Dora Okeyo – EAFF Profile

The EA Friday Feature is a circle of five writers who write 1,000 word flash fiction stories every Friday and post them on their blogs.  This week, we feature these authors, as we get to know them better, and learn what inspires them to write their stories.

Dora from Nilichoandika

I’ve read loads of Dora’s stories.  I’ve also reviewed them on this same blog, so when she agreed to be part of the EA Friday Feature, I was excited.  It’s great to have a seasoned author write with you, she makes me want to keep going as she writes on like nothing will ever stop her.  Dora writes great romance stories, however, she’s branched off to delicious African Tales in her series of books called “The Currents Series.”  The first of which was Fire, and then there was Water, now here’s a glimpse of Wind.

When the wind blows, even the strongest of trees sways.
He felt it while he was at the training grounds.
The people who witnessed it said they had never known the wind to have such anger that it brought down branches of the strongest trees to fall on their roofs.
When he felt the wind on his face, he put down his shield and ran right into it.
The people who saw him wondered why he would do such a thing, but he knew where he was going.
He was Wema.
He was going back home, back to Leo.

Author Profile:

Dora is a wanderer whose writing attempts have earned her some reviews. She is neither famous nor rich, but loves reading and drinking coffee. She is currently forcing her family and close friends to read her book, Fire. It is available on Amazon.
To follow her day in day out life, forget reality TV, and follow her on Twitter, @herhar.

Elly in Nairobi: You are working on the Currents Series:  I’ve read your second book Water, and the following book three is out too.  Please tell us a bit about this series, what inspired it, and the passion in the story.

Dora: The Currents Series was inspired by a friend’s frustration with his Father on his responsibilities and studies. He kept saying how much his Dad wanted so much from him and he was tired.  So I thought that could be a theme, where you have such high expectations of your son and they do the exact opposite (as most if not all kids do). I didn’t start writing the series immediately, because it was more like “that could be a good plot right there” kinda feeling, but as time went by I gave it a shot and now I am writing the final book in the series.

Elly in Nairobi: Have you always written fiction?  How did you get started?  What made you feel, yes, I can sit down and put down fiction on paper?

 Dora: I cannot stipulate an exact time when I started writing fiction, but its always been snippets of stories and scenes in my mind and some have made their way online while most have found themselves in my journal.
There is however a story I wrote in high school called ‘Butterfly Gossips’ that made rounds in class, and had ardent followers even during lessons, especially the Agriculture and History lessons. This made me write more.

Elly in Nairobi: How do you see fiction in Kenya?  What would you like to see happen in terms of publishing, reading, movies e.t.c..Kenyan fiction

Dora: There are lots of writers in Kenya and social media has made it easy for aspiring writers to get feedback and have their works noticed. Isn’t it odd and grand that most people have blogs in Kenya? (Yep, lots of blogs)
On other hand, there is the need to nurture these writers because there is no regulation on the quality of content, and this could go a long way in improving the quality of blog posts and the writing.  I wish Kenya had a paper mill, yes, according to my history, Webuye paper mill was closed, but we need to produce paper because now that we import, paperbacks published in the country are expensive due to the tax on imported paper. You’ll see a book by a Kenyan Writer on the shelf but it’s going for eight hundred or a thousand shillings plus, yet right outside the supermarket there’s a vendor selling international books at a hundred shillings, wouldn’t that hinder you from buying the book by the Kenyan Writer? (It sure does)

Elly in Nairobi: Does your day job affect your writing habits in any way? What is the strangest question you’ve been asked when you say you write fiction?

Dora: Yes, it does. First, my job entails a lot of traveling and I can always encounter something amusing or frustrating to write about, but sometimes I am too exhausted to write.

The strangest question I’ve been asked when I say I am a Writer, has to definitely be ‘what do you write about?’
I always wonder isn’t that old? I prefer someone asking me to tell them about a story or a character that I wrote about. It’s still on what I write about but it focuses on a specific aspect.

Elly in Nairobi: Your favorite book?
Dora: I have a long list of books, but let’s say that I loved literature and narration through a lot of books, but when it comes to dialogue, it’s Chinua Achebe I resonate with the most.

Elly in Nairobi: Do you have another hobby?
   Dora: Yes, I love photography and cooking. If it can be fried, then I will fry it, nothing gets me like preparing fried food.

Elly in Nairobi: Anything else you’d like to tell your readers, or potential fans…
   Dora: Read as widely as you can, you can bury your nose in books, magazines, not just newspapers only, yes, and it never hurts to share a review of a good book. If you read a book, you have traveled on a journey with an author, and it wouldn’t hurt to share what you’ve learned from it with other people.

Get her Currents Books Here:

Also, she has a lot  of free stories to read, download them here.

Thank you so much for answering my questions Dora.

That wraps up the round of interviews from the EA Friday Feature writers.  Look forward to the September and October Issues.  Keep writing folks! And if you read it and love it, review it too.

Fire by Dora Okeyo – Book Review

419OY5W4jgLFire

by Dora Okeyo

A boy is born in the land of Leo. As the sound of the cattle horn is heard, everyone in the Kingdom celebrates the birth of not only a boy, but the Crown Prince. His name is Ustawi.

The hands that hold him foretell a prosperous future, but just like every dream has it’s valleys, so has Ustawi’s birth. One man has seen the evil that’s to befall the kingdom under the boy’s reign, his name is Ukweli. He is the Seer.

Fire begins the story of the Prince’s life and as you read through a story rich in culture and customs you can only ask yourself, can the Seer fight the gods? Can he avert the impending doom that’s to come?

Book Review

Fire is a unique literature story, that focuses on East African folklore.  Ms. Okeyo names her characters using the Swahili language.  Each name, symbolizing what the character should be, what they could or should stand for.  For example Ukweli in Swahili means Truth.  I found this characterization quite insightful. 

The story is quite simple, a Crown Prince is born into the land of Leo, the heir to his father’s throne, but instead of joy, the Seer, Ukweli is tormented by dreams of doom and darkness as he foresees the worst.  According to Ukweli, the land of Leo is going to face hard and dark times under the rule of Crown Prince Ustawi.  Tormented by this dreams, Ukweli goes on a journey hoping to find a solution, and on his journey, he finds more questions, and proof that Prince Ustawi’s reign will cause pain to the people of Leo.

Ms. Okeyo paints a great folklore tale, weaving in East African’s own culture into her story.  You’re treated to scenes of palatial huts, cloaks made with animal skin, and elders in a circle, and that just made me smile.  The genre is a different approach for Ms. Okeyo, I’ve only read romance stories from her before, but this is different and she’s set herself apart with Fire.

It did take me a lot longer to read.  You really need to settle down and get through each page to understand why Ukweli is moving from one place to another, and enduring so much torment.  This is not a complaint, more of a judgment of my own reading capabilities, I think.  I need to hone them, or something…^_^! It reminded me of reading a literature set book, you gotta keep your focus to understand what’s going on.  This is not your fast romantic tale, definitely requires undivided attention. Once you get going, Fire is a captivating read!

Get a Copy today!

About Dora Okeyo:

I am a full time wanderer for now. You’ll find me within the pages of a book.  I have written some books, why don’t you read them and get a glimpse.

Connect with Dora:

Facebook: Dora Achieng Okeyo (like her page)

Twitter: @herhar (Follow her)

Her Books: Dora’s Books

Fire by Dora Okeyo

419OY5W4jgL

Fire

by Dora Okeyo

A boy is born in the land of Leo. As the sound of the cattle horn is heard, everyone in the Kingdom celebrates the birth of not only a boy, but the Crown Prince. His name is Ustawi.

The hands that hold him foretell a prosperous future, but just like every dream has it’s valleys, so has Ustawi’s birth. One man has seen the evil that’s to befall the kingdom under the boy’s reign, his name is Ukweli. He is the Seer.

Fire begins the story of the Prince’s life and as you read through a story rich in culture and customs you can only ask yourself, can the Seer fight the gods? Can he avert the impending doom that’s to come?

Currently reading this book, a review to come soon.

Check it out, Fire is available on Amazon’s Kindle as an e-book and as a paperback book on Amazon

Find more books by Dora here.