ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Storyteller at Heart
I currently live between homes in the San Francisco Bay Area and east of the Sierra Nevada with my two daughters, Kiara and Nicki and a mutt named Taz. Born Gillian August, I earned a Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno and my Masters in Counseling from Santa Clara University. My educational background has given me a deep understanding of the human psyche and a broad base from which to approach many topics. In 2001 I began working at Santa Clara University as Director, International Student Services and served in this role for over a decade. During that time, I wrote many college papers, business plans, departmental newsletters, and copious student materials. Writing a book has been on my bucket list for many years, and eventually with Dancing Past Thieves, it became a reality. I have long had a love for books and appreciate the profound impression stories leave on me and others. Over the years, I have rambled in journals with my personal writings but my more serious writing did not develop until after my husband, Deron Thorp unexpectedly passed away in 2006. I have a deep curiosity for life and consider myself a lover of all things human. These days, when I am not reading or writing you can find me gardening, singing badly (love music), raising my daughters to be women, and volunteering for various causes, particularly as it relates to women and children issues.
DANCING PAST THIEVES
COMING SUMMER 2020
I am currently working with WiDo/E.L. Marker Publishing on the release of Dancing Past Thieves, and can’t wait for you to read it. I will post an update as soon as it is ready for order. Dancing Past Thieves is a reclaimed narrative about a young South African girl (above) who, after her father’s mysterious death, must navigate the cruelty of Apartheid and the sinister secrets of her family to find her voice, and a new life, in America.
My father took his life when I was three years old, though I would not know that until many years later. The fact of his death was kept a secret for years — his disappearance was not to be mentioned, without question — but there was no denying that the reality of our family had fundamentally changed. What followed were years of personal upheaval, tumultuous even against the political revolution simmering around us: my siblings and I were sent to live on a remote farm; while my mother, giving birth to and then secretly adopting a child into the family; and an abusive stepfather entered our lives. Our abrupt escape to America was no less troubled, but it was on this strange new continent where I began a new chapter, finding profound love with an NFL player, whose tragic death left our young daughters fatherless, just as I had been. But it was also there where an unexpected public display of bravery changed my life’s trajectory, and I came to understand the depth of the human ability to find hope, redemption, forgiveness and the necessary tools to piece back together the fragments of our shattered selves.
My story is filled with vibrant characters: Uncle Nicki, a revolutionary exiled by the South African government; Granny, the bush knife-wielding granddaughter of a Zulu chief; Father, a Trollope-quoting Colored man with ivory white skin. It paints a vivid picture of the divisions Apartheid created within families, and how, decades later and thousands of miles away, its legacy continued to affect those who lived under it. My story touches topics central to today’s important conversations: sexual intimidation and domestic abuse; racism; immigration; even deadly concussion consequences of America’s most popular sport. It brings these timely issues to life with a deeply intimate first-person narrative.
"I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We've been taught that silence would save us, but it won't."