Where Honesty Never Ends.
Greetings, No Labels here!
Ladies and gentleman, making her Interviewing debut….
Let’s give a warm welcome to Marianna Randazzo as she explores the mind of Kobby Tetteh Gyampoh, our December Spotlight!
On writing Chick Lit., How it started and African Literature:
Marianna, I love women! Writing about women is just so easier than doing men. Men are complex creatures, you know. So rigid.So upright.So not fun writing about.
The thing is, my fascination about women began the first time I watched an episode of Sex And The City. They care about too much stuff they seem so real to write about.
Literature in my country prevents me from writing about women here. Everything written is grief, grief, grief. African Literature just won’t sell if the lead character isn’t weeping about a wicked stepmother or for the loss of parents from start to finish. I love most of the books written in that light. But sometimes the grief is so much I wish there was something more thrilling to read about, you know. I can’t be sad all the time.
On Literary Influences:
My major influence for I Don’t Know How She Will Do It has to be from Allison Pearson’s novel, I Don’t Know How She Does it. Though they are nothing alike, just hearing the title spurred up my creative juices to write something with a title that funky. Chick-lit Queen, Marian Keyes was also an indirect influence, her short story contest on wattpad forced me to pen this book. And though I didn’t win, I felt this book was needed elsewhere so… I self-published.Applause, applause.
On His Education and Family:
Yes, I am still in the University. First year though. Let’s not get me started on how stressful an education is in my country is. I live with my parents on the coolest (—and I don’t mean the temperatures) hill in my country, McCarthy Hill. Or at least, not since I moved to the university. My dad is a businessman, and my mum was actually living in New York (—and I don’t mean the city) as a nurse before she had to come back down here due to depression reasons, dark ages. But now she’s been declared mentally fit to live with her family and has a sense of humor as sharp as never.
On Life in Ghana:
People don’t actually believe it, but it’s kind of a Gossip Girl life in Ghana (—if you hang with the right crowd). We stopped living in trees since the premiere of that series, you know. Now all the it-kids are wondering who’s going to throw the biggest party, who’s going to wear what, who’s heading the social chain or scheming to overthrow an alpha. It’s just fun always to watch! I am not one of the cool kids, but I make sure I always get all the invites. A good writer is a good observer, you know.
None of my books are realistic! (Oops, I hope this doesn’t drive everyone away). Most are just fictitious. But of course, there’s a lesson in my every piece. Chick-lit just doesn’t work that way, lesson-less, you know. Take my debut, I Don’t Know How She Will Do It.(—jeez, sometimes pronouncing the title is just so exhausting), for example, though it mostly centers on freedom from abuse, you could deduce themes such as self-confidence, friendship, family and if you wouldn’t learn anything at all, just knowing how to laugh it out is just enough. You know, I don’t believe in the humor is subjective crap. No matter what mood you are in, if the book should make you crack a rib, you would.
On Being a Writer:
Missed the part about the writer because I never consider myself as a writer. I’m nothing (—in skills, that is) compared to what I hope to be in seven years. Still working on it though. The day I get to call myself a writer would be when I feel, really fe(—eeeeeee—)el like it. Now I’m just an author.
On His Secret Life and Family Influences:
Lol. My family never supports me. They’d die if they know I lead a secret life on the internet. They know I want to be an author—the reason I’m majoring in English, but it’s a subject no one delves into because probably they are thinking, ‘How can someone want to be an author in (the)future?’ So for the record, there’s never a family member (though I get inspired by my mum’s humor most of the time).
My friends, Freda and Nana Ama, always, always, love to critic my work. Freda is the mild one, but Ama would scream at me saying, “I hated, hated, hated it. It makes me hopeless that you’d ever get published someday. Do you ever develop?” (—that’s three years ago. Now she’s silent every time she reads my books). The mild and harsh do offer me support, but I’m just happy they’d dig into every book I write. And of course, my beta-reader, Nico, such a great help to me. She’s like more than editor. Can’t believe I’ve actually hooked someone who’s paid to edit. Though she keeps reminding me, “I’d do a better job if I’m being paid, you know.” Love her that way! She’s always putting “Love it. Hate it. Add more description here. Correct this.” notes in my manuscript. She’s just fab!
I do consider writing full-time as a livelihood. I know a few indie writers who do it. Though by then I wish I’d be signed on by a publishing house. But if it doesn’t happen, won’t sweat on it. As a chick-lit writer, there’s more freedom in going Indie. But now, I am concerned about just doing it for hobby-sakes. Hey, if my sales go stellar, I’d consider a charity org. in Africa (there’s a lot more to work on in the continent, you know).
On the Future and Blogging:
I’d actually have a real job in a lifestyle magazine, writing articles on fashion, beauty, sex and relationships to back up my writing. I’ve learnt a lot about publishing through blogging and I’d rather not repeat my mistakes in publishing my first novel. At the moment, I’m considering a career, just making a draft of it, as a ‘Humor Editor’ many chick-lit books come to me for review stressing that they are a laugh out loud reads, but they actually aren’t. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a load to smile at but not humor to make you crack a rib. Sometimes when I am going through a book, I spot places that should have been said in a particular way to enhance humor, or dialogue that could have been an addition to increase the laugh of the reader.
I’m working on a few writers’ books about that, and if they are impressed, there can be a humor editor—for just a small fee. Right now, I find joy in helping other authors and reading/reviewing the best chick-lit works. But watch out, I and my beta-reader cum editor have some co-writing (chick-lit, of course) up our sleeves, and I hope it turns out to be the best project.
On His Biggest Challenges and Some Sound Advice:
Biggest challenge in writing would be finance. Especially speaking for the Indie writer. There’s much more people to employ than an editor—or worse—one editor (shivers). You need a whole team of proof readers, a critiquing professional, and editors to make your book a masterpiece. Also a killer cover artist. It’s not the end of a manuscript after one editor. Here are some professionals:
Chicklit Plus: http://chicklitplus.com/services/editing/
Meredith Schorr: http://meredithschorr.com/contact-meredith/
Lydia Laceby: http://lydialaceby.com/critique-service/
They could actually help. Going through all of them would surely make your novel a success.
Now holding blog tours is paramount to getting your book out there. Just one wouldn’t work out and authors should make sure the audience of these blogs should be diverse as possible. Repeating info to the same audience wouldn’t be a benefiting marketing strategy. All these go with finance and lots of money. When all these are done, price your book at whatever and people would grab it knowing how good it’s been testified to be.
An example of an author who really wowed me in this field is debut author, Quanie Miller. Her “It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzy” (a winner of Chick-lit Pad’s Best Upcoming Fiction) is not only really free of errors; it’s amazingly interesting and hilarious!
On Most Difficult Part of Writing:
There was no hardest part. Oops. Scrap that. There’s always the editing part. So many headaches and chasing professionals (lecturers of English), proof readers and receiving critique after critique. Some mostly centered on, “Why are you losing your image as an African to write THIS!?” (Hate them, these African lecturers). The publishing process for the first edition was rushed and I am ashamed to talk of it. Not one of my proudest moments as an aspiring prolific and Best-selling writer.
On Good Advice:
The advice of writing more, I always find crappy. My advice should be “Do more”. Do more to improve your manuscript by giving it to professionals (—ssss). Do more to improve your book sales by hiring the best publicists. Self-promotion is OK, but you actually need people with the connections like Sarka-jonae Miller’s, http://sjpublicity.com author of the “Between Boyfriend” series and publicist who have signed authors like Ruth Mancini to Booktrope (and she’s far from OK). Best Chick Lit (http://bestchicklit.com) is also helpful in terms of Book touring agents.
I think I have said it all above about my projects. Wouldn’t waste time repeating, my fingers are going numb from typing on my smartphone. I just want all readers to patronize my blog and watch out for my books. I promise any lover of chick-lit that if they actually want a writer to make them laugh (or love), I am their guy.
Thanks for checking out December’s Author Spotlight on The Review Board. Always fans of likes, shares, and subscribes!