Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lauri Kubuitsile: Wriing is 20% talent and 80% hard work!

Lauri blogs here, where she blogs about her writing, Botswana and lots more. In this interview, she reveals that she carries a handbag book; shares birthday with Martin Luther King Jnr; her obsession with her email box; and the fact that writing is serious business. Sure you will learn one or two things from her...share with us!

Three adjectives that best describe you: Hardworking, loyal, cantankerous

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I tend to trust people straight away, but when they let me down I am brutally unforgiving.

Which talent would you most like to have?
The ability to follow instructions. I tend to read a bit and just assume I’ve got it when in fact I don’t, then I set out on the project destined to stop midway through. This is why I’m dead useless with most technical things.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
1. Being without chocolate. 2. Being without caffeine. I contemplate suicide when these two happen simultaneously.

What is the last thing you read that made you laugh?
Exhibit A by Sarah Lotz. Very funny indeed.

What is the worth of a book?
Books have saved me. Within each cover is a beautiful journey that can give you an escape from real life which can sometimes be problematic.

You are Obama for a day, what would you do?
Ban ebooks. I think they might be the work of the Devil. (I vacillate on this point- don’t ask me tomorrow, I’ll surely give a different answer. But really how can we sign an ebook? It all seems unnatural.)

How does being a female Motswana influence your writing?
I’m not sure gender or nationality really matters that much to me. It’s all about life experience and your interpretation of it.

When is the best time to write for you?
I am a dogmatic Capricorn. I write Monday to Friday from about 9 am to 6 pm. Writing is my job and that job like all other jobs involves some busy work; so some of that time is taken up with phone calls, email, blog writing, editing yesterday’s writing, and paperwork. I usually finally get to new fiction writing in the afternoons, from about 3 to 6 pm. I do occasionally write on weekends too.

What is your most treasured possession?
I love my laptop and would be heartbroken if it dies or was stolen or stopped liking me back.

What inspires your writing?
Everyday life inspires my work. Also other writers inspire me. I am addicted to reading writers’ biographies. When I get an anthology, I always read the writers’ bios first. I like to know the many and varied paths people travel to get to this place.

What is your advice to young writers?
It is about 20% talent and 80% hard work. Best to know that at the beginning. Also you must have the tenacity of a barnacle.

Three blogs you always visit and why?
Blood Red Pencil- fantastic writing advice
Straight from Hel- Helen always has interesting writing topics to discuss
Book Trade- To stay current with what’s happening publishing-wise.

How will you introduce your child to literature?
I have two teenagers. When they were babies I bought them lots of books and read to them often. Our house is always full of books. I think that’s the best way to get kids to love books and reading.

What part of the process of writing do you enjoy most?
When writing books, I love the set up work I do before starting. I like laying out the plot, making character bibles, creating that world. I write my rough drafts very quickly after that, almost with a sort of desperation. All that beginning stuff is what I love.

What would a story about your life be called?
The Most Convoluted Way to get There

What is your greatest fear?
I always feel like I get better with everything I write, so I just hope I’ll live long enough to write something quite fantastic. I fear I won’t.

What do you feel about the awards and nominations?
I’m a contest junky. I think they’re important, they give writers validation and a bit of publicity and, in the rare case, a pile of money. Despite what many literary writers believe, earning money from your writing is not a bad thing.

Who are your favorite writers?
Kate Atkinson, Margaret Atwood, Andre Brink, Dr. Seuss, Kazuo Ishiguro, Bill Bryson, Tom Eaton, …. Actually my list changes all of the time.

Why do you write?
I am not one of these tortured people who must write or I will suffer untold injury to body and mind. I write because I have a bit of talent and I enjoy it. I’m slightly addicted to the gambling side of it. You send things out and you wait and it’s a yes or no. That waiting is quite a lovely torture for me. I love owning my life also.

What book are you reading at the moment?
I’ve just started Fuse by a young South African writer who goes by the pseudonym of S.A. Partridge. I’m also reading the flash fiction collection, 100 Papers by Liesl Jobson, another South African writer. My handbag book* is Nine Levels Down by William R. Dantz. (* a handbag book is the one you read in queues and on the bus. It needs to allow disruption so mustn’t be too literary and mind absorbing. Just fun.)

Which historical figure do you most identify with? 
I share a birthday with Martin Luther King Jr. and I’ve always been quite proud of that though, of course with no sound basis. He was a very pivotal person in the path to universal human dignity.

If you were to write your epitaph, what would it be?
I’ve actually made a decision, and in this case I do believe it is a final one (very few others ever are) – I don’t intend to die, so this question is irrelevant in my case.

What is the most important attribute in the business of writing?
For me the most important aspects of writing something worthwhile is the beforehand thinking and planning and the final rounds of editing. The first defines the borders within which everything will take place, while the latter polishes things so that the writing is presentable enough to go out in public.

Weird thing that ‘must’ be in place when you write
Not sure how weird this is but I am obsessed with email. I check it every few minutes. I fear some earth-moving news will appear in my inbox and it will sit unread for some minutes.

What is your philosophy of life?
“You’re only willing to succeed to the same degree you’re willing to fail” Wendall Mayes. I always try to fail spectacularly.


  1. A fantastic interview with an equally fantastic writer. Lauri is a writer to watch, of that there is no doubt!

  2. OMG, Lauri! This was fun to read. And I agree with Selma.

  3. I love this: "I don’t intend to die, so this question is irrelevant in my case." It's so matter of fact that there's no room to argue.

    Fun interview and list of questions. I'm not good when someone asks me my favorite books or authors, because the answer can change daily, depending on what I'm reading. But it was fun to read your list.

    Straight From Hel

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed the interview, I'm afraid Lauri can't help but jump off the page at you a habit the handful of shamelessly gifted writers I've come in to contact with tend to share :)