An Interview With Anisha Gold
Most times people wonder, “how can I get to write so beautifully like these people who’ve put out good work… how can I produce a good novel?” You would be glad to know that it’s just like learning how to ride a bike. So the best way to learn how to write a novel is by just doing it. However you should know that writing a novel can’t be accomplished in one beautiful day when you have all the muse and inspiration, with your coffee/tea steaming hot in that quiet awesome day. It requires good doses of commitment and perseverance. Also at this stage you should know that…“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking its good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”
Loudink took some time to sit down and have a chat with one of Zambia’s published novelist and influential blogger, Anisha Gold
Who is Anisha Gold
Also known as Anisha Namutowe. I do not like to be boxed as this or that. I usually tell people that am a lot of things, but if I have any desires upon which I would love you to remember me by, it would be that you remember me as a writer.
- As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
- I wanted to be an investigative journalist. My parents wanted me to be a lawyer because of the prestige that comes with the career. They thought seeking any other career would be a waste of my intelligence. They were wrong of course.
- When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
- After I read Lucy Montgomery’s novel Anne of Green Gables. I loved the story so much and related to the protagonist so much I wanted to tell my own stories.
- What is your writing/creative process like?
- When an idea for a story comes to me, I make sure to write it down as raw as it is in my head. I literally disappear into this new world of characters and depending on which point of view am telling the story from, I become a part of that world. I’m either the omniscient observer, the one that knows all the thoughts and secrets of these people in this foreign land I’ve invaded. And like a reporter or investigator, I get to write down everything I observe and report the news back to my people… in this case my readers.
- If am telling the story from a first point of view, I become the protagonist. Whether male or female, I get to feel and experience everything that the character is going through and I write it down exactly as it feels.
- The next process naturally is me going through what I’ve written as a reader. In actual sense, am always the first reader of my stories. The first time am writing the story, it’s not as an author, but rather as a character or observer. I only become the author after the first draft is done. At this stage am taking note of all the inconsistencies, the mistakes, and the plot holes.
- The third stage is where I start to write with a critical writers mind. Taking into account all the mistakes jotted down in step 2. Cutting the long and running sentences, controlling the emotional outpour and expressions of the characters, making them more authentic and relatable, and so on and so forth.
- The last step is me editing the manuscript… or at least attempting to. But I pretty much leave much of this work to the professionals I hire to examine my work.
- What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
- I write whenever the feeling is right. I don’t have a job that restricts me to a desk from 8-5 so am free to manage my time anyhow I want. I only accept work that won’t interfere with the running of my personal businesses. I always make sure I meet my deadlines because only then will I have the freedom to completely disappear into my literary world without any distractions.
- Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
- I get inspiration from everywhere. From observing things or people around me. Sometimes I can be looking at a table and imaging it to be a not so inanimate object at all. I ask myself what it would be thinking if it had the capacity to do so? Other times I watch people around me. Could be at a restaurant. Maybe there’s a couple having dinner or fighting. I create scenarios in my head about their background, how they got to where they are and why they’re acting the way they’re acting. Every now and then I watch a movie or read a book and get ideas about what could make an even greater story.
- How long does it take you to write a book?
- So far I can say two years because that’s how long it took to write my debut novel. But there were extenuating circumstances so I can’t really say all my books will take that long or that short to write. I have written some very long stories on my blog that only took a couple of months or so to finish. It just depends on my circumstances around the time I am writing.
- What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
- Writing has made me become an over thinker. Or maybe I was even before I started writing… maybe that’s why I ended up writing. I don’t know. All I know is that often times than not, I tend to over think scenarios. I have even become worse now after suffering emotional disappointment because I had deliberately chosen to NOT OVERThink things. Biggest mistake ever. So now I overthink everything. I turn scenarios left, right, and center and evaluate all possible outcomes, I question people’s motives, the things they say or don’t say. I read body language. You name it. I treat people around me and those I encounter like characters in my books. It makes for a very exhausting life. And so to avoid that, I become withdrawn and avoid social encounters. However, I still manage to be the Belle of the ball every now and then whenever I embrace the chance to socialize!
- I also tend to over explain things to people. I think am even doing it right now! I tend to write long sentences to people because I don’t want to leave them room to misinterpret or misconstrue what I have said or not said. I do this because I am always reading into things. If someone responds to me in very short curt sentences, I feel like am disturbing them and they’re busy. So I quit the conversation. I imagine myself in their shoes and come up with conclusions that are sometimes incorrect. I enjoy seeing things in black and white and unraveling complex puzzles so much that I easily get bored or irritated when something is too plain or deliberately gray.
- When did you write your first book and how old were you?
- What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
- When am not writing, am working. I don’t consider writing my books as work. It’s more of a passion. Fortunately, a passion that happens to also be financially rewarding. I take on independent projects here and there as a way of making ends meet. If am not working as a PR or Communications manager for some company, then am doing some freelance work locally or internationally.
- What does your family think of your writing?
- I call my family my cheerleading squad. They’re the best when it comes to support. I have been blessed beyond what I deserve. My sisters Thandie and Eve are right at the top of my squad. My brother in-law Bruce Dunlop is right under them. My brother Jack and his wife Glendah are next in line. These guys have accepted me for the weirdo that I am and they’re always understanding and accommodating of me. I shouldn’t forget Andrew Simutowe. He too is a strong part of my squad. He has so much faith in me and its sometimes humbling. I have other siblings as well but I wouldn’t say they actively support me. They have enabled me to be where I am today but I am not so sure if they like the path I have chosen or not. Either way, I would say I have the most supportive family and friends.
- What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
- That not everything is always as it seems. That sometimes we are too busy creating stories in our heads that we miss the mark. And sometimes things are really what they appear to be. It’s a paradox I know, but that’s just how life is.
- How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
- I have only written one book – Echoes of Betrayal. And so far it’s my favorite!
- Do you have any suggestions to help someone who wants to become a writer or if they a already writers to become better writer? If so, what are they?
- For those desiring to be writers, I would encourage them to start writing now and sharing their work with their friends. They should ask for feedback and honest criticism. Maybe even develop a thick skin that will allow them to accept criticism without being emotional. Criticism helps us grow into better writers. Just because someone says your story isn’t good enough or your plot is lacking one way or another does not mean you should give up writing altogether. I have seen some so-called editors and wanna-be veteran writers brutally attack and shame wanna-be writers with so much disrespect it can make you want to give up altogether.
- If writing is truly your passion, invest more time in developing your craft. Take up creative writing courses online. They’re plenty free ones online. Do some research, read more books. Keep practicing. If you’re already writing, do the same, never stop learning. Become better and better.
- Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
- I hear from them a lot actually, thanks to my Facebook page and blog. They bombard me with messages whenever I delay to post new chapters or episodes! Most importantly, they give authentic feedback on my stories. You always know when they’re happy or bored by a story.
- Do you have a favorite genre of books you write?
- I would say fiction is my favorite. I enjoy Romance and Drama a lot. But every now and then I write some Suspense. I have written some non-fiction pieces before. Wouldn’t call them favorites but I do enjoy writing them too. I happen to write poetry as well. Dark poetry is my favorite. Although I have written some flowery ones as well.
- What do you think makes a good story?
- Wholesome characters make a good story.
- How does one get their books published?
- You can either self-publish your book or you could opt for the traditional way of publishing where you submit your manuscript to an established publishing firm. It all depends on your preference… and sometimes budget and patience.
That was the chat we had with Ansha Gold. But if you feel like there more questions leave them in the comments below and we will most definitely endeavour to answer you, in addition if you have any suggestions on the type of people you’d like to learn from feel free to have your say by leaving a comment in the section below or contact us