Today, we’re featuring another debut author interview. This interview is an amazing resource to become a writer because it allows you to hear the story of a successful writer and determine what did or didn’t work for them.
Enock Maregesi was born in Tanzania. He is the author of KOLONIA SANTITA, a novel. In 2015 he won the Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize For African Literature for KOLONIA SANTITA. The prize has the express goal of recognizing excellent writing in African languages and encouraging translation from, between and into African languages.
Enjoy the interview, and I would like to hear from you, in the comment box.
Q: Why do you write?
A: First and foremost I write because I have passion and conviction for writing. I also write because I’ve learned something new that I’d like to pass on to others as my contribution to society because I was here!
Q: What genre are your books?
A: Action and adventure, crime, romance, fiction, science fiction, thriller, and suspense.
Q: When did you decide to become a writer?
A: I decided to become a writer as soon as I finished my O-Level studies in 1992. It was during the gap year, between 1992 and 1993, when I started writing KOLONIA SANTITA officially so to speak.
Q: Do you write full-time or part-time?
A: I write both: full-time and part-time. But mostly full-time!Q: Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Q: Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
A: Yes, I do. I normally start at 2:00 AM, almost every day. I find that time suitable for me more than any other time of the day.
Q: Do you write every day, five days a week or as and when?
A: No, I don’t. I write seven days a week except for Saturday. On Saturdays, I go to church.
Q: Where do your ideas come from?
A: Most of my ideas come from the surrounding environment, books, internet, people, nd dreams!Q 8: What is the hardest thing about writing?
A: The hardest thing about writing for me has to be the beginning of a story. The beginning for me has to be difficult because I know if I get it right the rest of the story will fit in perfectly.
Q: What is the easiest thing about writing?
A: The easiest thing about writing for me is editing, especially after first draft is complete. I enjoy doing it.
Q: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
A: It takes me an average of one to five years to write a book, an average of three months to write first drafts, although it took me twenty years to write my first novel KOLONIA SANTITA.
Q 11: Do you ever get writer’s Block?
A: Yes, I do. Writer’s block to me is a ‘disease’. But it’s not acute. It’s a normal disease. Sometimes it can strike me for days.
Q: Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
A: I try to have some fun! Sometimes I take a nap for an hour or two, or I take a shower, or I go for walk. And if the block continues I stop writing for a day or two, or even more!
Q: Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
A: Yes, I do. My favorite authors are Stephen King, Shaaban Robert, Peter Hoeg, Patricia Cornwell, Elvis Musiba, Ben Mtobwa, and Dan Brown just to name a few.
Q: For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
A: I prefer both depending on the situation I am in! I read eBooks during leisure, and I read hardbacks during holidays.
Q: Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
A: I really enjoy proofreading/editing my own books. So, yes, I do. But also I get someone else to do that for me.
Q: Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
A: Yes, I do that all the time! Not just for books – for writing in general. It is the best practice in proofreading.
Q: Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
A: First it was edited and proofread by the late Saifu D. Kiango in 1999. He was an editor at BAKITA. BAKITA is the National Swahili Council of Tanzania. Mr. Kiango was selected to do the job by Popular Publications Limited (PPL) which was my first traditional publishing company, although they never published my book. Secondly, it was edited by East African Educational Publishers Limited (EAEP) in 2016. EAEP published it in 2017.
Q: How do you market your books?
A: My books are marketed by the EAEP marketing team. But I also do my part. I market my books largely on social media networks. I have more than ten blogs across social media, which I constantly use as promotional tools.
Q: Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
A: Writing a book is a challenge. Publishing it is another challenge. But selling it is the hardest of the challenges. My advice for other authors on how to market their books would be social media and website campaigns, like Google ad campaigns, that can reach millions of people across the world. Campaigns cost money, so they should be prepared for that as well. However, creating a blog is free.
Q: How do you relax?
A: Most of the time I relax by exercising and by taking a nap – one to two hours maximum!
Q: What is your favorite motivational phrase?
A: “Dream it. Believe it. Achieve it.” –Unknown
Q: What is your favorite positive saying?
A: “The best prize life has to offer is not a chance to work hard and be something in the community. It is the perfume of God that resides within you.” –Enock Maregesi
Q: Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A: Mark Twain. He wrote a quote: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why”; that changed my life, in 1995, in a positive way.
Q: If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
A: TUTARUDI NA ROHO ZETU? By Ben Mtobwa. It is a fascinating story. It is written very well.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A: Write as much as you can. Read as much as you can. Use the library and the internet carefully for research and talk to people about things that matter. If you have an idea in your head talk it to people as a normal conversation, to get their natural opinions. And don’t forget to jot down discreetly any new ideas you get from people. God may use other people to convey messages to you, that may add more information to the ideas you already have.
Q: Where do you see publishing going in the future?
A: I think publishing is going to be more paperless than hardcopy publishing. Due to technology advancement, people prefer eBooks more than hardbacks.
Q: Where can you see yourself in five years’ time?
A: I see myself as an established author of more than three novels, and running a publishing company.