Joseph Shaluwa has been writing since he was 9-years-old. It all began with writing stories for his peers at his church and same stories were turned into a theatre scripts.
Last Sunday, Mr Shaluwa launched his 12th book, ‘Chotara’ at the ‘Mjue Mtunzi’ festival, a festival dedicated to get to know our authors and their books.
The first edition of the on-going ‘meet the authors’ festival aims at providing platform to celebrate nationally-recognized and local authors through their contributions to literacy, ideas, and imagination.
Mr Shaluwa is also a member of the Association of Visionary Authors (AVA). Among the many objectives of the festival is to lay the foundation for promoting a reading culture among the Tanzanian community and influence a reading among people through the activities associated with the on-going festival.
Success Magazine sat down with Mr Shaluwa to learn more about his journey into writing books and to give us a sneak peek about his new book.
What inspires you to write?
I am still looking for a perfect answer to this question. All I can remember is that I began writing at a very young age and my hobby turned into a passion gradually, unconsciously. Sometimes, I tend to get inspired by true events, which are of public interest.
For instance, if it is a current issue that matter to people, I will research about it for about four months and then when I’m satisfied with the information I have collected, I start penning down a story. Researching on a topic you want to write about helps the flow of each story.
Who are your target readers?
It’s not specific. My work cuts across different topics that can interest youth, women or adults. Though I can I am more lenient towards ‘women issues’ because they do face a lot of challenges and secondly, they are good readers compared to men.
So my trick is to convince them into buying books through stories they can relate to and that’s an added bonus as they are in a position to also convince their partners to buy.
Why is ‘Mjue Mtunzi’ festival important to you?
It involves various stakeholders from different institutions, companies and organisations that brings together both fictional authors and readers. This will result to developing reader’s database through a series of festivals that will be happening quarterly.
Tell us more about your new book.
Chotara is a complete package that has various genres ranging from politics, crime, love and investigation. Since the book has a combination of different stories, getting an opportunity to launch it a the festival means a lot to me in terms of sales as there are different personalities present.
The book centres on a businessman, who is the protagonist, accused of dealing with drugs and how he unfolds in trying to prove himself ‘not guilty’ in the midst of abuse of power and politics.
From conceptualisation to publishing a book – what is the most challenging aspect?
Publishing costs are sky-high to majority of authors here in Tanzania. Initially, I had to start small. Instead of publishing a book, I was using newspapers like Nipashe and Mwananchi for my short stories. The two stories that I started in 2004 was Lazima Nikuue and Safari Ya Kaburini. Now with AVA, we are able to support each other when one is ready to publish. We help look for sponsors, contribute and support one another.
Is a well-paying career?
It takes many years to realise it a well-paying career as it is not easy to make money on the spot. This forces a lot of us to have side jobs that can help us bring food on table.
One needs to be patient. In addition to this I am working with Global Publishers as an entertainment writer.