Author Interview – Karabo Mashaphu

Today at Self-Publishing Africa (SPA) we are joined by Karabo Edward Mashaphu (KM). He started writing at a tender age of 14, influenced by Hip-Hop at age 11 as a rap artist, by being able to master rap lyrics from A-Z, executing them precisely with few default, this inspired him to start writing his own lyrics when he was 14. That was basically when his writing journey started. writing lyrics also influenced him to record rap songs to an extent of releasing his own Hip-Hop mix-tape which was self-released in 2010 titled “Esoteric”, containing songs which were recorded from 2008-2009.

In the year 2011 he decided to discontinue with music as he had to focus on his studies. He might have stopped recording but he continued to write lyrics and embarked on a journey to elevate his writing skills to another level by being a poet. This activated his mind into turning his writing abilities into becoming the author that he is today. Karabo strongly believes his words are intelligent and educational enough to awaken mankind.

He thus continuously aspires to expand people’s consciousness and enlighten them about the depth of life as well as by transcending human knowledge.

Karabo believes his words are not only to be kept to himself after writing, but to be spread to many people as possible. He also believes his words of wisdom should be spread globally, that he came into this world with a purpose and one of his purpose is to share his knowledge embedded in his writing with mankind around the globe.

He further mentions that he is not here to motivate anyone, but here to enhance knowledge and enlighten people by sharing his thoughts with everyone who has access to his writing. He explores the endless depths of existence beyond illusions, deceptions and over the veils of ignorance.

(SPA) Welcome Karabo, and thank you for spending time with use at Self-Publishing Africa.

(KM) Thanks to Self-Publishing Africa for giving me the opportunity to be interviewed, I am very much pleased.

(SPA) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?

(KM) Born and bred in Pretoria, went to an Afrikaans Primary School called Laerskool Nellie Swart for 7 Years. I only changed to English when I got to High-School (Hoërskool Hendrik Verwoerd).

I furthered my studies right after matric at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) where I obtained my Diploma in Entertainment Technology.

I basically started writing at the age of 14, however I started off as a lyricist, grew up being heavily obsessed and influenced by Rap and Hip Hop music. So that is where I got my inspiration from, I changed from being a lyricist into becoming a poet and that’s how I managed to publish my first anthology book in 2013; from being a poet to becoming the author I am today.

(SPA) Where do you get your ideas from?

(KM) Anything I write pops into my mind out of nowhere, I believe and know these ideas come from the way I observe and analyse the world. I am a very inquisitive person and very observant and started becoming very obsessed about gaining knowledge when I was 16. That was when I actually started watching documentaries, I must say while my friends were talking about watching movies and collecting movies; my obsession was to gain knowledge and collect documentaries.

I have literally watched more than 200 documentaries. There is also a possibility that I have watched more than 300. I would say they also had an influence on how I view the world. I would not say my writing ideas also come from there, regardless of the influence they had on me. However I would say documentaries I have watched actually confirmed things I know about, some I have never experienced but somehow know. It’s like I have once lived many years ago before and came back as a new born. I believe and feel I am an old soul. Because of my lifestyle, how I view the world, write and how my decisions are initiated.

So as a result, in terms of writing; my mind tells me what to write just like a leaner during an exam given an essay to write and just like musicians writing lyrics they make up. I am very obsessed about knowledge and wisdom. One of the ways to captivate me, is to feed me with knowledge when talking. In a book I wrote in 2015, I have stated that: “Knowledge is fascinating in puts a smile on my face, for I crave it like a nymphomaniac craving the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge”.

(SPA) Why do you write?

(KM) I write to spark and instill knowledge in peoples mind, wisdom too if possible. I write about daily situations which take place. However, we as people do not always pay special attention to, events and situations which should trigger our minds; to think profoundly and expand our consciousness so that we can comprehend life in a deeper sense and for what it really is. Being able to interpret the smallest of signals life is sending. I write to teach readers to be open-minded and never ignore their intuition, for I believe it is a message that the universe is sending.

I deeply believe and feel that one of the reasons I was brought into this world was to influence and make a positive difference in people’s lives through my words. I give life to words; I basically give birth to words that trigger certain neurons in people’s minds to think profoundly and expand their way of thinking. The knowledge and wisdom in my words is very powerful. My words should be like the undying music that is never forgotten even after millennium years, people should quote me and my work should spread and known globally and God willingly, I will not rest till I get there or achieve that goal.

(SPA) What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?

(KM) It is very unique, only few people write about concepts I write about, especially South African writers. I write about life, brainwash, indoctrination, propaganda, extra-terrestrials and so forth. It’s weird I know. I write about spirituality, ancestors and God, not only because I taught about some of the things, but because I have experienced those things and have seen them. They are based on personal experiences, some are encrypted, instilled and deeply rooted in my DNA and my soul. I discover, unravel or decipher them gradually as I grow up.

(SPA) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?

(KM) I take them as they come; they are actually a learning curve for me. I actually prefer to be criticized, I take it as constructive criticism as it’s a way for me to grow and improve. I believe there is always something to learn from everyone and always a room for improvement.

(SPA) Karabo, you surely have developed in your writing. Have you published yet? What are you busy with now in terms of writing?

(KM) Yes, I have self-published six books, but I am currently not publishing anything new because I have documentation of scrolls I haven’t published. Once a writer, always a writer and its obvious I still emancipate my thoughts on paper. Writers’ blogs might be there, but I still continue to write and if there is nothing to write about, I never force it. I believe my ideas come when they should.

The Titles of my books are:

  • Formation Of Poetic Rap (2013)
  • The Mind Is A Powerful Weapon (2013)
  • Manifestation Of Esoteric Perceptions (2014)
  • Enlightenment (2015)
  • Gateway To Infinite Wisdom (2016)
  • Exposed (2017)

(SPA) What do you find difficult about book writing?

(KM) Writing continually. I don’t know if I make sense.

(SPA) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

(KM) Self-publishing has no boundaries, you can publish in which ever manner you want but has more work because you have to pay the editor, designer of your book, printers with your own money where in traditional publishing, all you have to do is submit your manuscript and if you meet the requirements and write how they instruct you, you get published.

(SPA) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

(KM) To chase their dreams, be passionate, read and write more. Never wait for a publisher or people to find them but rather chase their dreams and goals of writing. People who are meant to help you, will eventually find you. What is meant to be will always be.

(SPA) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?

(KM) To advance my marketing skills and interact with more writers and attend book workshops.

(SPA) Who is your favourite author and why?

(KM) I would not say I have a favourite author but rather say I have favourite authors, namely:

  • -Jordan Maxwell
  • -Credo Vusamazulu Mutwa
  • -Manly P. Hall

These people write more or less similar things I write about, I am not saying I have read all of their books, but I have paged through some of their books in books stores and I have mostly read intriguing articles they have written.

(SPA) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?

(KM) I do not book reviews at all.

(SPA) Which email lists are you subscribed to?

(KM) None.

(SPA) How do you interact with other authors? Are you a member of a book club?

(KM) I intact with most authors through Facebook, only met up with a few and have not met most of them in person. I was once part of a book club for a short while but couldn’t attend more often because I was too busy with life, it was in Pretoria and because of work I spent most of my time in Johannesburg.

(SPA) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?

(KM) That they should read books based on what they like to read about, for that will make it much easier to fall in love with reading , rather than reading a book you have no idea what it is talking about, that will eventually make you despise reading or discontinue reading.

Reading a book is like watching a TV programme, if you do not like the show; you will not continue watching, but if you like or love what you are watching you will continue. The same rule applies when reading a book or if you want to develop a habit of reading.

(SPA) What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?

(KM) Listening to music and watching music videos, well preferably Hip-Hop music and coming to my full-time job, I am someone who works in the television Industry, well professionally behind the scene. I have worked for 7de Laan, freelanced with Generations The Legacy, worked on a Telenovela/ Drama known as Keeping Score which is currently playing on SABC 2, worked for Amped Africa which will be soon broadcasted on one of the SABC channels,. I have also worked for one of the shows that was playing on Vuzu TV but it’s best if I don’t mention the name for confidentiality purposes. I have also shot music videos with few industry giants and I am currently working elsewhere but I would like to keep it confidential. I do not always want people to know everything about my whereabouts.

I do not own any pets, but once owned 2 birds when I was 6 years of age, which eventually died and I was extremely devastated, so one day when I have my own house I will definitely have birds in my house.

(SPA) Let’s talk about Karabo the man! Give us a bit of your social and family life.

(KM) I am very much antisocial, but prefer to socialise with few friends and spend more time with family for it is everything. I am also extremely obsessed about music and preferably Hip Hop music, I spend most of my time listening to music more than anything.

(SPA) Any final word for our followers?

(KM) Follow your dreams, don’t be deceived and succumb to anyone, train yourself to be a critical thinker, empower yourself, seek knowledge and wisdom, become very observant and be analytical, there is a lot to learn from everyone and especially reality itself. Love what you do. Break rules which imprison you from your own happiness if possible. Writing is a powerful tool utilize it to become successful.

(SPA) Many thanks for this interview, Karabo. Good luck with your writing.

(KM) My sincere gratitude, it been a pleasure to be interviewed by self-publishing Africa.

Karabo Mashaphu Links and Contacts

Author Interview – Isaac Tlaka

Today at Self-Publishing Africa (SPA) we are joined by Isaac Tlaka (IT) a Isaac Tlaka is a full time writer. He was born and raised in Limpopo Province South Africa. He began school at Hlabje Primary School and progressed with his secondary education at Ponti Secondary School, where he completed Grade 10 and went to Matshumane Secondary School, where he acquired his Grade 12.

(SPA) Welcome Isaac, and thank you for spending time with use at Self-Publishing Africa.

(IT) Thanks a lot.

(SPA) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?

(IT) I discovered myself artistically when I began writing poetry and pieces of self expression. I was also chosen as a hip hop commentator on SK FM, which is community Radio Station. The name of the show was Trailblazer, on which I frequently shared my insight regarding Hip Hop Culture.

(SPA) Where do you get your ideas from?

(IT) I get my ideas from what I observe from the society. Even my personal experiences contribute to my writing.

(SPA) Why do you write?

(IT) I write to spread positive message, to motivate and plant hope to each and every spiritually fractured one. In my writing I try by all means to positively change people’s attitude towards life.

(SPA) What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?

(IT) Most of the people are fond of reading fiction.

(SPA) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?

(IT) Haha… those are the things that grows me as a writer. The more I get rejected and criticized is the more I improve my writing.

(SPA) Isaac, you surely have developed in your writing. Have you published yet? What are you busy with now in terms of writing?

(IT) I have published my short inspirational novel titled, The Spirit of the Optimist. And I have finished writing a full length novel, which I will surely publish it as my second book. At the moment I am busy writing my third novel.

(SPA) What do you find difficult about book writing?

(IT) The only thing I find difficult about book writing is plotting the story.

(SPA) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

(IT) On self-publishing diligence is required in order to make your book sell. Traditional publishers have their way of selling your book and leave you with a chance to write another book without your focus divided. Therefore, I find traditional publishing better

(SPA) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

(IT) I would like to advice aspiring writers to read a lot. They don’t have to work hard, trying to sound like these successful authors. I encourage them to be original and use their own voices.

(SPA) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?

(IT) Writing is never a waste of time. Write, write and write.

(SPA) Who is your favourite author and why?

(IT) Ayi Kwei Armah remains my favourite author. I like the manner in which he unfolds his stories. He is good at touching social issues. My fist is always up for his two early novels titled, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born and Fragments.

(SPA) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?

(IT) No, not yet.

(SPA) Which email lists are you subscribed to?

(IT)  None

(SPA) How do you interact with other authors? Are you a member of a book club?

(IT) Through Facebook and Whattsap. No, I am not member of any book club.

(SPA) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?

(IT) General fiction.

(SPA) What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?

(IT) I visit high schools and deliver motivation to students. I also help students who are interested to writing novels on how to plot them. One of my hobbies is to saunter around the nearest river.

(SPA) Let’s talk about Isaac the man! Give us a bit of your social and family life.

(IT) If I’m not writing I spent most of my time reading and researching about what I write about.  Haha… I’m still living under my parents’ roof.

(SPA) Any final word for our followers?

(IT) Chase your dreams and live your life to the fullest. Forget not life without hope is equated with death in disguise.

(SPA) Many thanks for this interview, Isaac. Good luck with your writing.

(IT) Let me say thanks to you for hosting me. I’m humbled.

Isaac Tlaka Links and Contacts

Author Interview – Nehemiah Chipato

Today at Self-Publishing Africa (SPA) we are joined by Nehemiah Chipato (NC) is a philanthropist at Joyland youth reformers and Joyland reformers, he is an author of four Christian books; Spiritual diagnosis, Prayer zones and Time Zones , Nuggets of Fasting , Richman Therapy , Power and Time Prescription. He is a motivational speaker and coach of direct prayers.

(SPA) Welcome Nehemiah, and thank you for spending time with use at Self-Publishing Africa.

(NC) Thank you.

(SPA) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?

(NC) I am Nehemiah Chipato a single man aged 32 . I was born in 1984 , 16 December in Chiredzi, Lowveld, Zimbabwe, coming from Masvingo. I am a Christian author of the following books; Spiritual diagnosis of sickness and diseases , Prayer Zones and Time Zones , Nuggets of fasting , Richman Therapy ,Power and Time prescriptions. I am a philanthropist who is the founder and visionary of Joyland reformers and Joyland youth reformers .I am a motivational speaker, Advisor, coach of direct prayers and former Miracletv 24 prayer line call centre representative.

(SPA) Where do you get your ideas from?

(NC) Most of my ideas are inspired by the Holy Spirit and the Bible which I use as a reference point and expression of these ideas. The titles are derived from scriptures where the inspiration of the message is coming from.

(SPA) Why do you write?

(NC) My greatest thoughts was that if there was going to be reformation, transformation, inspiration in the kingdom of God, I had to make it through writing. I write books because of great persuasion of need to reform, transform, inform, rebuild people lives .I feel if there is a need to inform people in writing, I must take initiative. My idea of success in writing is how I can stay home and write many books and transform nations.

(SPA) What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?

(NC) The most appealing about this genre is the practical mysteries hidden on the word of God which have a direct impact on people lives which need to be addressed.

(SPA) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?

(NC) My protocol of responding to the rejection and criticism is to come up with better writing resolutions if there is a need to do that.

(SPA) Nehemiah, you surely have developed in your writing. Have you published yet? What are you busy with now in terms of writing?

(NC) My quest in writing is how I can reach target of publishing at least four books per month and drawing marketing plan strategies.

(SPA) What do you find difficult about book writing?

(NC) Book editors who are committed to produce quality in terms of editing at lower charges

(SPA) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

(NC) My opinion on self-publishing is to try to make simple format for a market plan and use your circle of influence to market the books.

(SPA) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

(NC) My tangible advice that I can give to aspiring writer starts writing the thick volume produce at least 32 page book and later will be able to produce bigger volumes.

(SPA) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?

(NC) I could discern what God has packaged in every moment of my 12 months time and set up goals that are distinctively to my writing settings.

(SPA) Who is your favorite author and why?

(NC) Prophet Uebert Angel is my favorite author on his books prayer banks, get rich schemes etc. The major reasons is how he managed to explore rich points from the bible into transforming lives, displaying wisdom in writing and simplicity in tiling easily his points and understandable.

(SPA) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?

(NC) Not yet.

(SPA) Which email lists are you subscribed to?

(NC) None.

(SPA) How do you interact with other authors? Are you a member of a book club?

(NC) Through Facebook, twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp.

(SPA) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?

(NC) Motivational books.

(SPA) What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?

(NC) My full-time job running my charity organisation Joyland reformers and my hobby researching.

(SPA) Let’s talk about Nehemiah the men! Give us a bit of your social and family life.

(NC) Half of my life I spend it looking for the life opportunities and learning. I don’t have a family looking forward to have it.

(SPA) Any final word for our followers?

(NC) Use your time wisely this is the only gift that God gave you and me in exchange with whatsoever He promised us

(SPA) Many thanks for this interview, Nehemiah. Good luck with your writing.

(NC) My pleasure.

Nehemiah Chipato Links and Contacts

Author Interview – Luka Mwango

Today at Self-Publishing Africa (SPA) we are joined by Luka Mwango (LM) a prolific poet, signed to Bittersweet Poetry Zambia, the author of Twisted and Perdition, and a novice screen-writer.

His breakthrough poem, “Dear Future Wife” peaked at #1 on indie South African music site, Bozza.mobi and was featured on the first ever African poetry Mixtape.

Luka enjoys psychology, philosophy, science, Hip Hop and words. He describes himself as a dynamic mix of idealism and realism. He is a professing Christian who strives to show with his art how faith and belief play out in a social context. 

(SPA) Welcome Luka, and thank you for spending time with use at Self-Publishing Africa.

(LM) Thank you for having me.

(SPA) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?

(LM) I’m a Zambian writer. Born in Zambia, never really left it save for a few minutes I hopped over into Zimbabwe as a kid. I love storytelling, and I’ve been a passionate conduit for stories ever since I learnt how to talk.

(SPA) Where do you get your ideas from?

(LM) Everywhere, I believe there is a story in everything. But since my go to genres when writing are psychological thrillers and drama, I often find the intellectual plots of my stories from loopholes—scientific, social, moral or religious. I love to showcase the exploitations of loopholes and their dangers there within. And for the emotional or humanity plots I explore relationships, often broken relationships.

(SPA) Why do you write?

(LM) To be honest, writing picked me rather than I picked it. I love writing, I really do, but it’s not merely love that gets me at that table slaving to finish off a manuscript. It’s a little more than that, it’s obsession, or maddening sense of mission, purpose…destiny.

(SPA) What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?

(LM) I think thrillers have the best of both worlds. The intensity of the physical action and the emotion and fieriness of the dramatization. There is enough leg-room to cross genres or add a feel of another genre.

(SPA) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?

(LM) I think there is something you can draw out of a bad review (the ones written in good faith and not malice) if you approach it very objectively and not as a sensitive writer who is attached to his/her writing. It’s hard for all of us, obviously, but there some nuggets of advice if you look into it.

(SPA) Luka, you surely have developed in your writing. Have you published yet? What are you busy with now in terms of writing?

(LM) Yes, I have. I’ve got two books, one a short novella, Twisted and the other a full-length novel, Perdition. I’m working on my third book called Incandesce.

(SPA) What do you find difficult about book writing?

(LM) Everything. The plotting, crafting of characters, working on themes and action sequences. Writing is hard, but it is also lots of fun, and in the long run, fulfilling and rewarding.

(SPA) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

(LM) I think traditional publishing has lost most of its relevance and appeal with the spread and boom of the internet and the eBook. No longer are traditional publishers the gate-keepers, many brilliant writers who would never have had the chance to see their works in the hands of readers twenty years ago now have the chance. It’s an exciting time to be alive. However, that being said, since the curating and sieving is very loose, in some instance, non-existent, a lot of pathetic manuscripts are floating around. And you now have to do a lot more as a writer to get noticed. To be heard through the noise.

(SPA) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

(LM) Read a lot and write a lot. That’s the only way to improve your writing. Try as well to read material on the business end of the publishing industry. As well as books on branding as a writer.

(SPA) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?

(LM) A lot. Mostly to do with the business end of self-publishing. There was a lot I was naïve about. But I guess you live and you learn.

(SPA) Who is your favorite author and why?

(LM) I have a lot and would be taxed to find one. However, I can say the one that has most influenced my writing and my perceptions about writing is Robert Ludlum.

(SPA) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?

(LM) I don’t really do book reviews save for oral reviews when I’m recommending a book to a friend.

(SPA) Which email lists are you subscribed to?

(LM) Too many to mention.

(SPA) How do you interact with other authors? Are you a member of a book club?

(LM) Yes, I’m a member of a local book club in Lusaka, Zambia. We constantly sharpen each other and our works with our monthly meetings.

(SPA) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?

(LM) Psychological thrillers.

(SPA) What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?

(LM) I perform often. Spoken word performances. I’m also a freelance writer. Apart from that I spend most of my time writing or doing activities to one day grant me the opportunity to do this as a full-time thing. I was also in University the past 5 years.

(SPA) Let’s talk about Luka the man! Give us a bit of your social and family life.

(LM) Social life, yikes. Mostly entertainment shows, in which I’m there under the capacity of performer. I was a workaholic, trying to wean myself off that vice. As for family life—I’m not married if that’s what you asking. I’ve got a large family. About 11 biological siblings and at least 3 step-siblings. So I’ve got a lot of family.

(SPA) Any final word for our followers?

(LM) Thanks for your support. I really appreciate it. Stay tuned, more is coming. The very best you guys.

(SPA) Many thanks for this interview, Luka. Good luck with your writing.

(LM) Thank you.

Luka Mwango Links and Contacts

Author Interview – Shamiso Patience Mbiriri

Today at Self-Publishing Africa we are joined by Shamiso Patience Mbiriri (SPM) a budding Zimbabwean author, IT student and musician.

(SPA) Welcome Shamiso, and thank you for spending time with use at Self-Publishing Africa.

(SPM) Thank you for having me. The pleasure is all mine.

(SPA) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?

(SPM) I am a 24 year old lady. A Solusi University student who is in her final year of studying ‘Computer and Management Information Systems.’

(SPA) Where do you get your ideas from?

(SPM) Basically everywhere. I do not limit or confine myself to one source. Everything literally speaks to me: be it nature, toddlers, grownups, musicians, fellow authors, etcetera.

(SPA) Why do you write?

(SPM) I write to mainly give hope to the hopeless and inspire those lacking motivation. It’s funny how I find comfort in writing before making an impact in the next person’s life.

I grew up as a passionate public speaker and musician. Writing is something I never envisioned but at some point in my life I was riddled by countless calamities and I found solace in putting ink to paper. Since then, I never turned back and I cannot take credit for the guts it took to get my work published. I owe it to friends and family whose encouragement and support are greatly treasured.

(SPA) What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?

(SPM) Motivational books are generally described as self-help books.  I believe that any good motivational book does not only help the reader but first appeals to the author.

To add on, motivational writing allows the flexibility to relate personal experiences and this makes it easier for the reader to relate to the author’s work.

(SPA) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?

(SPM) I have learnt to accept those as a reflection of where I need to clean up. They have also helped me not to be rigid to my own perception but rather be open and comfortable to see my work through someone else’s eyes.

(SPA) Shamiso, you surely have developed in your writing. Have you published yet? What are you busy with now in terms of writing?

(SPM) I have published my first book, “Not How But Who!”. I am working on two other books and at the same time, working on my music album.

(SPA) What do you find difficult about book writing?

(SPM) Book writing is not a stroll in the park like you alluded to. To me the greatest challenge is trying to put myself in my reader’s shoes and wonder if they will get what I will be trying to say. At the end of the day I do not want to only make sense to myself.

I might understand what I will be writing, the question I then ask myself is, “will the reader understand this?”

(SPA) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

(SPM) I believe both work depending on how experienced you are in the field.

It would make sense for an established author to choose self-publishing over traditional publishing. They have the name in the market and people know who they are. Their experience is an added bonus because they now know the industry better. I am a fan of self-publishing because it does not tone down the author and gives them the liberty to do things the way they want to. It is cheaper compared to traditional publishing.

This is different from budding authors. One of the questions I have gotten used to (before someone gets a hold of the book) is, “Who published it?” Nobody knows their work and it puts them (budding authors) in a better position if a publishing house is attached to their work. Besides, that professional hand and guide is needed to produce better quality and help the author as they build a stronger brand.

(SPA) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

(SPM) It is said that, “where there is a will, there is a way” and I believe it is true. In my experience so far, your motive is either your source of strength or weakness. This is a tough industry that may or may not be as paying as some may think. Be pushed by the need to touch lives and make a difference.

(SPA) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?

(SPM) Stop the pity parties and do something with your life. You haven’t failed as yet but your life just hasn’t gone the way you have planned. Endure that pain and tears, they could be someone else’s source of strength.

(SPA) Who is your favorite author and why?

(SPM) Glenn Coon and Mariama Ba. Their work is phenomenal

Glenn Coon is the author of my favorite book so far: “The ABC of prayer.” I am particularly in love with the way he turns his life experiences into sermons which are inspirational to his readers.

Mariama Ba is one feminist who is an inspiration to most women (myself included). She was an advocate and a voice of the African women. She fought for their emancipation and freedom from oppressive laws.

(SPA) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?

(SPM) I am working on my first review ever and I decided to start with a Christian motivational book. With time, I guess I will be able to expand my territory.

(SPA) Which email lists are you subscribed to?

(SPM) I am not subscribed to any at the moment.

(SPA) How do you interact with other authors? Are you a member of a book club?

(SPM) I am a member of “Writers Clinic”, an international WhatsApp group created by Phillip Kundeni Chidavaenzi. It is a platform for established and growing writers specializing in fiction, poetry and motivation (inspiration).

(SPA) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?

(SPM) I am a wide reader so I recommend quite a number of genres but I usually recommend daily devotionals, motivational, poetry or fiction.

(SPA) What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?

(SPM) At the moment, I am in my final year of study at Solusi University, so school takes up most of my time. Otherwise, when I am not studying I write, if not that I am singing and making music.

(SPA) Let’s talk about Shamiso the lady! Give us a bit of your social and family life.

(SPM) I am a very simple lady. I believe I am a very sociable person too. I make new friends wherever I go. Hence, I have a crowd of friends. What I appreciate the most about my friends is the fact that we practically draw strength from each other, different as we are.

I was raised in a family that values family bonds, love and religion and so that character matured in me too. I love my family and I am grateful for the way I have been brought up because it shaped me into the woman I am today.

(SPA) Any final word for our followers?

(SPM) Do not be afraid to blossom. The risk is worth it and you will find that out the day you decide to burst out of your protective shell.

(SPA) Many thanks for this interview, Shamiso. Good luck with your writing.

(SPM) Thank you so much.

Shamiso Patience Mbiriri Links and Contacts

Author Interviews – Tsungi Chiwara

We are in the final stage of the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2016. I hope you have finished your novel or at least you are almost done

As part of the Self-Publishing Africa initiative, today at It’s My Footprint (IMFP) we are joined by Tsungi Chiwara (TC), a wife, mother, public health professional and Christian author, who enjoys touching lives through her passion of writing. She has written an award-nominated novel, and is about to publish her second book, an anthology – a collection of poems. She enjoys both creative and motivational writing and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is pivotal in her writing, as that is her foundation for life.

(IMFP) Welcome Tsungi, and thank you for spending time with use at It’s My Footprint.

(TC) Thank you very much, I am grateful for this opportunity.

(IMFP) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?

(TC) When I think back, I realize that I’ve always enjoyed writing, even from school days. Because I was an all-rounder, back then it never dawned on me that I was actually born to write. As fate would have it, I studied the sciences in my last two years of high school and I went on to study Pharmacy at university. I basically abandoned writing and focused on my ‘scientific’ career. After about 20 years of focusing on my family and career, I began to be restless in my spirit and knew I had to find out my purpose somehow; there was a void in my soul. Without yet linking the two (my purpose and writing), I began writing notes here and there about things I felt God was laying on my heart. Then through prayer, a lot of soul searching, going to one writers’ workshop and several other activities, I began realizing that writing was my passion. And here I am! Writing to me is so fulfilling. It was unexpected, a bonus, that I also received recognition: My first book, Reflections of the Heart – a Story of Hope, was nominated for a NAMA (National Art Merit Award) for ‘Outstanding First Creative Published Work’ in 2014. In the same year, the novel was also selected by the Department of Curriculum Studies & Education (University of Zimbabwe) as one of the set books for students who are studying for a Masters of Education in English. International acclamation came in the form of the US-based Library of Congress selecting my book to be housed in several university libraries across the US and one in Germany. I never thought my writing would bring me this far! I am still believing God for even bigger things for my novel.

(IMFP) Where do you get your ideas from?

(TC) Firstly, I pray a lot as I write – I ask God to write through me, as it were – to be His scribe; to push His agenda forward and not mine. I always want to write what is on God’s heart. So much so that when I review what I have written I am sometimes led to cross out some of the things as I won’t be at peace about them, no matter how good they look or sound. I draw a lot from life experiences, be they mine or other peoples; observations I have made throughout my life. I believe any type of artist, writer, singer, painter, sculptor etc. is heavily influenced by their own life – that is the nature of art, it’s about life. Writing is an art and it is quite different from science which is factual and has to be evidence-based, prim and proper etc. – with writing, however, you can take things from different perspectives and places and mix them in order to produce something, and that’s what I do. Being into creative writing, there has to also be room there to ‘create’ things from nothing, or for imagination, which I must say, I definitely have, and a wild one!

(IMFP) Why do you write?

(TC) Writing is my number one passion, though it took me years to articulate that. Now I don’t even think about it; I just find myself writing. I write because I feel I have things worth sharing, because I want to encourage people not to give up on their dreams, to inspire people, and most importantly to point others to God. I feel like I have achieved something each time I write. Writing is also very therapeutic for me, because I will be writing to myself and encouraging myself – I won’t be talking down at people but I will also be learning in the process and identifying with some of the things I am writing about.

(IMFP) What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?

(TC) I am a Christian writer, so my writing centres on God. Most would view this as therefore writing only suited to a teaching approach. My style however, is ‘creative evangelism’ which then makes it versatile – my writing is for anyone and everyone, but a large part of it tries to reach out to those who do not yet know God, in a manner that is less conventional or traditional; I talk about God but I also talk about everyday issues while at the same time I encourage people to go for their dreams. Rooted in Christianity, I write poems, short stories, novels, inspirational quotes and prayers. In that way I find I am able to appeal to and reach a wider audience but without abandoning my chosen genre or compromising my convictions. What you find generally is that the world, Christians or not, is searching for real and lasting answers in life, and I believe that those answers can only be found in God. So, I ask God for wisdom in order to tap into that context or environment that I live in.

(IMFP) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?

(TC) I think these are a part of life, no matter what domain you are in. While I do not focus on these, I certainly do not ignore them – instead I try and see if there is something I can possibly improve on, learn a lesson from or correct, then I do just that. I have reviews of my first book on my website as well as on Amazon, and they are there for viewing, the good ones and ones less favorable. Beside writing books I am on social media a lot with inspirational nuggets –  I always try to engage with readers, especially on Facebook, where that is possible, and on my page I allow people through their comments to give their views and even if I don’t necessarily agree, I respect all opinions or viewpoints (I only delete disrespectful, rude or blasphemous comments), responding, if necessary at all, and giving clarity if that is what is required.

(IMFP) Tsungi, you surely have developed in your writing. What are you busy with now in terms of writing?tsungi-chiwara2

(TC) I have just finished my second book, ‘Poems of Hope Vol. 1’ and already have some samples of it from a couple of printers. I’m sure in November it will be available to the public. I also am a contributing writer for Scripture Union Southern Africa, for the publication ’Closer to God’. 2017 will be the third year I have contributed, and this time I really stretched myself and wrote 3 weeks of teachings out of the 52 weeks. It is such an honor being able to be part of encouraging people with God’s Word – it helps to fulfill my desire to spread God’s Word. Currently I am the only Zimbabwean writer; most of the writers are from South Africa.

(IMFP) What do you find difficult about book writing?

(TC) Writer’s Block is something that can and does happen – your mind goes blank and you have nothing to write that particular day; later of course, you then get ideas and resume. I also think it is challenging to decide when to end a book; as you are reviewing it you keep wanting to add great ideas you have, but eventually you just have to decide to end – the more reason to write another book if you have so many ideas!!

(IMFP) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

(TC) I am a self-publishing advocate because I believe, it is challenging to get a good publishing deal quickly even if you write a good book, especially in this part of the world. Self-publishing gets your work out there quickly while at the same time you have 100% rights to your work. But you have to ensure that your work is of excellent quality, above reproach – especially the editing, but also the book cover design, layout and design etc. and you have to market it on your own – it’s usually by word of mouth that you will sell your book. These days we have the help of social media. Having said that, personally I would still keep a look out for a publishing deal with a traditional publisher, even after self-publishing a book, and just do a second edition – the advantages of traditional publishing is that although you will get a small piece (less than 100% rights to the book) of the pie, the piece is destined to be much bigger than your pie from self-publishing, as you are bound to sell many more copies because of the way traditional publishers operate; and at the end of the day, one of the goals of writing a book is to have has many people as possible buy/read your book.

(IMFP) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

(TC) Start writing and keep at it – if writing is your passion, then you’ll always find something to write! Nobody can tell you what to write about; write about what you love – every writer is different. Write whenever you have a moment (like during lunch times), don’t wait for some free hours or the weekend, because you may never get all the time you want all at once. Make sure you proof-read everything you write because silly mistakes spoil the content. Don’t be swayed or discouraged by what people say. Be brave enough to showcase to one or two people you trust what you write, occasionally – this will really encourage you. Someone once said, “If you don’t write your book because you are worried that no-one will buy or read it, then DEFINITELY no one will, because you won’t have written it!” (paraphrased).

(IMFP) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?

(TC) To be quite honest with you – I would not change a thing! Considering that I have a day job, am a family woman, am doing some studies and that I therefore write part time (as a passion and not as a hobby), I think I have written a lot book-wise and in many other ways, like on Facebook where I am very active. I am always asked where I find time to write (laugh).

(IMFP) Who is your favorite author and why?tsungi-chiwara4

(TC) I don’t really have one favorite author, but enjoy reading from a variety of writers, including Christian authors such as Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer. I enjoy authors that encourage, inspire and motivate.

(IMFP) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?

(TC) No, I don’t do book reviews. I’m sure I would enjoy doing them, but I just don’t have the time.

(IMFP) Which email lists are you subscribed to?

(TC) Just one: BookBaby ; I self-published through BookBaby. I used to subscribe to several but ended up clogging my inbox and not even having enough time to read all the lists!

(IMFP) How do you interact with other authors? Are you a member of a book club?

(TC) I am a member of the Facebook group Authors & Writers Lounge and the WhatsApp group Writers Clinic.

(IMFP) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?

(TC) Firstly, I recommend ‘easy to read’ books like mine (smile), then also ones that are spiritual and/or inspirational, for example, ‘The Power of a Praying Wife/Parent/Woman (3 in 1)’ which I now use almost daily; it’s very practical, powerful and effective – it has helped give me direction and conviction in how I pray for my husband, kids and myself on a daily basis, in addition to my other prayers. Also ‘Screw it, let’s do it!’ by the Virgin empire founder, Richard Branson – I read it five times!

(IMFP) Let’s talk about Tsungi the lady! Give us a bit of your social and family life.

(TC) I am first and foremost a born again, spirit-filled, child of God. I am a wife, a mother of four beautiful children aged between 8 and 20. I am a family woman and spend most of my spare time at home with my family – I do my best to spend quality time with my husband, and from time to time with each child, so that we bond. I’m a daughter to an inspirational and hard-working mother – she is a role model. I’m also a friend and generally a fun-loving person; I’m willing to try out new things and I enjoy life. Being a former model (I was one of the 20 finalists in the 1994 Zimbabwe Super Model Competition), I have flair and love for fashion and of course I absolutely enjoy shopping. I love walking (sometimes with my husband in the mornings), travelling, going on holiday (Cape Town is my favorite spot, so far) with my family, eating out and trying different cuisines. I go to movies, I have programs on TV that I enjoy (EastEnders is tops for me), and I love reading Women & Home Magazine because it is loaded with inspiration. One of my favorite pass times is studying successful people from Zimbabwe and other countries and seeing how I can learn from their lives.

In the marketplace, I am a public health supply chain expert – currently I work as a Senior Manager for an international development organization. I have a special interest in HIV and AIDS. I would describe myself also as an academic – I’m studying towards a PhD in health Studies, focusing on HIV/AIDS communication for women.

(IMFP) Any final word for our followers?

(TC) One of my own quotes: “Above everything, believe in God. Next believe in yourself and you’ll be unstoppable! Then, others will believe in you.”

Then one by Steve Jobs, which I find to be so true: “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

(IMFP) Many thanks for this interview, Tsungi. Good luck with your writing.

(TC) It’s been my pleasure, thank you very much.

Tsungi Chiwara Links and Contactstsungi-chiwara3

Author Interview – Margaret Welwood

We support all writers participating in the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2016.

As part of the Self-Publishing Africa initiative, today at It’s My Footprint (IMFP) we have Margaret Welwood (MW) a writer of picture books for children, and editor of *squeaky clean* family-friendly fiction and non-fiction for all ages. Margaret taught English as a Second Language (with stories as a teaching tool) for years, and now writes and edits from the acreage she shares with her husband in Northern Alberta, Canada.

Margaret has edited a business magazine, a Writer’s Digest award winning non-fiction book, and five-star children’s books and adult Bible study materials.

(IMFP) Welcome Margaret, and thank you for spending time with us at It’s My Footprint.

(MW) Thank you for the invitation, Taka. It’s a pleasure to connect with you and your readers.

(IMFP) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?

(MW) My mother taught me to love stories and the language used to tell them, and I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing. When I was laid off from my ESL position at our local college, a friend said, “When God closes a door, He opens a window.” That window opened into Storyland, in both its fiction and non-fiction forms. I enjoy working with people, words and ideas, and appreciate the rich variety this work provides. Right now I edit short pieces (blog posts, articles, devotionals, and stories) for children and adults.

(IMFP) Where do you get your ideas from?

(MW) My grandchildren inspire me, both by asking for stories and by serving as story generators themselves. I wrote Scissortown after asking myself what Tommy and Tina would do if there were no cutting tools to be found. My granddaughter’s sweet disposition inspired Marie’s choice to show compassion in Marie and Mr. Bee. Little Bunny’s Own Storybook (to be released) tells the tale of a little rabbit, who, like my granddaughter, shows ingenuity and initiative when faced with a problem. In Dustin, Natalie and the Man-eating Snake, I honor my grandson’s curiosity and sense of humor. Your readers might enjoy true stories about my grandchildren at my grandma blog, and they can read about my author journey on my writing blog. A visit to my Amazon Author Page will reveal something different about my books: the two on Amazon not only offer customers a choice of e-book or paperback, they also offer a choice of endings. Both books encourage children to do the right thing, but either the last page (Marie and Mr. Bee) or the inside back cover (Scissortown) have slightly different wording that reflect either a faith-based or a secular perspective.

(IMFP) Why do you write?

(MW) Four reasons:

  1. I believe that this is some of the work that God has called me to do.
  2. I believe there is a place in children’s literature for clean, wholesome stories featuring characters who, possibly after a struggle, make good choices and reap the rewards.
  3. I write because I have something to say. Perhaps the best example of this is Advance Directive Warning, which I wrote under a pen name to warn others of how an Advance Directive can be (willingly?) misinterpreted.
  4. The stories are in my head and they want out!

(IMFP) What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?marie-and-mr-bee

(MW) Before I had young grandchildren close by, most of my dealings were with adults, and most of my writing was for them. Now that there are young grandchildren close by to inspire me, children’s picture books are my genre of choice.

(IMFP) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?

(MW) Learn what I can from it (I’ve had some extremely helpful constructive criticism), remember that not everyone likes the same thing, and try to obey I Thessalonians 5:18—“In everything give thanks.”

(IMFP) Margaret, you surely have developed in your writing. Have you published yet? What are you busy with now in terms of writing?

(MW) I have two books on Amazon, over 100 magazine articles published, two blogs, and numerous other pieces, both online and in in print.

(IMFP) What do you find difficult about book writing?

(MW) I need time for the ideas and language to incubate. After I write something, I need to leave it for a while and come back to it. I also depend on feedback from others.

(IMFP) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

(MW) I think self-publishing opens many doors to new writers, but I also think that traditional publishing still has more prestige in many people’s eyes. I’m glad we have both.

(IMFP) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?imfp212-scissortown

(MW) Spend time with your target audience. Read in your genre. Be open to feedback from readers and other writers.

(IMFP) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?

(MW) Keep plugging. The future is bright with promise!

(IMFP) Who is your favorite author and why?

(MW) Francine Rivers. Her stories are utterly absorbing, and her characters are realistic and memorable.

(IMFP) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?

(MW) I review picture books for children, and the occasional fiction or non-fiction book for adults.

(IMFP) Which email lists are you subscribed to?

(MW) Many, mostly Christian devotionals, and blogs about writing and marketing books.

(IMFP) How do you interact with other authors? Are you a member of a book club?

(MW) I interact with other authors on Facebook, LinkedIn and google+. I’m not a member of a book club, but I work with local authors in the promotion and marketing of our books.

(IMFP) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?

(MW) Children’s picture books.

(IMFP) What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?

(MW) I like to help my husband on our acreage, and spend time with my children and grandchildren.

(IMFP) Let’s talk about Margaret the lady! Give us a bit of your social and family life.

(MW) Some of my favorite times are family get-togethers, where the little ones play and the big ones talk. I also enjoy quiet evenings with my husband, and visits with my church family.

(IMFP) Any final word of wisdom for our followers?

(MW) If God has given you a dream and a vision, follow it. Spend time with Him, and walk in His direction and wisdom.margaret-welwood

(IMFP) Many thanks for this interview, Margaret. Good luck with your writing.

(MW) Thank you, Taka.

Margaret Welwood Links and Contacts

Author Interview – Sharon Felicia Acheampong

November is the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). We are supporting all the writers who are participating.

As part of the Self-Publishing Africa initiative, today at It’s My Footprint (IMFP) we are joined by Sharon Felicia Acheampong (SFA) a Trainee psychologist and part time author/singer-songwriter based in the town of Kadoma, Zimbabwe.

(IMFP) Welcome Sharon, and thank you for spending time with use at It’s My Footprint.

(SFA) Thank you very much, pleasure is all mine.

(IMFP) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?

(SFA) I’m 26 years old, an only child raised by my mother. Two years of my childhood were spent in Ghana, but I have lived in Zimbabwe most of my life. I am currently studying for an Honours degree in Community and Health Psychology with the University of South Africa. I have also been teaching at Kadoma Montessori pre-school since 2009.

(IMFP) Where do you get your ideas from?

(SFA) Honestly, I don’t know. I guess my environment influences me. I spend a lot of time alone so I tend to live in my head and that’s what usually comes up on paper.

(IMFP) Why do you write?

(SFA) Mainly self-expression. When I came to Zimbabwe in 1996 I couldn’t speak any of the local dialects, and I was surrounded by children who didn’t understand me, so it was a way of creating friends who understood me.

(IMFP) What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?

(SFA) Fiction gives free reign. You can create what doesn’t exist and it’s ok.

(IMFP) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?

(SFA) I think because I don’t really target anyone other than myself with my writing, any attention I get is alright, a sort of any publicity I good publicity scenario.

(IMFP) Sharon, you surely have developed in your writing. Have you published yet? What are you busy with now in terms of writing?

(SFA) Yes, my first novel World’s Apart was published in October 2012 by Authourhouse UK. I am currently working on a poetry compilation titled Love, Life & Whatever Else Matters.

(IMFP) What do you find difficult about book writing?

(SFA) Naming the characters. I can never start a story if I don’t have names which are in my head a perfect fit. The search can take ages and can be frustrating too.

(IMFP) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

(SFA) Having my fingers in many pies, makes self-publishing work better for me as I determine the pace I work at and I’m not constantly missing deadlines. Other than that, I feel both ways are pretty even on the pros and cons and it all depends on personal preference.

(IMFP) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

(SFA) Believe in yourself. Writing is an art form and unlike mathematics there isn’t right and wrong, only different shades of right.

(IMFP) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?

(SFA) Manage your time better so you are not focusing on one aspect of your life at the expense of the others.

(IMFP) Who is your favourite author and why?

(SFA)I have plenty, but my top three would be Danielle Steel, Evelyn Anthony and Jeffrey Archer. I like writing that makes me experience world’s I probably would never encounter. Danielle Steel is also very good with evoking emotion and I find myself hating/loving/sympathizing with some of her characters.

(IMFP) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?Worlds Apart

(SFA) No. I haven’t done any.

(IMFP) Which email lists are you subscribed to?

(SFA) Mostly publishers, music and psychology.

(IMFP) How do you interact with other authors? Are you a member of a book club?

(SFA) I am actually quite a loner, partly because I find it comfortable and partly because I don’t always have time for social interaction. That’s a long way of saying no.

(IMFP) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?

(SFA) Really depends on the person and what I feel they need or would like. Mostly fiction though, historical, Christian.

(IMFP) Let’s talk about Sharon the lady! Give us a bit of your social and family life.

(SFA) Lady made me laugh. Family, I live with my mum Sue, she is my number one fan/critic/stylist who believes I have zero dress sense. I have two very naughty dogs, Star whose 6 years old and DeAngelo who is 4 years old.

I have been teaching at Kadoma Montessori pre-school since 2009, in class lessons as well as swimming in the summer. I am now also the in house trainee psychologist since I got my Baccalaureate in Community and Health Psychology last year. I am back at school for the Honors this year.

I have been doing music commercially since 2013 & have a couple of songs and videos on local radio and television under the name Felicia Diallo.

I don’t really do much outside work, school music and writing. If I am not at work, I am probably at home.

(IMFP) Do you have any final word for our followers?

(SFA) In whatever you do, don’t lose yourself. Life should not be about being the best copy of someone else but the best version of you that you can be.Sharon Felicia Acheampong

(IMFP) Many thanks for this interview, Sharon. Good luck with your writing.

(SFA) Thank you

Sharon Felicia Acheampong Links

Author Interview – Michelle Natali Kwaramba

Today we have a special guest at It’s My Footprint (IMFP), as part of the Self-Publishing Africa initiative. We are joined by Michelle Natali Kwaramba (MNK) a young lady aged 16, who is an author and a poet. She grew up with her mother after her father abandoned them. She leaves in Greendale in Harare, Zimbabwe. Michelle did her primary education at Courtney Selous Primary School and her secondary education at Oriel Girls High School also in Harare. At this young age, Michelle has a message for the world.

(IMFP) Welcome Michelle, and thank you for spending time with use at It’s My Footprint.

(MNK) It’s a pleasure.

(IMFP) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?

(MNK) Okay…Umm. I come from a family of three, with two boys and I being the only girl.

(IMFP) Where do you get your ideas from?

(MNK) I get my ideas from my surroundings. I see the problems most people face and I say to myself I have to put this into writing.

(IMFP) Why do you write?

(MNK) I write to educate the girl child.

(IMFP) What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?

(MNK) It helps girls to understand what is happening in this present day and to make them plan their future.

(IMFP) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?

(MNK) Hahaha, that is really bad, but however it would have happened so I just have to understand.

(IMFP) Michelle, you surely have developed in your writing. Have you published yet? What are you busy with now in terms of writing?

(MNK) My book is currently being published. I am still writing right now I am working on a new book.

(IMFP) What do you find difficult about book writing?

(MNK) To gather information and put it into one book.

(IMFP) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

(MNK) Ummm. I think traditional publishing is best s since experienced people get to read and review the book before it is published.

(IMFP) What advice would you give to aspiring young writers like you?

(MNK) Do not despair. Keep on writing you will surely get somewhere.

(IMFP) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?

(MNK) I would advise myself to do my own thing and never look at what other people think.

(IMFP) Who is your favorite author and why?

(MNK) Ralph Jonathan Kadurira because he writes truth.

(IMFP) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?

(MNK) Yes, fiction.

(IMFP) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?

(MNK) Set books.

(IMFP) Let’s talk about Michelle the lady! Give us a bit of your social and family life.Michelle Natali Kwaramba

(MNK) I am a very social person and so is my family. Most of the time we spend it together if I am at school I interact with people and hear about their lives how they manage it as I give them advice.

(IMFP) Any final word for our followers?

(MNK) Aspire to inspire before you expire.

(IMFP) Many thanks for this interview, Michelle. Good luck with your writing.

(MNK) Thank you so much.

Michelle Natali Kwaramba Links and Contacts

Author Interview – Gregory Brown

As we continue with the second phase of the Self-Publishing Africa initiative, today at It’s My Footprint (IMFP) we are joined by Greg Brown (GB) the author of The Bible Teacher’s Guide series. Greg is a humble man, a Chaplain and Professor at the Handong Global University in Pohang, South Korea and Lead Pastor of Handong International Congregation also at the Handong Global University. Greg holds a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Religion and Master of Arts (MA) degree in teaching from Trinity International University, in Deerfield, Illinois, United States, a Master of Religious Education (MRE) degree from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, United States, and a PhD degree in Theology from Louisiana Baptist University in in Shreveport, Louisiana. He has served over twelve years in pastoral ministry in the United States and in South Korea.

(IMFP) Welcome Greg, and thank you for spending time with us at It’s My Footprint.

(GB) Thank you. It’s my pleasure.

(IMFP) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?

(GB) Yes, I’m originally from Austin, Texas. I was a basketball player in college, and coached college basketball to help pay my way through seminary. I’ve been pastoring the last twelve years: First as the English Pastor/ Youth Pastor at a Korean Church in Chicago, and now as a Chaplain/Professor at Handong Global University and as the Lead Pastor for Handong International Congregation. I am also a Navy Reserve Chaplain with the rank of Lt. Commander. In addition, I am an indie author with twelve books published in a series called The Bible Teacher’s Guide.

(IMFP) Where do you get your ideas from?

(GB) All my books come from my sermon manuscripts which I write weekly to preach at church or from my lectures at the university.

(IMFP) Why do you write?

(GB) In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul says, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.That’s really my goal in life, to pass on the Biblical deposit that others faithfully passed on to me, with the hope that those I teach will continue to pass it on. And hopefully, when I get to Heaven, I will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” That’s the reason I write.

(IMFP) What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?

(GB) It’s been said that Theology is the Queen of all Sciences. There is no higher endeavour that knowing God and his Word. However, with that said, knowing God through his Word brings blessings on our life and our families. That’s the great appeal of the Bible Study/Commentary/Christian Living genre.

(IMFP) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?

(GB) Well, as far as bad Amazon Reviews, I am typically just glad someone decided to write. Most people who enjoy your work never write a review, so even a bad one is great. In sales, having quality reviews certainly matters, but probably the most important thing is having a high quantity of reviews.

But as far as general rejection and criticism, as a pastor I have developed thick skin. Not everybody will love your writing or your preaching. And I make no claims of perfection. So at least inwardly when criticized, I can say, “I know. Lord, help me.” When the criticism is unjust, many times people can discern that as they read it. In addition, some criticism can be extremely helpful. I am a young writer (in the sense of years of publishing), and I have a lot to learn. Hopefully, critical reviews can speed up my learning process.

(IMFP) Greg, you surely have developed in your writing. Have you published yet? What are you busy with now in terms of writing?

(GB) As mentioned, I’ve published twelve books in a series titled The Bible Teacher’s Guide. Essentially, they are devotional commentaries on Bible books or topical studies. They are great for small groups, teachers preparing to teach, or individuals simply desiring to understand Scripture better. Currently, I just published a book called Ephesians: Understanding God’s Purpose for the Church, and another book will publish this winter called, Abraham: Living the Life of Faith.

(IMFP) What do you find difficult about book writing?

(GB) The most difficult part about writing is either editing or rewriting. They both are difficult. When looking at my book after an editor has gone through it, it’s easy to get discouraged. In my mind, I say to myself, “I thought it didn’t need much editing!” In addition, rewriting old sermons not originally written for publishing is extremely difficult. I have tons of writing that that I almost hope to never get to. Currently, I’m trying to focus on new studies that I initially wrote with an eye towards publishing.

(IMFP) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

(GB) Both are great models. I initially started with a hybrid traditional publisher. They were a hybrid in that they only took select books and we both invested money into my first two books. The contract included a clause that when I reached a certain number of sales, they would return my investment. However, in the end, it wasn’t a good working relationship. I left the company, taking my books, and losing my investment to self-publish. I learned a lot from that experience which I now use in self-publishing.

I tried traditional publishing one other time, but I found that not having complete control over my book was hard for me. I would much rather oversee the entire process from editing, to creating the book cover, publishing, and even marketing. So in general, I don’t think traditional publishing is for me, but I think it could be great for others, especially if it’s a big publisher with strong marketing. With that said, I might be open to trying traditional publishing again if our visions aligned and it was a great situation.

(IMFP) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?Gregory Brown books

(GB) As a Christian author, I would say write to honor God by cultivating the gift he gave you and seeking to give him pleasure. Use your writing to encourage and equip His people. If God calls you to write a blog and give it away for free, to publish and reach 10 people or to reach 10 million people, be faithful to God and trust the fruit to him.

(IMFP) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?

(GB) Be Patient. There is no need to hurry. Enjoy the process of completing your projects and be balanced as you do it. Give thanks for the opportunity.

(IMFP) Who is your favorite author and why?

(GB) John MacArthur has had a tremendous effect on me spiritually and doctrinally. I’m very thankful for his ministry.

(IMFP) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?

(GB) Yes, I try to stick to Christian nonfiction—preferably Bible study/Commentary/Christian Living books.

(IMFP) How do you interact with other authors? Are you a member of a book club?

(GB) I am on Goodreads in several Christian Author groups, and I’ve met most of my Christian author friends there. We update each other when our new books come out, ask each other questions, and share tips and encouragements.

(IMFP) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?

(GB) I love commentaries and systematic theologies.

(IMFP) What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?

(GB) My favorite thing to do is have small group in my home with great fellowship and a good meal (hopefully my wife is cooking). Other than that, I enjoy working out, studying in coffee shops, going on dates with my wife and/or daughter, and watching the UFC and NBA.

(IMFP) Let’s talk about Greg, the man! Give us a bit of your social and family life.

(GB) I am married to one wife, Tara, and I have one daughter, Saiyah. Saiyah just turned four years old. We’ve been living in Korea for the last five years serving at Handong Global University. We love it. We love the students, the faculty, and the opportunity to serve here. Most of my family lives in Texas, the best place in the US.

(IMFP) Any final word for our followers?

(GB) Thanks for reading. Please check out The Bible Teacher’s Guide on Amazon.

(IMFP) Many thanks for this interview, Greg. Good luck with your writing.

(GB) Thanks for your time. God bless your ministry.

Gregory Brown Links and Contacts

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