Born in Zimbabwe and raised internationally, the Stockholm-based writer suffered a series of artistic setbacks such as a failed school play directorial début, trying his hand at comic books, and writing short stories that mostly ended up in the dust bin. It all came together when he finally achieved a hundred or so pages, and from then, never looked back. Now he brings you ‘Red Jacaranda Leaves’, the first book in the series, ‘The Rites of Passage’.
Avast me hearties! Greetings from your Mistress of Madness P.Mattern!
Climb aboard our seaworthy vessel, The Whimsical Herald, and prepare for a voyage to a land of lush vegetation, tropical breezes, native magic and DANGER! Author Curtis Sagwete is here to launch his brand new release, ’RED JACARANDA LEAVES’!
1. You bring a rich visual background to your novel Red Jacaranda Leaves. Were you inspired by real life travels or experiences?
Oh definitely. I spent a lot of my childhood in Southern and Eastern Africa. I think the book reflects that, particularly the different geographical locations I use as a backdrop for my story telling, and the variations of culture.
2. How did Rites of Passage become a central theme in your novel?
Xolani and Nia’s rites of passages were more or less planned from the get go, however, when I got to the end of the book and evaluated the manuscript, I discovered that not only did I have the literal rites of passage ceremony in Princess Nia, and the journey Xolani and his peers embark on, but also several figurative rites of passages as well. Particularly Gamu and Prince Themba.
3. What authors do you enjoy reading and what inspires your writing?
What I was trying to do when I began ‘Red Jacaranda Leaves’ was draw from my artistic and educational experiences. I think writers like GGR Martin and Ken Follet inspired this book, particularly their detailed worlds. After consuming the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series, I was looking for the same feeling, so quenched that desire with other books in the genre from authors like Robin Hobbs. I think that set me on the fantasy journey that led to ‘Red Jacaranda Leaves’. I enjoy revisiting Chinua Achebe’s work and took great inspiration from it, particularly, ‘Things Fall Apart’. A majority of the books I’ve read are from social science course syllabuses, so I found inspiration from those as well.
4. Do you follow a writing routine, can you tell us something about your writing process?
I usually have a rough set goal, which I write towards with little regard for style and the intricacies of writing. I think the narrative is the most difficult part, so I do not want to interrupt my train of thought with technicalities. After that I go through the manuscript again, improving the language and imposing my style, adding more detail to the environment until I have fully fleshed characters and a vivid environment.
5. What advice would you give to emerging writers who aspire to be published authors?
Write, write, write!! You know, I’ve written so much stuff, some of it mildly amusing, but if you continue writing, one day after you’ve amassed a number of pages, you will know when you’ve found a good story. After that never give up.
6. What were the major influences in your choice to become an author?
That’s a tough question, but as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to write a book. As a kid I dabbled in several artistic mediums, but I always enjoyed writing the most.
7. In your well-developed cast of characters in Red Jacaranda Leaves, who do you want the reader rooting for?
Oh, that’s an easy one. Xolani and Princess Nia. Readers should also be rooting for Gamu. I think these characters are somehow suffocated by their societal norms and yearn to take control of their own lives.
8. What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of writing novels?
Outside of writing I’ve been mostly doing my regular job and furthering my studies. I’ve managed to get some travelling done, which is something I enjoy. As a writer, I think it’s important to experience things, so I try my best to keep entertained in various ways.
9. How would you like the readers to feel after they finish reading Book One of The Rites of Passage Series?
After finishing the book, I’d like readers to have had a new literary experience. That is what I set out to do, to put my own African twist on the fantasy genre.
The Whimsical Herald would like to thank Author Curtis Sagwete for enthralling and entertaining us with a passage from his unique, awesome, and richly descriptive novel ‘RED JACARANDA LEAVES’! One click this amazing tale on Amazon today and continue this exotic journey full of sorrow, intrigue and mystery.
Keep up with Curtis on his author website when we dock at Tell-Tale Publishing!
Mistress of Madness P.Mattern thinks this Fantasy novel read will shiver our timbers, me hearties! Listen to the author himself reading from his novel!
Red Jacaranda Leaves available in Kindle, Nook, and Paperback TODAY! GRAB YOUR COPY or...walk the plank!
As always steer straight and true and keep your sights on the horizon as The Whimsical Herald and Tell-Tale Publishing bring you the finest literary treasures from the seven seas and beyond!
Thank you for taking this voyage with us, readers!
Mistress of Madness
Well, do you have any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?
Lewis Carroll, in 1897, proposed this answer, "Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat; and it is 'never' put with the wrong end in front!" (raven, spelled backward, is nevar aka never...or as we like to say here at TT...never more!)