I welcomed you to the Land of Leo in my first post.
I started working on the series (Currents) in 2013 sometime around June. It is always cold and wet here in Kenya at around that time, and I do not do well in the cold season. It is something about being born when the sun is shining and living in one of the hottest towns in Kenya that has made it so.
I doubted the viability of the story because based on my sketches and notes, there was so much going on beneath the surface that I doubted if a reader would get it. However, some time around April last year, my grandmother told me that there used to be Seers among the Luo tribe of Kenya.
I am Luo and this was news to me.
So, what did these Seers do?
She said, “they did what the people were supposed to but were afraid or selfish to do.”
What exactly were these things?
“They helped during the naming ceremonies, weddings, handling of disputes, and sometimes they prayed to God to provide rain.”
So, how come we never hear about Seers? Why are they left out in history?
“They were very important people among the Luo, but most of them sat in the council of elders and with time, people saw them just as members of the council, but trust me they were there and their wisdom was heaven sent.”
I looked up all this information in the month of May, but could not find anything. I was pissed, because I felt cheated. How could historians forget to mention this important fact? There were Seers and I was not taught about in school! I felt so cheated that for two months I did nothing but dream of Seers and how wise they were, and in September last year, I had already written ‘Fire.’
I have always wanted to publish a book and have people read my stories, but there’s so much for me to improve on, and sometimes when I feel like giving up, I am reminded of how much I struggled with the fact that Seers existed among the Luo. I am reminded that during this time, I simply wrote the story.
I wrote in matatus. I wrote while cooking. I woke up in my sleep to jot down an idea, and wherever I went, I looked at people and watched them work simply because I needed to have some background to my story.
You ought to get this book. It’s a wonderful read. I like how she uses common Swahili names for the characters which helps the reader to morph into the story and keep up.
I started out with the elements of nature in mind: Fire, Water, Air/Wind, Earth.
The story uses these elements to highlight the challenges that the young Prince Ustawi overcomes in his quest to live up to the legacy that his people and especially his father desire.
I have also realized that I have to do more editing. I am currently working with an editor who is teaching me how to tweak my work. I have to release ‘Water’ at the end of this month and until then, I will be doing nothing but revising my writing.