Martin Hatchuel is the lucky winner of the Rates Survey Lucky Draw and wins one year’s free membership to Safrea. He is a writer of fiction and non-fiction, specialising in conservation, landscape rehabilitation, horticulture, tourism, general business, personal biographer, case studies, and academic language editing.
Describe yourself in two sentences.
I’m 63 and a half. Paunchy and balding.
Please tell us more about what you do and how long you’ve been a freelancer.
I qualified as a horticulturist in the 80s, spent many years as a nature guide (birding, etc.), and then began to write for the tourism industry around the turn of the Millennium. I carried on until the Knysna Fires of 2017. After that – which hit tourism in Knysna very hard – I returned part-time to horticulture, managing the rehabilitation of the veld at Featherbed Nature Reserve. But I continued writing.
I have written two books of literary fiction, two children’s books (one published: ‘It’s a Pity I didn’t Bring any Swords’ – https://bit.ly/SwordsNovel), and dozens of short stories for both children and adults in my bottom drawer, and I now earn at last part of my living writing for clients. Subjects include local economic development, the environment, and, well, whatever I can get.
And I’m still working (part-time) as a rehabilitation horticulturist. And, of course, I’m writing a (second) film script, too. And there’s another kid’s book on the way.
What does a day in your life look like?
On average, I clock more than 8 hours a day of screen time (on days when I’m not working in the veld). I’m a walker, preferably on the beach at Buffalo Bay, and usually when I take my grandson there so he can surf. I no longer surf, I’m afraid. Back op.
Where/how do you find inspiration?
I have no idea. But I do know that it only comes when I actually sit down to write. Which I do, daily.
What advice do you have for other freelancers?
Study business. Or law. Or medicine. Go into that.
How long have you been a Safrean, and why are you a member of Safrea?
I was a Safrean for a few years some time ago but had to give up my membership when my finances collapsed after a family tragedy. I decided to re-join only this year. It’s nice to know there are others out there doing what I do. Hopefully they’re making it work for them.
What is your work/life motto?