This week’s book personality doesn’t need an introduction. Talented author, Mamotladi Ivy Matloga’s first published novel, Madness in Duggart, put the spotlight on the stigmas surrounding mental illness, especially in rural communities and was very well received. Her second novel, Making Life and Lemonade is currently in its production stage, and Kwarts Publishers is very proud to be part of this amazing woman’s writing and publishing journey. We asked her a few questions about herself.
For me, the question should be what it is I do when I am not working at my day job. I say this because I work full time as a public servant and that, together with parenting, takes up a good portion of my time. Writing is what I do during my “spare time”, along with reading and occasional outings. Of course, I would love to be a full-time writer one day.
How would you define a successful writer?
Although success is really a personal thing, I think over and above being able to complete and publish a book, a writer realises success when their book(s) works to serve the purpose for which they were written. If your intention was to motivate people and you manage to motivate even a single person, that should count as success.
What is the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?
I have heard that it is usually a challenge to write about characters of the opposite sex, but I have not come across challenges based on the gender of a character. It might be that I do not know what I do not know in this regard. It could also mean that my gift of observation and analysis sufficiently makes up for whatever shortfall there might have been.
Where is your favourite place to write?
Mostly, anywhere but the study. I do not like to feel like I am working when I write (or read or study), so any formal setting is a no-no for me. I cannot do the study. I can write any place where inspiration would find me. But I tend to enjoy writing on my lap – be it in bed or on the couch in front of the TV, in the garden or on the patio.
How does writing change a writer?
Other than the fulfilment that comes with being free to write and opening up a whole world of possibilities and stories, writing makes one much more appreciative of other writers. It surely adds to the respect one has for authors who continue to produce great stories despite the many challenges they come across. It also makes one less critical, I think.
The other thing that writing affords the writer is perspective. One certainly looks at the world, including events and behaviours, in a completely new light.
What is the role of a publisher for an indie author?
I think the primary role of a publisher for an indie author is providing and facilitating professional services that would result in a product that is readable, presentable and marketable. My publisher, Kwarts, have however demonstrated to me that even as an indie author, the publisher could go a step further and provide invaluable advice pertaining to marketing and distribution, and even offer encouragement as far as the writing journey is concerned. This is what makes them my publisher of choice.
What marketing tips do you have for aspiring and perspiring writers?
Firstly, writers need not perspire because the race is theirs to run, no one else’s. People should decide on the target market for their work (and think outside the box in doing so), and draw a marketing plan. Your ultimate goal and budget will guide you in deciding whether, for example, you will require the services of a professional marketer or publicist, or not. There are no hard and fast rules; one just needs to weigh one’s options carefully.
Is being a writer a blessing or a curse?
Though I’d admit that given a choice I would probably have taken the gift of singing instead, it would not have been because I love writing any less. I do really love to write and delight in the power of words to move and inspire. It is an absolute blessing to be able to create stories and characters that talk to people and positively affect their lives. I find it both liberating and empowering.
If your name was a verb, what would it mean?
I love my middle name because it implies something that is evergreen – which for me signifies constancy and timelessness. This, in a way, also speaks to fidelity. That defines Love for me, and Love is my name.
What work have you done with Kwarts Publishers?
I am grateful to have found Kwarts Publishers. I published my debut novel, Madness in Duggart, with them. I also contributed a story titled “An African Christmas”, to an anthology called Happy Holidays which Kwarts also published in collaboration with the Facebook group “Books & Everything”. My second novel, Making Life and Lemonade is in the process of being published by Kwarts, and because of the wonderful support I have received from my publisher, I see myself working with them for many years and books to come.
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