#InterviewMonday features Senikiwe Chanda Kgatlhegang from Botswana as she talks about her new book, ‘Tears Of A Bleeding Heart.’
KA: Welcome to Konnect Africa! If you weren’t a writer, what else would you be doing?
If I weren’t a writer I would be an actress. I love playing around with words
KA: Let’s get up, close and personal; Give us a bit of history and ethnicity.
My name is Senikiwe Chanda Kgatlhegang. I am 24 years old. I was born in Nkange, North East of Botswana but I grew up in Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana. As a young girl I was very shy, I could not express myself as easily as people around me could. As such I wrote down the words I could not say and the feelings I could not express. After a few years I realised that I really had a passion for writing so I started writing poems for people around me.
KA: Education; Where and what did you study? Did you have to take any additional classes to hone your writing?
I studied Diploma in Environmental Health at the Institute of Health Sciences, Lobatse Botswana. I did not take additional classes for writing or literature. My love for reading and writing inspired me to work hard and develop my writing skills.
KA: Did you or your folks ever imagine you would become a writer?
I was raised by my aunt and growing up I wrote a lot and my room was always a mess due to the papers I read and wrote on so she would always say ‘One day you will be a writer’ I did not know what a writer was at that age but after I finished writing my first book I remembered my aunt’s words. As for myself I never imagined that I would be a published writer but I always knew that I love sitting down and writing so that people around me can understand how I feel and view certain things.
KA: What are your influences as a writer? What influences your writing?
My writing is influenced by real life situations. I write from the heart. The stories that I write are derived from the feelings that overflow from my heart, from situations that I see people going through every day. I do this because I want people to read my books and say ‘This is exactly what I am going through’ and learn or get motivated from my books.
KA: Kindly give a sneak peek into your new book.
My new book ‘TEARS OF A BLEEDING HEART’ is a book about love, pain, deceit, betrayal, heartbreak and loss. It is about a young woman who fell in love with a man who was dressed as a sheep while in actual fact he was a blood thirsty wolf. Refilwe, the young woman was so blinded by love that she was not able to see this man’s true colours in time. Upon realising this, she ended up losing everything she held dear, her family, friends, job, possessions and dignity. As the book goes on, Refilwe’s once perfect life now becomes chaotic, unbalanced and without direction. She is caught in denial, self blame, self doubt and confusion. All these emotions make her suicidal, mentally challenged and she loses hope in God, life and love.
KA: What were the challenges you encountered whilst writing and publishing the book?
Upon completion of this book, it was difficult for me to find a publisher because most of the publishers only publish educational books that can be used in schools so it was a challenge because my book was not solely written for school children though I wanted them to also read it. Furthermore I funded myself in order for the book to be edited and to make the book copies.
KA: Do you see yourself as a ‘genre specific’ author?
I do not see myself as a ‘genre specific author’ because my writing normally follows my current state of mind or heart as such I do not stick to one genre.
KA: Who are your favourite authors and what books have made the most impact on you?
The writers that I look up to the most are Nora Roberts, Robert Ludlum, John Grisham and Sidney Sheldon. These writers have a magical way with words, they will make you feel as if you are an actress in a movie or as if what they are writing about is actually what you are going through. They will put you in suspense then mix your emotions in a split second. The books which have left a great impression on me are Sidney Sheldon’s After Midnight, Doomsday conspiracy, If Tomorrow comes, Rage of Angels and the Sands of Time
KA: Have you ever received a negative review of your book? What did you do about it?
Yes I have received some negatives reviews on my book. I took note of the comments because I believe that I am a producer and my readers are my clients as such I take note of their comments and I think some of the negative comments have impacted positively o my writing because in the future I will use those pointers when writing.
KA: How do you prod yourself to write on those awful days when it just seems so hard?
When it is hard to write, I usually take a break and listen to music then I let my imagination go on a trip. After a while the urge to write on comes back and I go back to my book but honestly there are those days when no matter how hard I try I just cannot find the right words to put in the book. At that point I do not force myself to go on. I stop writing until the urge to write comes back which is usually a few days later. Forcing yourself to write when you are having a writer’s block does not bring out the best in a writer.
KA: You are at a Writers Workshop; what do you tell the eager listeners who seek to better their skills?
‘A writer should never stop reading, a writer should have an open mind, be adventurous, and should be hardworking’ this will help them become creative. Furthermore a writer never stops learning because words are a writer’s weapon as such they should read more and write more until they reach that point where they see an improvement in their writing.
KA: What’s the best perk of being a writer?
The best perk of being a writer is at that point when you finish writing your book and you are satisfied with every word, every emotion, every character and every plot in your book and you close the book with a satisfied smile and you just cannot wait for the book to reach the people.
KA: Do you believe that writers can change the world?
YES I am a firm believer that writers can change the world, in fact they are changing the world. Some books have the power to touch people’s heart, souls and lives and make them change the situations that they are in. A writer is an invisible friend that talks to you through a book, as such that invisible friend can guide, lead, motivate and educate you. Writers have the power to change the world because sometimes the voices that you do not see reach people’s ears the most as such issues of violence, abuse, diseases, climate change and unemployment can be changed through the little words that reach the readers because writers make the situations seem more real.
KA: Where can your books be purchased, online and offline?
My book is new so it is not yet online and it also has not yet reached the book stores but I am working on that. The books can be bought from me. People who want the books can contact me on Gacebook at Nikkie Cycy Kgatlhegang or on Twitter @Nikkiecycy1991 or call me on 26777667407.
KA: Africa will rise when?
Africa is rising now. It is upon me as an African to keep Africa rising by working hard to bring change and development in Africa. I can proudly say that Africa is rising because literacy is going up and as literacy rates are going up so will all aspects of development. All we have to do is keep the unity and encourage each other as we have a long way to go
KA: Inspire an aspiring African writer in one sentence…
A writer is someone who creates something out of nothing-build an empire that will inspire and not expire