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, 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