Part of this weeks #PointAndPose prize are these two signed books by Zambian author Chisanshi K Malama. This interview with Chisanshi gives you an opportunity to get to know what inspires her, the reason for her female centric books and how you can connect with the author via the Phenomenal Woman blog, Facebook page and Twitter.
How did you hear about the Best of Zambia competition and what were your thoughts about it?I came across the Best of Zambia when I was searching for wedding venues in Zambia. I was very impressed with the work you did with Sandy’s Creations and decided you were the best people to help me promote my books.
Why did you decide to become a sponsor for the Best of Zambia competition?I promised to make a difference in Zambia where I can. This was going to be a start and it also looked fun!
Tell us a little about the two signed books you are giving away for this competition.Bigger Than Love was my first novel. It is based on a true story and focuses on the conflict of modern society and traditional ways which may influence women when deciding on issues of abortion. It follows the life of young Melanie who, whilst on vacation in Zambia, falls pregnant and finds herself in a despicable dilemma that challenges the relationships around her.
Sweetest Taboo was the second novel and it infuses poetry and prose. It is an inspirational story about a young girl who is raped and how she eventually comes to terms with her ordeal. It vividly and provocatively brings to the fore the place of the girl child in our society, in the hope that having had such an encounter and interaction with the characters depicted, we would begin to address the issues as a society.
The exciting aspect of these books is that they serve as a mode of sensitization and education, starting from family, school community up to society level. They speak of the plight of the girl child and her place in society. They highlight the importance of giving women a voice and supporting them in becoming phenomenal women of influence. How society depicts the woman, will determine whether we build or destroy them. It is important therefore to look at all these issues that occur in our society closely, and find ways of making things better.
What inspired you to become a writer?Writers and books are mirrors of society just like films. In todays Zambia, the print and electronic media carry stories of gender violence, mainly against the girl child and women in general. Rape or sexual violence, wife battering and other forms of abuse are daily occurrences in all the ten provinces. I would like to help change that.
What is your writing process usually like?I usually begin with a poem. When an idea hits me, it is easier to fluster it all in a poem. It solidifies my train of thought so that I can always come back to it no matter where I stop.
What has your experience been like so far as a young female writer in Zambia and what has the response to your books been like?I have been lucky enough to receive tremendous support from both men and women. The books do not aim to attack either of the sexes but seek to bring understanding between the two worlds.
I hope that whoever reads these works, young or old, will begin to see the girl child and women in general in a more sensitive, positive and friendly way and above all, treat them with respect.
What has been your most challenging experience since you became a writer?Being able to write, market and edit all by myself is exhausting. I still have not quite got the hang of formatting especially when I convert from word to PDF — it can distort manuscripts. These can be very frustrating. However, I have overcome this by getting Adobe Pro XI which allows me to directly edit a PDF. I desperately need an editor though. Jack of all trades is very exhausting.
What has been your most rewarding experience from your writing career?When I get an email saying that my stories have changed someone’s life or given them a chance to begin again. There is nothing more satisfying than that. It means I have done my God given duty.
Phenomenal Woman is a member of The Best of Zambia website. Why did you sign on to the Best of Zambia and what has your experience with us been like?The Best of Zambia is a very friendly and effective service. Inonge and Percy were wonderful at the launch of ‘Silent Wives’ and very patient. They are also very supportive in responding to queries. I love that they always come up with better ways to improve the service which makes it the number one service for advertising in Zambia.
What are your plans for your career in the next few years?I would like to open a publishing company one day. I can think of nothing more exciting than being surrounded by a variety of peoples thoughts all around me.
Where to purchase the booksPaperback copies of both ‘Sweetest Taboo’ and ‘Bigger than Love’ are available in Zambia through an agent. Zambians looking to purchase one of Chisanshi’s books should email firstname.lastname@example.org with details of their name, number and location.
The #PointAndPose Competition brings you four fantastic weekly giveaways thanks to the following Best of Zambia members and sponsors: