Interview with Archie Mhlanga

Published 2018-10-24.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Absolute favorite is anything by Khalil Gibran! 'Hiawatha' - can I say that? maybe it doesn't count, and even worse, I am breaking the rules here... Dante Alighieri's 'Inferno' as Wadsworth Longfellow would have us encounter it, and breaking the rules again... Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'Kubla Khan; or, A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment'
'The Silver Sword'... 'The Stone Mother and Child' by J.B. Heaton... which I learnt to read when I was four and it made an impression. From then on I mad it my mission to question the truth of things and in things. 'The Teachings of Don Juan' and anything by Carlos Castaneda
I easily get lost here because I remember reading a poem a day or whole book every three to four days from when I was five - there is a record somewhere at my first school. I had read D.H. Lawrence by the time I was 8 or 9 and was onto Shakespeare at age 7 already.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I seldom wake up without immediately feeling a sense of unease that comes from knowing that I have not lived my best day yet and then I usually decide something has to be done about it. How do I know that I have not lived my best day yet? So easy! I wake up and feel immediately challenged! The first challenge is almost always to remember what I planned to do with my day the previous night. No matter what... I always draw a blank, and then I play a game with myself: Will I remember after some TM? If I do, bonus! And if I don't, that is a perfect signal that there is something bothering me that I have not paid proper attention to! This is usually really bad cause I'm not wired for avoidance and it scares me when I'm avoiding something deep down that may be powerful enough to slow me down.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading! I sometimes feel guilty about how much pleasure I derive from reading other peoples work. It is so hard for me on a normal day to go through a day without trying to visit a bookstore or trying out a new coffee shop just to see if they have a great couch for just lounging and reading all day - and that is when I am not doing anything related to my molecular biology career or my responsibilities in terms of helping my mother manage her mining business.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Smashwords. Nook.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes and it was some of the best writing I have ever produced. I wrote a story... well actually it was a script about a young girl from a rural town who falls in with a 'great crowed' after relocating to Johannesburg to go to school. Life just gets better, exciting and more fun till she experiences a moment of enlightenment and discovers that she is falling into a pattern that is not of her design. She decides to take charge and live a real life of her choosing. It was beautiful, honest and somewhat naive, but i burnt it in a bout of angst and wonder if I will ever produce work that is such a complex mix of innocence and depth.
What is your writing process?
Last chapter first. First chapter second. Then swap the two and do something magic.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Oh yes! A beautiful Sino/Japanese tale about a young lady who was in love with a sailor who, seeking to build a life for his child and young bride and convinced that there is wealth 'somewhere', casts off and is eventually lost at sea. The tale ends with her loyally checking the coast and lonely for the rest of her life.
How do you approach cover design?
I am discovering cover design and willing to learn.
What do you read for pleasure?
The TV Guide is always surprising especially when I ready the review just after a show.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
It's not so much a device but I enjoy reading on my iPhone.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Invite folks to buy your book in advance.The anticipation lifts sales.
Describe your desk
A paper. A pencil. Sometimes... a laptop.
When did you first start writing?
At the age of fifteen I won a writing competition and by sixteen I was done with high school and tried my hand at penning a few short stories and the beginnings of 'Let Me Gather Myself'.
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Books by This Author

Let Me Gather Myself
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 145,820. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: August 1, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Philosophy » New age philosophy, Nonfiction » Philosophy » Contemporary philosophy
This book is about accepting a misfit's life. It is a personal take on finding keys, as an African libertarian, to purposeful living in a context systemically at odds with personal, political & economic freedom. It explores true happiness & the ephemeral bliss of euphoria. It inspired by the teachings of a father who was intelligent, complex & imperfect - a stoic sage with a volcanic temper!