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