Today, I’d like to welcome Khaya Ronkainen. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Khaya Ronkainen. I was born and bred in South Africa, and I now call Finland my second home.
South Africa in the houusee. What was your childhood dream?
To become a teacher. I have huge respect for teachers. I talk this, and also the reasons why I never took up the occupation after all, in the “About” page of my site.
Nice. We’ll be sure to link that below. In your own words, what is humility?
Humility is not a low opinion of one’s self but an awareness that there’s always room for improvement, even if one is confident in their abilities and skills/talents.
Absolutely agree. Who’s your favorite Historical figure?
Nelson Mandela, because he gave me a voice. Most people are aware of apartheid system and its laws that prohibited many things in South Africa. For those who do not know what apartheid is, I suggest a read that sheds some light on the nature of racial injustices at the time, Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton, a South African author. I read somewhere that if one wants to understand a country, they must read its authors. So I hope you’re inspired to pick up the book if you’ve never read it.
Awesome. What is the most thought provoking book you’ve ever read?
Animal Farm by George Orwell. It’s the first influential book I read that showed me the power of a written word, and opened up a whole new world. I have to thank my English teacher, Mrs. Roos, during my high school years. She knew how to activate young minds and keep them engaged through literature.
Loved Orwell’s 1984. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer?
It’s often difficult for me to describe what I do to people who don’t write or create in any other form. Because what I do, writing, largely depends on an exaggerated inspiration or the elusive muse that holds me hostage, but with no promise of real money.
The most exciting thing?
Dreaming stories into being, that is, the gift of imagination.
You said, there’s no promise of real money in writing. With Indie Publishing being as successful as it is these days, do you think that’s changing? In what way can we improve how writers are paid?
Certainly, there’s no denying the success and benefits of indie publishing; total creative control, higher royalties, supportive indie communities, and so on. More importantly, indie books are doing well as traditionally published books, when it comes to e-publishing, in some genres.
When I talk about no promise of real money, I’m not speaking for all writers but my own writing, which is mostly poetry. Let’s face it, poetry is a difficult genre to sell. My observation is that people love poetry or at least, the idea of poetry, but are not so eager to buy poetry books.
We also know that no one goes into poetry for money. Poets still have to hustle and take regular jobs in order to earn a living. So, perhaps, I’ll rephrase your question, “In what way can we improve how writers are paid?” with “How can we support poets, as readers, and stop undervaluing their work by expecting to get it for free?
As you can see, I’m passionate about this topic. But I’ll stop here.
No, keep going! I love the passion and you are absolutely right. While no one should “poet” for money, no one should do anything else for money! You shouldn’t embrace any path for money specifically and yet we must eat. Looking at it this way, why is poetry or writing…why is Art in general, not expected to be profitable? Something to think about.
I suppose I don’t have to ask what genre you write in…
Poetry, because I like its brevity and the immediacy it creates. Fiction (semi-autobiographical works) because I like to blur the line between fact and fiction. I’m also a horror genre “visiting writer.” As a matter of fact, I’ve recently published my second poetry chapbook, a small collection of dark poetry.
Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?
Nature is my playground and a playmate, my husband. Seriously, I do all sorts of outdoor activities, and I draw huge inspiration from nature.
I can see that about you! Beautiful. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
Taking a sabbatical in order to go backpacking through Asia.
Thank you Khaya for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Khaya Ronkainen is an independent author, writer, poet, public speaker and many other things. She currently lives in Finland with her husband.
Her work often examines duality of an immigrant life, cultural identity, relations among immigrants, and nature. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Seasons Defined and From the Depths of Darkness, both available at Amazon Kindle.
She is currently at work on her debut novel about growing up in South Africa during apartheid era. Learn more about the writer and her work or connect via her blog at www.khayaronkainen.fi.
You can also find/connect with Khaya at:
Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07DGT7683