Born and bred in Kenya, and now living between Nairobi and Sydney, Australia, N.K Read is a storyteller and journalist who has written for several publications and news outlets including the Kenya Television Network, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Guardian UK as well as directed three documentary films, two of which played across cinemas in Australia. Other than a great coffee, what gets her up in the morning is her drive and heart for Africa. She enjoys hiking, running and cooking with her husband and reads voraciously in her very ‘spare’, spare time. ‘CHILDREN OF SABA’ is her first published novel.
What inspires you to write?
Africa. For many years, Africa was synonymous with war, strife, disease and poverty, or alternatively wildlife. Yet, as modern Africa rises, there is a rich legacy of majesty, splendor and glory of its peoples, past and present, that has yet to be fully explored. After I discovered the link between the tribe of my birth, the Meru of Kenya with the enigmatic Meroë of old who once ruled Nubia and were integral in the ancient Kingdom of Sheba and further back in time with the ancient First Race, I sought to bring their story to life, in the best way I knew how – books (for I’m an avid reader as well). Thus ‘Children of Saba’ was born.
Tell us about your writing process.
I first start with an outline which I fill out slowly, after doing my research, with snippets of information and ideas. I also write out full character sketches which I can always map language, tone of voice, attitude, etc back to. I then write out the story and finish with dialogue, which to be honest, I find the hardest aspect to finalise and get absolutely right re: its nuances and flow.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Not really. I tend to ‘watch’ them though – as if studying a friend or person infront or around me. I ask myself, what are their characteristics, why would they do that as opposed to this, what are their motivations and their hidden desires, etc. It’s pretty fun actually. I also base their actions/habits on real life people I see/know; the people around us are rich fodder for a great character.
What advice would you give other writers?
Never give up. ‘Children of Saba’ is my second attempt at a major fiction work. It took over a year to write, many times waking at dawn before work and staying up late to finish chapters. This was all in between a fulltime job, organising a wedding and dealing with day-to-day distractions. If you believe in your story and enjoy writing it, then keep at it. You will be well rewarded for your effort!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I approached my publisher Afrikkana and they loved the idea of the book so much they supported it. Given they’re a smaller house, we’ve decided on an eBook run first followed by a print launch in early 2015.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think its bright. Everyone has a story and it’s awesome to see and read what comes out of the imagination of people. In my book, the best is yet to come!
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
Fantasy epic fiction
What formats are your books in?