Ciku Kimeria, author of Of goats and Poisoned Oranges, says the book, which is her first novel, has got a fair response.
She shared a book signing podium with Jeff Koinange at Bookstop at Yaya Centre, was in a discussion panel at this year’s Storymoja Festival and got a review in the Daily Nation.
Riding on her motto of “keep writing and share it with the world”, she is already working a second novel to be out next year.
When did you start writing?
My family tells me I wrote a letter about a boy I was going to marry in my Pre-Unit class when I was six. Later on, when I was 15, I lost my dad and got back to writing because I did not know how else to express my emotions.
I have written on development topics, early childhood development, health and urban planning. But I moved to fiction, my passion, last year when I published Of Goats and Poisoned Oranges.
That is an interesting title, how did you come up with it?
The book deals quite a bit with issues about love, revenge, infidelity and betrayal. The goats part stands for the dowry, the oranges for the “gachungwa” which, in Kikuyu, means sweetheart, then poisoned describes the characters in my book because they are all flawed.
You decided to self-publish?
I found the process of self-publishing quite ideal. I had actually contacted a couple of publishers but they never got back. Then I realised as a first-time writer you have no record.
That did not stop me, I decided to publish it through Amazon via Create Space. This means it is on Amazon and Kindle. I consulted my family on the title and cover and my mother and sister helped with editing.
You have a full-time job. How do you find time to write?
I make time because writing for me is an obsession. When I get stressed or sad then they have all these stories brewing in me. I wrote my book in three months and did it at a time of immense stress both at work and life in general.
I did a lot of the writing when I had insomnia like between 2am to 5am. I would go to work tired but happy.
Apart from fiction you also have a travel blog, how do you manage that?
When I’m travelling, I have a journal to write bullet points especially when travelling for work. Even when it’s for pleasure. When I come back home, I turn the points into prose for the blog.
How many words then do you write a day?
I think the most I have ever written in a day is 10,000 words that was for the book. Blogging is easier because the story is more like reporting what happened while fiction is all that thought process going on.
How did you hone writing skills?
The more I write the better the writing becomes. And also reading a lot.