My debut novel, ‘Lords Over Kenia’ is a fictional book on an alternate history to the African colonisation tale. It features all of my favourites: war, politics, love, old garbs and queer characters.
But what I love most about it is the little bits of real history embedded in the story.
I wanted to tell a fictional story whose truths formed a strong and solid backbone. And in so doing tell an alternate story with equally important significance.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Without a doubt the editing. Horrors.
Why did you choose the subject or genre of your book?
1. Epic books don’t just have one hero or one evil guy, there’s a myriad of blurred heroes and anti-heroes and inbetweeners. There’s so many POV. The ancient times, rituals and ceremonies. There is just a whole bunch of recipes and ingredients that cook a story which is often simple.
2. Pour in the above pot the rich African, especially Kenyan cultures, and the potential for a blockbuster novel is overwhelming.
3. Spice it up with my like for historical events and figureheads, and you end up with Lords Over Kenia.
4. Serve while hot.
Do you resonate with any of your characters?
Sure. Part of writing is getting inspired by everything including me. Some characters definitely have aspects of my character. But I doubt one could recognise at the first go!
What are you working on next?
So I’ve started plotting the second volume of my debut novel’s series ‘Lords Over Kenia’.
I’m also keeping an eye out for willing and excellent authors who would want to come up with an anthology of short stories.
What do your fans mean to you?
Even though most writers (me included) wouldn’t mind a horde of fans, running for your autograph and chanting, ‘We love you! ‘, when you realise that there’s this one person who always cheers you on, it means the world! It inspires a writer to do better and bigger.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The hope that there’s a hot pot of freshly brewed coffee on the table!
The honest truth is it’s an inward drive to be a better person. To live right by my God and my country and family.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do! It was a horrible two pages of gruesome murder and mystery. I even forgot who my villain was meant to be!
Do you remember the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you?
The first novel I PROPERLY read was Mine Boy by Peter Abrahams about Apartheid South Africa. It made me appreciate African writers and the ending had me tugging at the heartstrings. It made it known that perfect endings were not always the case. (hint hint)
What is your writing process?
I don’t have one per se, but I’ll definitely model future books around my process for my debut novel.
I have the formulation, where I come up with the general story, then comes plotting where I really get into the story and create main characters. Sub-plotting would be next. That’s where I create all major and minor characters, break the story into chapters, break the chapters into plot points. Then I’d start writing, then revising and editing, then publish.
How do you approach cover design?
I’m the full indie author, so I do my own covers, from the photography to the design and editing.
Simplicity is a requirement for me and I don’t believe in telling the whole story on the cover, rather it should be the opening chapter of the book, revealing just enough for the reader to turn the page.
What do you read for pleasure?
Do comic books count?
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small estate called Fort Jesus in Nairobi, Kenya, but I don’t think it’s the where but how that’s important. I went through early life trauma that made me recline from life. The introvert in me made me less talkative and more observant. For an author, observation is critical. You take in a person’s or a location’s aura and this forms the basis of your characters and places. Staying in the same place also tends to grow your imaginations and fantasies.
If you could have one power?
Mind control. Muhahaha.
First published here
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