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 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

Gregory Brown Books

Author Interview – Sympathy Sibanda Mazuruse

As part of the Self-Publishing Africa initiative, today at It’s My Footprint (IMFP) we are joined by Sympathy Sibanda Mazuruse (SSM) a writer, voice over artist ,poet and businesswoman whose love for humanitarian issues  knows no bounds. She uses her voice to inspire others and spread love to the marginalized society’s .She is passionate about talent development as well as women empowerment.

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

(SSM) It’s a great pleasure to be here.

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

(SSM) I am a woman who loves life, travelling and family. I am the eldest in a family of three girls and a boy. My father trained us (the girls) from a very early age to be independent women who could do anything by ourselves, we were taught to be united and love each other. This healthy family background has really had a positive impact in my life. I was fortunate enough to marry a man whose interests match mine. We love writing; human development and making people achieve their dreams.

(IMFP) Where do you get your ideas from?

(SSM) Life is my greatest inspiration. My ideas come from watching people with a keen interest to understand what they feel, what makes them tick and what exactly makes them who they are.

I am a poet whose talent dates back to my childhood. I look at myself as a multi-talented woman. I love writing from what I observe people going through as well as what I experience.

(IMFP) Why do you write?

(SSM) I love documenting events as they happen so on one hand writing is my legacy to the unborn while on the other hand writing is my therapy and catharsis to let out steam.

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

(SSM) Poetry fits every situation; I love this genre because I can experiment with it in so many ways. For example I have written social poetry, there was a time I wrote poems that were transformed into songs; in my new book I have written Christian poems. I just love poetry so much.

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

(SSM) I learn from them. Naturally, I get disappointed but I then come back to myself and try to understand what needs to be changed. If it’s just ‘hate talk’ I ignore, but if it’s something I really need to learn, I then change accordingly. Criticism in whatever forms helps our brands to be known. Rejection has never broken me; I keep pushing till I reach my goals.

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

(SSM) Yes I have two books published in my name. One titled ‘Matters of Life”(2009) and the recent one is a 2 in 1 anthology composed of 2 books ‘On His Bosom vs Celestial Sympathy’. I have also published a book in collaboration with my friend Catherine Magodo-Mutukwa, under my pen name Awande Ngwenya in 2015.

Currently I am busy holding school outreach programmes where I go to schools, hold mentorship talks and donate my book. I am appealing to any authors and well wishers who would like to come on board to get in touch so we can make an impact on the future generation.

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

(SSM) When writer’s block hits! I feel so sullen when the inspiration finds a gap to escape. I’m glad for me it never lasts long, there is bound to be something that shakes me back in shape.

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

(SSM) Self publishing has provided an opportunity to hear so many voices that would have been choked were they to try traditional publishing. The latter trusts the names it knows yet self publishing brings with it the independence to let everyone’s voice known. We just have to guard against producing half baked cakes (cliché as it may sound), there is discipline to be practiced through getting assistance from professionals.

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

(SSM) A good reader makes a good writer, so challenge yourself to read widely and train your mind to observe beyond what everyone else sees.

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

(SSM) Diaspora based publishers or printers are not always the best. We have talent in Zimbabwe. I would never have wasted money and time trying to get my books printed in the UK.

(IMFP) Who is your favourite author and why?

(SSM)Well…I am a wide reader and have several favourites. I would spend the whole day tring to list them here. Every book gives me a lesson different from the others, I appreciate every author.

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

(SSM) Yes I do…mostly poetry because it’s the area I’m comfortable with.

(IMFP) Which email lists are you subscribed to?

(SSM) Poetry international, Goodreads, Issuu, Pen America and Win-Zimbabwe.

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

(SSM) I belong to the writer’s clinic, a brain child of renowned author Phillip Chidavaenzi and also Writers international network Zimbabwe, brainchild of talent developer Beaven Tapureta. These as well as many other social media platforms do the trick.

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

(SSM) I encourage my friends to read widely and we share those books. We love digging out books written in n different styles but more so we love books written by Zimbabweans.

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

(SSM) I’m a lady who loves life and people. I am also a hopeless romantic whose choice of movies and novels mainly centers on ‘happy endings.’ I am married to a man created just for me; Takemore Mazuruse my perfect mirror. We are journalists, humanitarian workers and we run some businesses together. Some even say we look alike (laughs).

God is the center of my life and I always love to share his promises with the hopeless and downtrodden.

I love being around old people as I have learned that their wisdom is very rich and they have all these funny stories that make me so curious to keep digging about what it was like living in the past. Oh my word, I love travelling! When I travel I always carry my pen, paper and camera to capture everything as it happens.

Sympathy Sibanda Mazuruse(IMFP) Any final word for our followers?

(SSM) Life is never a rehearsal so live it purposefully.

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

(SSM) It was a pleasure, thank you so much.

Sympathy Sibanda Mazuruse Links and Contacts

Author Interview – Jurgen Troy Namupira

As part of the Self-Publishing Africa initiative, today at It’s My Footprint (IMFP) we are joined by Jurgen Troy Namupira (JTN) a young enthusiastic boy aged 20. Born in Harare but grew up and attended school in primary and secondary school. He now lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

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

(JTN) Thank you very much. It’s a pleasure being on this show.

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

(JTN) Okay, Jurgen is a boy who loves writing from the heart. Currently I am based in Cape Town, South Africa where I am studying electronics.

I love working with vulnerable individuals because the world despises them one way or the other. Most of my stories and poems are centred on these people. Over the years I have been writing short stories and poems. These have been influenced by the environments I have lived in, in which I have a lot happening.

I have also worked with the Chegutu (Zimbabwe) Junior Council as the Junior Director of Health and Housing which has also compelled me into writing about the vulnerable parties.

As of now my work is spread over Facebook and hoping to publish an anthology in the near future.

(IMFP) Where do you get your ideas from?

(JTN) I would say human behaviour is the integral source of my ideas. The way people interact daily, opens up possible characters as I write. When I see people every day, I see characters in a script.

(IMFP) Why do you write?

(JTN) There are messages that I believe should be spread all over the world. Writing is the best way I can reach a greater population and be able to spread the message. People really need to appreciate that some ideas they preach are really necessary. You see, there are people who always make noise about ideologies like peace, equality e.t.c but they never practice their statements.

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

(JTN) Advocative writing is almost if not the best way of writing. We become the voice of the voiceless that are not able to air out their opinions to the world.

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

(JTN) Actually I appreciate and acknowledge bad reviews and rejection as constructive criticism. It allows me to return to my work and look for areas that require developing and rectify errors.

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

(JTN) Currently I am working on a short story titled “The Enchanting Power of Song”. This is derived from a poem I wrote some time back with the same title. This would be my first work to publish and I hope things would flow smoothly.

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

(JTN) Book writing calls for patience and passion. The most difficult part is bringing your ideas together such that you make sense to your readers. The other is getting published. This has been the limiting force to me as a writer over the years. However, through interaction with fellow writers I am getting to the end of the tunnel.

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

(JTN) From a personal perspective self-publishing is commendable. It saves one from probable disappointments from greedy and selfish counterparts who tend to elope with one’s work. I have a co-writer who I work with, he has been crying foul because someone was to edit his work but disappeared in the unknown world. Currently we do not know whether or not the book has already been published under someone’s name. So you see working on your stuff is better rather than crying in the end.

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

(JTN) If you feel that you can write, then do not waste time. Most of the times you would feel you are not worthy of being read but that idea you are holding within can bring change in this global village.

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

(JTN)  Well, there is quite a lot. However, the greatest advice I would give myself is “Stand up and challenge the world. If some people did it nothing can stop you from achieving the goals.

(IMFP) Who is your favorite author and why?

(JTN) My favorite author is the late Alexander Kanengoni. Mr Kanengoni was an admirable writer who wrote with passion and excellence. Reading his work was like looking into life through a mirror. His work flowed smoothly and always attracted the reader to keep focused.

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

(JTN) Yes. I have not done any public reviews but I take on those that focus on the problems being faced in the world.

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

(JTN) We interact via Whatsapp groups and Facebook pages. On these platforms we share Ideas on how best we can improve our work.

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

(JTN) Detective novels, advocative novels and human behavior.

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

(JTN) Well, Jurgen’s life is based on Christian morals. I am not that kind you could call anti social but I rarely say much around people. However, I like debating when there is a topic which people seem to be failing to understand. I understand that in any debate we disagree to agree which my friend and I call constructive arguments. I do not like it when the public takes advantage of those who are vulnerable and exploit them.

(IMFP) Any final word for our followers?

(JTN) Always make the choice to take a chance if you want anything to change in this world. Do not wait until it is too late to showcase your talents. Rather you face the challenges until you overcome than looking down upon yourself. Anyone can be someone in this world especially through writing.

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

(JTN) Thanks to you too. It has been nice sharing with you.

Jurgen Troy Namupira Links and Contacts;