Interview with Vutlhari Tlakula

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I am not busy writing I occupy my time with training people and giving advice and what you may call consultations on different issues that include business, education, and spirituality. I enjoy viewing life analytically rather than accepting things and events at face value. I always strive to keep my writing of fiction works at more than just entertaining, seeking to feed my readers with valuable lessons about life.
What is your writing process?
I let my imagination do the dictation. Firstly, I establish what the moral of the story will be. This then guides the plot, the setting, and the characters that will be featured in the story. Then I write down an 'overview' or summary of the story as it comes to me, which I then use as a blueprint for everything that will constitute the content of the story. My stories come from my head to the keyboard of my PC as long as I am following the blueprint. I then roll with the punches of the story, slotting in a bit of humour, suspense, thrill, and so on where I feel it is appropriate. And in a story like "Prison Apostle," I already know what the follow up story will feel like in terms of intensity, lessons, etc. in order to make it even more interesting. I do not bother myself much with editorial work until I am done with the story, and then I will go through it from beginning to end at least five times until I am satisfied that it is impeccable and ready for public consumption.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
It would be difficult and not accurate for me to claim to remember the first story I ever read because it was many years ago whilst at elementary school. But I do remember the first Christian fiction story that I read by an American author. The novel - about the size of a Bible - was given to me as a gift by an American missionary that was involved in missionary work in Limpopo, South Africa, where I lived then. I could not put the book down. I enjoyed the story and the lessons that it conveyed to the reader. That story influenced my writing of fiction works. I do not imitate the writing, but as a writer I realised that lessons can be passed on to others in a fun and informal way.
How do you approach cover design?
The story dictates the cover design. I try by all means to let the cover design give to the reader an idea of what the story is about. It is not always easy to put the concept together, but I have learned that anything worthwhile requires a bit of patience instead of a hurried job. I normally come up with three or four concepts before I decide on the one that I feel is best.
What do you read for pleasure?
There are many authors whose works I love reading. However, I am very selective of what I read. But I mostly read motivational books, Christian living books, Church history and good novels that are consistent with my belief system. I love reading other people's works because I believe that that is an excellent way to grow.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I believe a tablet is a much better device as it is portable and convenient to use almost anywhere.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. I am not too sure if growing up in this part of the world did influence my writing. But to a small extent I can tell that it did, because if you read "Prison Apostle" you will realise that the trial of the protagonist is set within the judicial system prevalent in South Africa, where there is no jury. Consequently, my readers from countries where there is a jury might find my presentation a bit strange.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing back in 2008, writing a work not of my own and going through the whole writing process in consultation with the owner of the work. I offered to write because I was encouraging the fellow to write books on his teachings, so I had to make him see that it was workable.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It is a work of fiction. Therefore I had to create characters that would give meaning to the story. However, what I write about is propelled by the lessons that I want to bring across to my readers. So if I were to rename the genre I would call it 'Christian Parables' because it teaches real life issues in the form of concocted stories that are not really linked to any particular person although a certain character may have been influenced by a real person. But the story is strictly never a reflection of any person.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I believe that technology is rapidly changing the face of literature. If even in South Africa we have come to an era where scholars have a library in tablets and other electronic reading devices, then it means that confining one's literature to print copies is a bit behind syllabus. The availability of ebooks in terms of price is an irresistible enticement that fuel the rapid growth of the ebook market.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has brought about a user-friendly publishing method that is cost-effective and real. I believe that with Smashwords the sky is the limit for any aspiring author regardless of their financial background. Smashwords has eradicated the notion that to publish a book one must be at a certain level financially; therefore there is no excuse as long as one is innovative and can come up with effective marketing strategies. The fact that by publishing at Smashwords one has access to powerful worldwide distribution channels is enough to say that anyone is empowered to not only smash words but also to smash barriers of writing and poverty.
Published 2015-02-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Prison Apostle
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 46,820. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Contemporary
Jackie is a man that returned from the city to his hometown. He lives with his wife, and has been a Christian for two years. On his way home from a prayer meeting he stumbles on the dead body of his long-time friend and makes mistakes that change the course of his life forever. Find out how he turns his prison stay into a walk through pain and sacrifice to his destiny and purpose. A must read!