain dragons and rescued fair maidens in distress,” he said.
His wild imagination and knack for turning the mundane into the extraordinary is where his book inspiration stems from. “So I was driving into Cape Town one night, and there was this humongous dragon perched on the Naspers building on the Foreshore. If I were a photographer I would have taken an award-winning National Geographic picture.
"But I am not a photographer, I am a writer, so I write about things like that. Or sometimes bad things happen to you, and the grief tears your chest apart like those bugs in the Alien movie. If you are a singer you’d get drunk and sing about it. But if you are a writer, you just write about it.”
Mr Humperdinck’s is about Pete Smith, an ordinary boy with no special gifts. “He is not 'the chosen one'. He is not a hero. But when bad things happen he simply has to do stuff to survive, so he becomes the hero of his own story. Of course he has some help from some weird friends: a talking heap of garbage, a dwarf knight that rides on a giant chihuahua and a sorcerer's cat. And a best friend whose IQ is on the unnatural side of 200.
“So in the end he has to save the world from destruction by a megalomaniac evil wizard/businessman. Not once, but twice, because there are two books, and in order to become a true hero, you have to save the world at least once at the end of each of your books,” said Louw.
His passion for bringing fiction and fantasy to life has resulted in the creation of his own interactive game. Role- playing games involve participants assuming the role of a character, generally in a fantasy or science fiction setting, that can interact within the game’s imaginary world.
“I’m in the process of designing tabletop story games. That means you do not have to disappear to get your story-making kick. My first big project has been almost ready for publication since about a year ago.
"The only reason it has not been published yet is, well, life,” said Louw.