Doris Malgwi is a Civil Servant and writer. The author of “The Crippled Eagle” speaks to TMG and reveals what informs her passion for writing.
TMG> What is the motivation behind your writing and did you just stumble upon the idea?
Ø I read a lot of books and I have always wanted to write for as long as I can remember. After reading other books I figured why not try writing myself, and I did.
I learnt how to write through trial and error. After writing for a while and talking to professionals, I got the hang of it and finally finished some manuscripts.
TMG> What influences your writing?
Ø Like I said initially, I read plenty books. When I was much younger, I spent a lot of my time in the library. Writers like Tami Hoag, Iris Johanssen, James Hadley Chase, Chika Unigwe and a host of others motivated me to pick up a pen and start writing.
TMG> Tell us about an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your career.
Ø My debut novel “The Crippled Eagle”. For years I have written and finished many manuscripts, I sent most of them to publishers and was rejected more times than I can remember. This one finally got someone’s attention and like the saying goes ‘the rest is history’. I have never been more proud.
TMG> Tell us what your readers think of your work and how do you handle criticism from them?
Ø I haven’t met many of my readers. The ones I meet, some have criticisms, some praises and some have suggestions on the book or the next one I will write. Those that criticize I learn from; I gracefully accept the praises and the ones with the suggestions I listen and if it makes sense I use it.
TMG> How do you distribute and market your books?
Ø My publishers handle all the distribution of the book. I handle most of the marketing, like interviews and books readings. I got some free copies and a few more to sell but most of the books are with them.
TMG> Why should people read your books? What’s unique about your books?
Ø Most books published in Nigeria or by Nigerian authors are mostly about romance, loin clothes and thatch roofs. Very few write crime thrillers. I think we have evolved more than our books are portraying us. Our crime finding organizations like the DSS are doing an incredible job and they need to be applauded and that’s what I am trying to do with this book. I am hoping to bring something new and fresh, hoping it will get people interested.
TMG> How do you help people through your books? What advice do you bring: What guidance, what counsel?
Ø I try to put hidden messages for people to learn from in my book. Like “The Cripples Eagle” is about courage and heroism, and how anybody can make a change, he/she just has to do something towards making that difference.
TMG> Did you ever make a change that you were sorry about later? Explain.
Ø I have regrets in my life, we are all humans we are not perfect. I haven’t done anything huge to change the course of history but I am working on it. Nothing I was sorry about though.
TMG> What are the three 3 core ideas of your profession?
Ø Fun, Entertainment and educative. I want people to have fun while reading my books, be entertained and learn from it as well.
TMG> What will readers learn from you as a writer?
Ø I wish my readers will learn about life and how to be good and influential people from reading my books. Even though I write fiction, I try to make it as realistically as possible, that way my readers can relate it to their everyday life.
TMG> Who is your audience and what response do you get from them?
Ø Everyone. Children and adults alike. I want everybody to enjoy reading my books. Like I said earlier, Criticisms, Praises and suggestions. I take them all in stride, it’s all part of the learning experience and it helps me to improve on my work and makes me a better writer.
TMG> How do you get readers’ attention towards your work?
Ø From the very first page, I try to write something shocking or very interesting to get the attention of my writers and I unravel the plot gradually, I like the experience to be like opening a present and finding something special and captivating inside.
TMG> Tell us something you would like to learn or improve upon.
Ø My editing. Since I didn’t get any formal training, I am a little rusty and tend to rely on professionals to do most of my editing work, it costs more and its time consuming. I also need to dedicate more time to writing. I am always busy, so time is something I need to manage well,
TMG> What are your challenges and how do you intend to handle them?
Ø Getting connected to publishers. Publishing industries are very choosy and even snobbish at times. Writing is very competitive and saturated so it’s difficult to get them interested even if you are good. I believe in the saying ‘if it doesn’t work the first time, try, try and try again’. Whenever I get a rejection letter, sometimes I cry, other times I get gloomy and moody, after that I give myself a pep talk and send the same manuscript to another publisher. I do that over and over till I get someone that is interested.
TMG> What do you do to stay educated about new trends?
Ø Social Media and Professionals. I watch TV, read magazines and newspapers and I ask people or pacesetters in my profession about new trends and about what is happening.
TMG> Does it hurt your feelings when your editor tells you something is wrong with your story at the last minute?
Ø At first yes. I mean after putting a lot of work on something and someone dismisses it there is bound to be a little hurt feelings involved, but after a while I understood that they weren’t trying to hurt my feelings they were trying to help me and make the book better. So when the criticisms come I put on a brave smile and ask myself if what they are saying is right, if it is, I change and if I don’t feel it is, I tell them not to change it.
TMG> How do you take ownership of your position- e.g (look for guest interaction, financials, organization)?
Ø I try to make time to attend book signing programs, avail myself for interviews and that of other writers to learn from their experience.
TMG> How involved are you in the financial aspect of your business, Budgets/forecasting?
Ø My publishers manage my finances. I send them money through for adverts, and some marketing activities.
TMG> How do you handle labour cost? If your labour is running high, what measures do you take to control it? Especially with financial issues now.
Ø I don’t have anyone working for me yet. My publishers and I work together, so thankfully I don’t have that problem to worry about.
TMG> Do you ever worry that when you send in a story the publishing company might steal your ideas?
Ø All the time. No one has ever stolen my idea yet, so I guess I am being paranoid, but that doesn’t stop me from worrying. Since I want my books published that is a risk I have to take. The only way I can get published is to put my manuscript out there.
TMG> What way can you encourage others not to depend on government for jobs but to be self dependent?
Ø Jobs are not the only way to make a living. God has gifted everyone with something we love to do and are good at. So while they are waiting for the jobs to come they should try their hands at something else and they will be surprised that the income will come rolling in.
TMG> Do you have time to socialise and how?
Ø Sometimes. I go to work, I am a wife, a mother and I write. So my time is really stretched thin. I make time though to meet friends, entertain those that come to visit me and go to functions that are important to me.