Why do you write and other questions I can’t answer with a straight face

It’s a Tuesday and I am preparing my third cup of tea as I write this. No, I just poured water into an electric kettle and switched it on- the tea will come as a result of dipping a teabag into the hot water for a few seconds and adding sugar to it.

I’m a Writer. I write.

I have my days and in saying so I mean days when I am excited about writing and can write continuously and then those days when the sight of a blank page makes me want to curse my ancestors.

It’s been three weeks since I published and received copies of my latest work, Sifuna, and with this there have been questions that I’ll admit I never answered with a straight face, not because they were neither funny nor annoying, rather, they were questions I didn’t expect to hear.

First things first, have you seen the cover I designed for Sifuna?

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I’ve received positive reviews so far and I am glad that I got to print copies here in Kenya and with this it’s easier to order copies and ensure readers in the country get first access. I’m yet to liaise with bookstores to expand distribution and this thought takes me right into the questions I’ve been asked so far:

Why Sifuna?

Em…I like the symbolism in the name Sifuna. It’s a name given to a male child among the Luhya community, and it means “harvest.”

Which bookstore has copies of your book?

None so far.

Why? How do you expect readers to get your book?

I am more open to having readers contact me to get a book, like you did, is there a bookstore you would recommend that I could approach and engage in discussion on marketing and distribution of my book?

How much is a copy?

Kshs 700, this includes delivery charges via Easy Coach courier services.

Why do you write?

I wish I had a definite answer, it would satisfy you, when I’m specific however, with writing, nothing is cast in stone, except for the fact that writers write and that’s it. Sometimes I do it for the power, because hey, I can kill a character using words, embedding them in a story or I could draft my Ex like a drunk, piece of chair, a urinal…in a story, who knows? It’s very satisfying, that kind of power, it’s like being high…does that answer your question?

When’s your next book coming out?

Whenever it is ready.

What will it be about? This one is political and stuff, what of the next?

I don’t know, it will be what it is…a story, and whoever reads it can choose to assign it to the genre they feel is most appropriate for them.

Wow! You must be rich! How much money have you made so far?

I’m rich, I mean, I sat down and wrote over forty thousand words- trimmed it to what you have in Sifuna, so yes, I am a notch above today.

What advice would you give to an aspiring Writer?

The difference between an aspiring writer and a writer is action. Write and write and read as widely as you can.

Do you think Kenyans love to read?

It’s 2019, are we still asking this question? Okay…no worries, let me try and put it this way, I’m a Kenyan and I love to read…so when you choose to ask about “Kenyans” that leaves more than forty million plus people and yes, Kenyans love to read the question is what do they love to read and how do they consume the content they read? Now, those are questions that can keep us here for years.

I just finished reading Sifuna- and Baoya’s a fool, like how did you even think of someone like him? How can someone be so naive?

Great! I’m glad you finished reading Sifuna. Well, you talk of two things being a fool and being naive. The two may share a fence but they are not the same. Baoya’s naivety creates room for Sifuna’s callousness to announce itself…and there are people like both Baoya and Sifuna, have you looked around?


I’ve had two cups of tea already, I’ll go to bed now and start brooding over the next story.

Have a wonderful week!

PS: I’m into 40,000 words for NanoWrimo this week and my mind’s a mess.

 

 

Like a time stamp in your heart

My mentor sessions have resumed and I am taking a break from a meeting at work to share this.
Last year was remarkable for me, I published books that people actually read and felt compelled or moved by them so much so that some called me to discuss what the book did to them. I mean, for any writer or Creator to simply have that kind of feedback is a great accomplishment.

And what next?

My mentor asked me what I had in mind this year after publishing the  books and he started with three questions that I believe every young writer who is breaking into print needs to ask themselves.

1. Why do you write?
2.  What do you expect to achieve out of publishing?
3. How will you go about achieving or realizing 1 and 2?

The Currents Series saw three books released via Amazon Kindle last year. I have not made record sales because I am more into the writing and have done nothing much to market the books or make then available for purchase here in Kenya. It all comes down to shipment costs versus distribution here and I will admit I suck at it.
It’s exactly where I would love to start on this year. If my desire is to be vastly read then I have to vastly distribute my books and that is what I am working on and it does not help that my mentor is into Business Administration. I am taking a crash course in how to market and sell and he’s not giving me a break or allowing me to doubt myself.  I am grateful for that.

The three questions all mean something to me because for years I have approached publishers only to hear that am not what they want.
It’s always more like can you write this for us first then we can talk?

For a creative do you know what it’s like to be put in a production line?

I will tell you it kills you inside. You produce to please and you are rewarded with money, but a part of you dies every time you numb your inner voice for cash and fame.

So, I will tackle the first question and it may come off as Romanticism but whichever way you take it, this is where I stand when it comes to writing:

I write books so they live long after I am gone. It would wound me to my core to have a reader pick my book only to forget it after they’ve closed the last page. I write so these words crawl up your spine, delve into your veins and stick on you like a memory too real and alive to be ignored or forgotten. I would not want my stories to fade like magazines, each issue is quickly forgotten the moment it hit the shelves as the next one is being produced. I write to live long after these fingers and this brain are unaware of the music of my soul.