Helene Thomas (nee Mynhardt) was born on December 30, 1957, in Kliptown, Johannesburg. She is a Colored female who is married to Harold Thomas. They have two daughters, aged eighteen and twenty-one. Helene was employed at one of the major banks for a period of twenty-two years where she worked in various departments covering most of the departments in the bank. While she was employed in the bank she stumbled across a business opportunity. She requested her employer to provide her with this business opportunity to be part of their vendor management team. She was given a position on the panel on condition that she formed a partnership with an existing attorney to ensure that she was legally protected. She formed a partnership with two brothers who were both attorneys. She was given a 40% shareholding. At first the business was introduced on the panel to work on a certain portfolio only. Their business was not part of the panel. Their business performed well and soon she was placed on their normal panel where she challenged the existing panel. Numerous awards were given to their business where she was the managing director. She was on the panel of three major banks and one cellular service provider. She was in control of the entire business from on boarding to termination. She is a novice writer and this is her first attempt at writing.
Memoirs of a Play-White is part 1 of her trilogy biography. Her dogged determination, perseverance and entrepreneurial skills transformed her from a poverty stricken individual into a successful business woman. She successfully overcame preventative poverty barriers.
EXTRA CREDIT INTERVIEW WITH HELENE LOUIESA THOMAS (MYNHARDT):
Joining LitPick for an Extra Credit Interview is Helene Louiesa Thomas (Mynhardt). Her memoir series shows her determination and perseverance to break free from a life of poverty. Check out Memoirs of a Play-White and From Destitute to Plenitude.
“This is a story of heartbreak and sorrow and of getting through life’s difficulties.” -LitPick student book reviewer
Helene is currently working on the third book in the trilogy, and we are looking forward to its release.
***Do you have a solid outline before writing, or do you usually get ideas as you go along?
I gave a solid outline that I start off with, but often it changes direction as I start writing and elaborating.
***What do you do when you get writer’s block?
I don’t write until I get the urge because I’m employed full time and write part time.
***If you could live in a book’s world, which would you choose?
***What is your favorite book-to-movie adaptation?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
***If you could have lunch with one other author (dead or alive), who would it be?
***Please tell us a little about Book 3 in your memoir trilogy.
Book 3 of my trilogy will be giving the readers what they want. Requests from reviewers and readers indicate they were more interested in the personal lives of my immediate family. In this book I will be discussing my children’s education as well as their professions. For once our family will be able to escape the generational curse of racism. Reverse racism is happening in South Africa today, and I’m glad my children will not be subjected to any form of racism or reverse racism. My eldest daughter is studying in Europe to become a doctor while my youngest daughter is studying in the U.S to become an accountant. Both of them are expected to graduate when part 3 is released. This book promises to give a glimpse in the personal life of the entire Thomas family. The end will be positive.
Helene, thank you for joining us. We are excited about the newest installment of your memoir series.
SIX MINUTES WITH HELENE LOUIESA THOMAS (MYNHARDT):
Joining LitPick for Six Minutes with an Author is Helene Louiesa Thomas(Mynhardt), author of a memoir series about how she has gone from a life of poverty to becoming a successful businesswoman.
Memoirs of a Play-White has received the LitPick Top Choice Award. One student reviewer said, “I recommend this book to older teens and adults who enjoy reading about how events and history shape people's lives.”
Be sure to check out the animated review of this title.
***How did you get started writing?
We are South African citizens and my youngest daughter, Hayley, graduated from a high school in Santa Monica, California. During grade 12, one of her literature books was Master Harold and the Boys, written by a South African author, Athol Fugard. I was impressed with the way the class debated this book and had to write argumentative essays based on their viewpoints. This showed me that books can expand the viewpoints of different people, and I thought it would be a good idea to write my story to allow students to argue for and against points written in my book. This would widen their horizons and allow them to become critical thinkers.
***When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
Writing had been my lifelong dream. When I was 12 years old, I wrote a hand-written suspense novel based on the James Hadley Chase books I was reading at the time. I gave the book to my mother and she was impressed. She encouraged me to take it to the local publishers. I took it to Naspers Publishers. The person who interviewed me asked me whether the transcript was edited, and I told them I had no idea what that was. She explained to me someone needed to look for grammatical and spelling errors. That person is called an editor. They do not accept hand written transcripts: I will have to get someone to type it. I told them that typewriters were expensive and I could not afford to pay for an editor or a typist. I abandoned the idea and promised myself that I would pursue my passion one day when I was in a better financial position. I feel that the time is right, and I am blessed to relay my life experiences.
***Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom.
***What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Becoming an author in today’s modern world is affordable and there are loads of editors at reasonable prices. Live your passion and let your story be known. Remember when publishers decline your work it is not the end of the world. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. My work was declined, but it turned out better because now I am not giving away most of my proceeds to a big publisher. Small to medium publishers look after the author’s interest. I am truly blessed to have found a publisher who cared more about publishing my work than their profits.
***Where is your favorite place to write?
The lighting in my office is very good, and the desktop is modern compared to my home computer. Therefore, I prefer writing in my office. I purchased a laptop and recently have been writing in my study at home.
***What else would you like to tell us?
My book is written in simple English. My aim is to reach and inspire the masses, while enlightening and educating them about the history of apartheid from a Colored woman’s perspective. The sequel to my first book is intended to be educational, especially to the South African consumer as well as the rest of the world. People are warned about debt traps and advised how to escape these. The final part of my trilogy is to show how my children were fortunate enough to escape the generational curse of apartheid, which is haunting South Africa to this day in the form of reverse apartheid.
Helene, thank you for joining us and for sharing more about yourself and your journey. We love that your books are personal, educational, and a platform for great discussions.