Where Honesty Never Ends.
Greetings everyone! The Review Board here to feature another author for the month of November, James Mutumba. This interview will be conducted by our very own Nikki Vision. Find out what she uncovers in “Seeing the Author”.
1: When did you decide to become a writer, and why?
My mother (RIP) told us stories every moon-lit evening or at the fire side as she cooked supper. This made me like stories and storytelling. I loved reading story books right from primary school.
In secondary school, Charles Dickens’s books like Oliver Twist and The Great Expectations raised my reading interest higher. The African Writer’s Series came next, followed by other books.
My interest in reading apparently created the inspiration to write. My first book Treasurable Thoughts was published 1999. However, for various reasons I did not write again until 2012 when I decided to come back actively, but this time with a reason. My writing bears a Christian message aimed at inspiring readers to connect with God for success in life.
2: With five children, three grandchildren, and your pastoral counseling work, how do you find the time to write?
The secret is in time management. Having a programme and following it as much as possible helps me to be able to write. Moreover, writing takes a lion share of the programme. Good enough we don’t have babies except when our last born (she is fond of coming home) and the grand children are visiting. Being the two of us with my wife at home eases time management.
Monday is for rest. Tuesday and again Thursday and Friday are for wring. Wednesday is reserved for pastoral work. Saturday is for recreation, and Sunday for worship and church ministry.
At the time I received the stories, I was editor of the New Century, a Church of Uganda monthly publication. The Manager of Church Human Services sent to me some AIDS patients with their stories (some were written and some verbal) for possible publication. The stories moved my heart so much that I wished many more people than the audience of New Century could read them. It is the bravery with which the patients went public and the touching content of their stories that motivated me to put them together as a book.
4: Would you consider doing a follow up book on the lives of the people featured in Smiling through the Storm – just to see how they are getting on?
No, such a book is unviable since most of the people featured in Smiling in the Storm have died. If anything such a book would contain interviews with relatives of the deceased to show how those people finally ended. But those interviews too would only interest people who have read the original book.
As you must have seen, Lukiya’s Lover is mainly for youths and young adults. These people almost all over the world get little mentoring about courtship, sex, and preparation for marriage. I meant Lukiya’s Lover to be a kind of class room.
6: The sections in Lukiya’s Lover that deal with university, were for me the most vivid and detailed passages in the book. Did you take any of that from your own life and years in higher education and college?
Not exactly. But as I have observed generally, it is at that level that most young people get most arrogant, adventurous, and in fact it is at that level that many get messed up socially. I deliberately concentrated on the section.
7: You are a very spiritual person with a strong faith. It is clear from your writing that you wish to share this positive attitude with others. How do you go about doing this, other than with your writing?
Thanks for the compliment. Glory be to God for your observation. I sincerely wish to inspire others to have faith in God and to cultivate a good relationship with Him for the worship He deserves and the wonderful companion He can be on our life’s path. Apart from writing, I do preach in churches and schools and teach in Bible Studies and fellowships.
8: What has publishing your books meant to you as a writer and spiritual leader?
My ebooks are not successes yet, and since I have not put them in print for the Ugandan audience, I am not yet proud of them at home here. However, there is a book Treasurable Thoughts I published years ago. Although it is out of print, people still remember it and I meet many who publically make good comments and give testimonies how it helped them. This gives me encouragement and motivation for more writing. As spiritual leader I have noticed that writing adds to one’s credibility.
9: What are your writing influences, and do you have a favourite author?
Presently my favourite author is Rick Warren. His The Purpose Driven Life is a big influencer. Otherwise I have read a number of books which have made a collective writing influence. The writers of Our Daily Bread, a devotional published by Radio Bible Class has inspired me a lot.
10: Where do you write? Can you describe your writing day?
I usually write from home on the days I mentioned above. Our day begins with Christian devotion ─ a measured time of prayer, sharing, and Bible study. Next we take breakfast, and then the writing begins. I writeup to 11:00 pm, of course with the interruptions of lunch, a break, TV news or a trending programme, and supper. There may be other interruptions, but we minimize these as much as possible.
11: What do you do to relax?
Monday is my day off. Apart from some study, resting is the dominant item on the day’s programme.
12: What is next for you and your writing?
Right now I am working on two new books and looking for a traditional publisher to do a print version of one of my old ebooks. I have unpublished two ebooks which I am polishing further for the purpose.