Today, I’d like to welcome author Levi Cheruo to my blog. He is a gifted, Kenyan, writer with some excellent advice for new authors!
Tell us a little about yourself:
I am a passionate writer, a gifted poet, an accomplished lyricist, a recorded singer, and above all a freelance journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya.
I have penned down FIVE titles, which are readily available and accessible both online and offline in Paperback and eBook formats via CreateSpace Publishers, Amazon, etc. They include:
More so, I have two other works that will be hitting bookstores at the soonest opportune possible. These include a Swahili Riwaya titled Yajapo Yapokee, and an English Novella titled Married to my Shadow: Love is for the Dying and Weak in Spirit.
Additionally, I am an occasional Op-Ed contributor for major local dailies here in Kenya namely:
- The Daily Nation
- The Standard Group Media
- Sido News Network
- Kenya Yote
- Kenya London News
What Inspires you to Write?
Not long after my birth, my parents walked their separate ways after a not-so-happy marriage that I would come to learn many years later was characterized by violence, drunkenness and negligence.
Denied both motherly and fatherly love, it didn’t take long to realize I was on my own. I started asking why…then Papa died, closely followed by Isabel, my late girlfriend, and the only kind soul I ever knew.
For me, writing is not only a past-time hobby but a therapeutic undertaking that has helped me discover the real me.
What happens around me greatly inspires me…. It could be the sudden loss of a loved one, the runaway culture of impunity, and rampant corruption in my country, a heartbreak, and most important, solitude and loneliness.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
I take a breath, do some soul-searching with some soft background music…then take some time off from my writing; often, writer’s block is as a result of not being at peace with either oneself or with others, therefore it helps to make peace. More so, taking some time off creates a room for sharpening your creativity, and embracing fresh perspectives that might work for your piece of literary work.
What’s your favorite book?
Waste Not Your Tears by Violet Kala
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite authors include:
- Violet Kala, Zimbabwe
- Ngugu Wa Thiong’o, Kenya
- Chinua Achebe, Nigeria
Tell us about your books
My books are mainly centered on the themes of relationships, justice, equality, good governance, and leadership accountability.
The UglyBeautiful Tale of a Stupid, Stupid Heart was inspired by the 2007/2008 Kenya’s Post Election Violence, and the subsequent victory to the alleged perpetrators; There is No Country Called Kenya is an answer to the current wave of perpetual state-sanctioned thieving that threatens to tear Kenya apart, and so are the rest of the titles.
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Writing in itself is therapeutic…it is a journey of self-discovery that arms you with a third eye and a third ear. And of course it comes with respect from others, it adds credibility to your ideas, opinions, views, etc.
Any advice for authors about book covers?
Do not judge a book by its cover it is said. However, I strongly believe that book covers still plays a major part as far as potential buyers are concerned. That said, authors should invest in their book covers, and ensure it is professionally designed to suit their title, and literary piece main theme.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?
When I am not writing, I am reading. And when I am not reading, I am working on my Song Writing Skills, listening to all manner of music…. Currently, I do not have a full-time job, but I occasionally contribute articles for a number of local dailies here in Kenya, apart from updating posts on my blog.
How did you go about getting published?
Traditional Publishing is no longer appealing to amateur writers not yet established out there, and it is for this reason that I opted for Indie Publishing.
Not only does it give me freedom of determining the final product, but also saves me a lot of time that I would have wasted waiting for editorial reviews from a traditional publisher.
What is your writing process? Do you have a time, day or place you like to write?
Writing for me is not a linear process. I write as ideas come; sometimes, continuously, at other times, once in a while.
Any marketing tips you’d like to share with other authors?
There are many readers online nowadays, and as such, social media can prove quite helpful in marketing one’s books. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., makes it quite easy to share links, info, previews, and sample texts.
There are also traditional advertising methods (which requires lots of cash), and can help improve your sales.
More so, there are dozens of sites out there dedicated for reviewing new books (mostly at an affordable fee). Reviews can add credibility, and an aura of social approval to your book, and thus attract potential buyers. Visit the sites below for a try:
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
When you are writing, you are just writing. You are not planning, you are not editing. You are writing. Once you have planned your story, it is time to sit down and write it.-JK.ROWLINGS, Harry Porter Series Author
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
If you have an idea you strongly believe in, and that you know it will impact many a soul out there, do not sit on it…write your heart out…you deserve to be heard as soon as last year!
What are you currently working on?
A Swahili Riwaya titled Yajapo Yapokee, and an English Novella titled Married to my Shadow: Love is for the Dying and Weak in Spirit.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
I will definitely bring along a Bible, a Church Hymnal Book, Violet Kala’s Waste Not Your Tears, and Nelson Mandela’s Abridged Autobiography A Long Walk to Freedom.
What are you reading now?
I am currently reading God Dies by Nile El-Saadawi, Nawal, and The Common: A Modern Sense of Place: Issue 06 by Owuor, Yvonne Adhiambo
Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?
The Ugly Beautiful Tale of a Stupid, Stupid Heart was inspired by the 2007/2008 Kenya’s Post Election Violence and the subsequent victory to the alleged perpetrators; There is No Country Called Kenya is an answer to the current wave of perpetual state-sanctioned thieving that threatens to tear Kenya apart; Please! Remember to Forget Me! And Other Stories was inspired by the untimely deaths of my girlfriend, father, grandfather, and grandmother.
What’s next for you as a writer?
As long as I am alive, I will continue uplifting souls, igniting dispirited hearts, cheering up sad faces, and restoring hope to the hopeless through my writings.
Where can my readers find you online?
Author Website/Blog: https://booksloverafrica.blogspot.co.ke/
Author Profile Page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/levicheruo
Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/cheptolevi
Twitter Profile: http://www.twitter.com/cheruo
Pinterest Profile: https://www.pinterest.com/cheptolevi/
Instagram Profile: https://www.instagram.com/levi_cheruo_cheptora/
Author Profile Page on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/levicheruo