I used to write on exercise books and my classmates looked forward to reading the stories before I completed writing them. At one time I wrote a story and all the ladies in class fell in love with a particular male character.
Ng’ang’a Mbugua is the award-winning Kenyan writer of Wahome Mutahi Prize 2016. His novel, Angels of the Wild, saw him win the honorable prize which to him was a great stride in his writing career. He Has previously scooped Wahome Mutahi’s Literary Prize for his books Terrorists and Different Colours in 2010 and 2012 respectively. His book, Different Colours was further chosen as a course book by Daystar University.
The tranquil and hilarious Mbugua admitted that he dipped his pen in ink way back from his high school days. He used to write on exercise books and his classmates looked forward to reading his stories before he completed writing them. At one time he wrote a story and all the ladies in his class fell in love with a particular male character in the story. However, he could not trace the books and so none of the stories was published.
Which is the best choice to publish a debut novel? Sel f publishing or outsourcing? Well, Mbugua admits that it’s only after venturing into self-publishing with his company Big Books, did he get to win a multiple of prizes. He appreciates that technology has lifted the veil in publishing as one only requires a laptop to write, design a cover, print, and the book is ready for the market or even better make sales as a soft copy.
He was haste to emphasize the need to remain relevant in the writing industry. Times are changing and so should any aspiring writer. He joked about his son whom when he narrated stories to could relate more to dragons as opposed to ghosts. ‘Don’t go into great detail describing places and things unless you are Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language. You don’t want desciptions that bring the action and flow of a story, to a standstill.’
Is there hope for potential writers? Definitely yes! There is a great opportunity for writers in this era as compared to before where publishing was a cloud on the horizon. Writing is gradually being embraced as a career and authors can put food on the table from writing. Great writers are also avid readers. Mbugua spends up to six hours a day reading and writing.