|Edwin Savatia during the interview|
Edwin Savatia a final year student at
Maseno University shares with readers of The Burning Splint about being published at 23 years and challenges facing young writers in . Kenya
Burning Splint: Who is Edwin Savatia?
Edwin Savatia: Am a Kenyan born on October 1988 in
. I went to Vihiga County St. Joseph’s primary in Webuye and am an alumnus of . Currently am a final year student of Bachelor’s of Arts Communication and Media Technology with IT in Kakamega High School . Maseno University
BS: What is the genre of your writing? Can you describe the style of you writing?
ES: Am an author with a lining to fiction covering adventure and human interest stories. Am also a poet with over 20 poems on unpublished manuscripts, on top of my published book Blood Creep Ghoul, I too have one complete manuscript Witch of Mikovo: The 13 Mortal Hearts and another one still in the pipeline.
BS: Please highlight to the readers about Witch of Mikovo: The 13 Mortal Hearts?
ES: its main theme and setting is about culture and environmental issues in an ancient African town. A town inhibited by a council is inherited by a tyrannical major from his erstwhile humble and peace loving father.
BS: When did you start writing, and from where do you draw your inspiration?
ES: I started writing seriously in form 3 this was in 2005. I got then, and still get my inspiration from society in issues like betrayal, unrequited love and other emotional theme. I see stories in many things as family setup, society and politics.
With time though I took to fiction to express myself better.
BS: As a young author with your first book, who is any established mentor author inspiring you to write?
ES: locally I get inspired by David Maillu and Mejja Mwangi with his book Cockroach Dance; Nigerian Chinua Achebe and Kem Nankwo with his book Danda; and R.L. Stine.
BS: How to they inspire you?
ES: It’s the way they narrate a story simply with the African traditional touch.
BS: Let’s talk about your current book Blood Creep Ghoul and how you came to publish it?
ES: The book was published on February this year by I Proclaim Publishers where it costs about Ksh. 800 online and Ksh. 1,200 when ordered in hardcover. An author friend proposed I Proclaim Publishers which is an imprint of Dorans Publishers.
BS: I meant how you came about moving online away from established publishers in
ES: I was coming to that actually, I tried three local publishers, 2 of them didn’t bother to reply which was disheartening while Longhorn Publishers was positive by reading the manuscript and replying at about 2 months and they had a problem with the theme.
BS: As a young writer what are the challenges facing you and others in Africa with a bias in
ES: The biggest is getting your first piece published and cutting a niche audience in fiction with romance, gangster or a war front story from conversations. Most publishers too don’t believe in young writers and worse still if a young writer is trying to break a niche.
BS: What about as a student and among friends and a family?
ES: I don’t follow you, in what way?
BS: I mean in line with challenges as a writer with time for studying and support from people closer to you with a make believe attitude that the profession doesn’t pay enough?
ES: Surely…. writing and editing stories is time consuming, but my family and friends are very, very supportive perhaps since writing is in line with my profession in Communication. Blood Creep Ghoul ‘s acknowledgment would attest to this.
BS: Talking about the Blood Creep Ghoul may you give us a gist of the book.
ES: it is a 142 page fiction book where a platoon sets camp in
with an aim of attacking another camp for gun powder which they successfully do. The ensuring counter offensive and fighting triggers a reincarnation of a long dead soul of a ghost. Kra Valley Forest
BS: The blood creep ghoul.
ES: Exactly and that is where the book gets its title.
BS: How can readers access a copy?
ES: I Proclaim books is based in Pennsylvania USA and the book is available in online copy and hard cover by ordering it on the following link: http://ipaustore.com/ip4923.html they can also place an order and inquiries from my email and through The Burning Splint (contacts are at the end of this interview).
BS: As a Kenyan writer published by a
publisher what is you take on the country’s publishing environment? USA
ES: Honestly, publishers should not take long with author’s manuscript because any feedback Is better than an agonizing silence. They too should give a chance to young writers to create a more diverse market.
BS: Comment on the notion of Kenyan youths being poor readers with invasion of social media and electronic media?
ES: The readership is low with a laxity caused by reading for immediate knowledge but not literary work during a leisure time.
Additionally, there no initiative to get an original copy with most across the age groups opting for pirated version affecting the industry. Equally publishers and readers are afraid in trying out new readers and opt for legends like Chinua Achebe.
BS: May you take this privilege to recommend 5 books from your shelf to the readers of The Burning Splint. Please leave a short comment after the author and the title?
ES: On top of the list if Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, because of its mastery in capturing the African story and society. Secondly is Philip Gourvetrich’s We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families which gives a real life experience of Rwanda’s genocide.
Thirdly is John Grisham’s The Last Juror with its mastery in court room drama, Mejja Mwangi’s Cockroach Dance would follow with the best of human life and society of the Kenya’s 70s and finally Kem Nankwo’s Danda for throwing humor in Nigerian culture which reflects to other African countries.
BS: Career wise can you take writing seriously as a profession?
ES: Most definitely, am confident to pursue it because it is a passion and the best way to express myself not only as a write but to the all society.
BS: Patting shot?
ES: The society should embrace young writers by embracing their work with a positive criticism this would increase more literary works by Kenyans and Africans at large.
Most important too is the inception of new media in publishing which should be harnessed in the publishing industry without curtailing the professional standards.
BS: Thank you Mr. Savatia for your time The Burning Splint wishes you success in your endeavors?
ES: Thanks Mannu….. I mean Mr. Odeny; I wish you success in your career too.
(For further inquiries contact the author on firstname.lastname@example.org and the blogger at email@example.com or follow the following link directly : http://ipaustore.com/ip4923.html)