With his thriller “I’m Not A Black Widow But I Spin Webs” just out, Keith Kanambuga shares insights about the novel and his writing career. The thriller is a short ,79 pages to be exact, espionage novel set in Kenya.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Keith Kanambuga.
Tell me about your new book and the journey you took to bring it to life.
I’m Not A Black Widow But I Spin Webs is a thriller that follows the covert operations of a female-led elite force. Her team is assigned to deal with fraud and corruption cases by any means necessary. She must constantly prove herself in a male-dominated world and deal with accusations of being called a terrorist by her politically connected foes while she tries to uncover huge illegal financial dealings in a billion shilling government project.
All I remember when I began writing the novel was I had the itch to write an entertaining, action filled story that could give a new view on the intricacies of corruption cases. That was in late 2015. In 2016, while corruption cases multiplied, I started piecing it together, digging into books and watching documentaries for research and by 2017, I had the finished manuscript. It was a journey full of weeping, gnashing of teeth and pulling out hair. Sometimes I was so absorbed in the story that I felt combative. I had to tell people that I was on a deadline. For some reason, most non-writers think getting into the creative zone can be switched off and on at will. No, brothers and sisters. It’s rarely that easy so keep off when I don’t answer DMs and calls immediately. I’m doing a job just like you so we’ll catch up later.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have three new books in my head. One is already half finished. The other two are still brewing in my mind. One is actually a screenplay that puts a twist on the myth and truths of an overlooked Kenyan prophetess and heroine. I intend to convert it into a novel.
What does literary success look like to you?
Earning a good living from your talent and recognition for the impact of your work.
What’s the best way to market your books?
Social media. It’s dirt cheap, fluid and keeps you in peoples’ minds as long as they search for your name or even details about your work. My first novel has attracted attention as far as UK. It might not directly translate to sales but helps build on your brand.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
The first three books are connected. I planned the storyline that way before I started writing so that it doesn’t feel forced. The original (I’m Not A Black Widow But I Spin Webs), a sequel then a prequel. The prologue of the original actually sets up the prequel. Each will explore the main character at different points in her life dealing with different obstacles so each novel will feel fresh in its own way. The fourth, my spin on the yet to be named Kenyan heroine, will stand on its own. A few people I shared the story with already have an idea whom I’m talking about but I need to do further research on a few aspects of the world that I want to build around her.
Finally, what can we expect from you in the future and where can we get your books(s)?
I’m also a professional screenwriter so I want to complete a short film this year (2018), totally unrelated to my novels. We are in the final story development stage. My second novel, the sequel, should be out in 2019. I’m also e-publishing a Swahili novella under my indie imprint known as Flick Trix (Media). The manuscript, Kisiwa cha Minawe written by Mary Ambi, made it to the top ten of the Tuzo ya Fasihi ya Ubunifu (Prize for Creative Kiswahili Literature) of 2015 out of more than 150 entries. The award program was a collaboration of the French Embassy, Spotlight Publishers and the Nation Media Group. Mary was the first naturally good storyteller I met early in my career. I mean, she just knows how to put words together and even though I only read Swahili novels in school, hers re-ignited my interest in reading more of them. You can get more information about upcoming books and interact with the authors on our Flick Trix (Media) Book Club
To get your copy of the “I’m Not A Black Widow But I Spin Webs”, contact Keith through this email: [email protected]