Celebrating East African Writing!
I started writing as soon as I learned how to write. I was always writing little stories to please my mother, many times, not finishing them. I thought that everyone did that, because my sisters and cousins also wrote stories. I just thought it was a normal thing. My first finished story was a semi autobiography that I started writing as a journal during my pregnancy 14 years ago and which I completed in 2007.
It was difficult to write but the people who have read it say it makes them laugh and cry at the same time which is all a writer really wants, isn’t it? My second finished piece of writing was the sequel to my published novel known as Child of Destiny. There is always some sort of story percolating in my head, and this one just wouldn’t go away. In fact, the whole story was laid out in my head before I began to write it down. It just took on a life of its own; before I knew it; two other books were sprouting out of me – the prequel, Between Death and Heaven which is out now, and the sequel, Child of Destiny; Marcus Devereaux which I’m still writing.
My day job as a research writer generally involves thought heavy and serious sometimes very boring work. So as comic relief, between writing about portability of water, I write stories. After I began Child of Destiny, I resolved two things; that I would finish what I started, and that I would write every single day, even if it was only one line, until it was done. Seeing as I really enjoy writing these stories, I would sometimes stay up writing until 4 or 5 in the morning without noticing the time! It took five months to finish the first 300 page novel, and two months to complete Between Death and Heaven which is a third of the size of the first novel. The third novel has been the slowest to complete mostly because of editing and balancing that with my day job.
I have come to realise that writing is my passion. I enjoy it. It is not work. I used to be a pharmaceutical technician, working long hours and resenting the hell out of it, mostly because it took me away from my son so much such that I felt like he was growing up without me. The average day for a pharm tech is 12 hours, less only if you’re very lucky. Now I’m doing 14 to 16 hour days, writing for work and for myself, but I still get to see my son as much as possible. I even get to see my relatives once in a while, join the family chama, attend family functions, and go on holiday with them. I never had the time before because I was always tied to the pharmacy, six days a week especially during holiday season. Of course I always have my laptop with me on these excursions but at least it’s flexible.
My book, Between Death and Heaven is a story about Phil and Lillian, a pair of lovers who die and find themselves negotiating an afterlife they never expected. It’s a semi serious look at what happens when we die. Sort of like Beetle Juice meets The Princess and the Frog. It’s basically a story about ghosts, and magic and the whole other world that exists out of sight of human eyes. It’s also a prequel to my next book, but is also a completely stand alone story that can be enjoyed on its own merit. It’s published by the CAN-DO! Company in digital format and therefore is available everywhere that ebooks can be bought including e-kitabu.
I would tell other writers the same thing Diana Gabaldon told me. The only way that you know that you are a writer is to keep going in spite of any obstacles that may be placed in your path. However many times your work is rejected; keep writing!