David Karanja was born in 1971 in Nairobi, Kenya. He studied anthropology at the University of Nairobi where he graduated in 1995. His first novel, The Girl was Mine, was published in 1996. A Dreamer's Paradise is his second novel.
A Dreamer's Paradise
Let’s start getting your shine on. Tell us who you are beyond an author.
I am 37 years old. I am married and I have a two month old son. Besides writing books, I am a journalist. I have written for various publications worldwide in the past 13 years. For the last four years, I have been working for Nation Media Group as a Sub-Editor for The East African, a weekly business newspaper which is sold in Kenya , Uganda , Tanzania and Burundi .
Show us when you realized you had a passion for writing?
My passion for writing developed in1985 when I was in primary school. My English teacher, Joseph Mburu, started a library for us. He would get books from a library in Nairobi and tell us that we too could become writers. He encouraged us to write short stories, which he would read and give suggestions on necessary improvements. I got interested in writing and the teacher would often read my stories to the rest of the students, describing meas “a good writer.” When I joined secondary school in 1996, I wrote my first manuscript, which was however rejected by publishers. It was only after I joined the University of Nairobi in 1990 that I wrote a book that was published. It is called The Girl Was Mine and it was published in 1996 by East African Educational Publishers.
We understand that uniqueness counts in the literary world, but we equally understand there must be relatability. Tell us an author with whom you share similar writing styles.
I think my writing style is similar to that of Nigerian novelist .
Show us how your styles are similar.
Chinua Achebe writes simple prose about the lives of ordinary people while explaining the culture of his community.In my second novel, A Dreamer's Paradise , I have done the same. Through Mathina, the main character, I tried to show the challenges of life in modern Africa , which has encountered Western influence.
Tell us your preferred writing genre and the genre you prefer to read.
My preferred writing genre is literary fiction. My stories explore themes that are relevant to modern society and my concern is to help push for cultural development. I like reading literary fiction and .
Show us what your audience looks like.
My books target a general audience,though they are particularly popular with secondary school students. They are taught as literature texts in many of Kenya 's secondary schools.
Tell us an important lesson, on the business side of publishing, that you've learned on your journey.
The most important lesson is that creativity and business are strange bedfellows, especially in Africa .There are very few on the continent and these prefer to publish school text books as they have a ready market through government funded schemes. Novels are only published if the publishers have “some free money” in their annual budgets. My first novel, for instance, was published five years after it was formally accepted for publishing.
Going back to the beginning, show us the day you received your publication offer or the first time you saw your bound book.
I was given a publication offer for The Girl Was Mine on 20th July, 1991. The book was however published in May 1996. I was excited when I was given six copies of the book by my publisher. I was confident that I had finally become an author.
Tell us your expectations of an aspiring author approaching you for information about writing/publishing?
An aspiring author should first have a passion for writing. I will be willing to guide the author, including reading for free their manuscript to give an independent review of its quality.
Readyto shine? Tell us the name of your book.
My first book is called The Girl Was Mine. The second one is called A Dreamer's Paradise .
From one of your character's point of view, show us why we should buy it.
The book talks about the tribulations of Africa in the global geopolitical order. It emphasizes the need for Western countries to stop patronizing Africa but instead open their markets for the continent's export products.
Tell us where we can find you on the internet.
The books can be found at http://www.readwidemedia.com