Milton Chitsime (Milton) an exceptional talented author who writes in both Shona and Ndebele caught up with our writer, Troy, Jurgen Namupira ( J.N) for a one on one interview and below are the excerpts of the interview:
J.N: Hello Sir Milton and thanks for joining me!
Milton: You are welcome
J.N: Sure. So without wasting much time, you are well known as CJ. Who is
Milton: CJ stands for Chitsime Jay. I have used CJ Milton as a pen name for a number of my books such as “Virtues of a Boy Child”, “Pride of a Girl Child” and poetry anthologies “Tsuro Ndisunge” and “Flowers of a Dry Season”.
J.N: Interesting and you are fond of children. Is this in any way related to your occupation as a social worker?
Milton: Indeed it is related. Actually, almost all of my writings have a close relationship with social work. The two books place responsibility of good behavior (that can save them from trouble) on adolescent children.
J.N: In some words, you write more to educate besides entertaining
Milton: I balance the two. I can say it’s 50 50, though fiction also educates. But I’m much stronger in fiction.
J.N: That’s real creativity, salute! So how has your writing life been so far? Has it been of great impact to you and your network?
Milton: From the feedback I received especially on my first novel “Mbona Mbona”, my writings do create the world for the readers. One of my children’s books produced a testimony about a girl child who was raped and kept quiet, only to disclose to parents after reading the book.
Such feedback keeps inspiring me to remain vigilant in the writing industry. Writing for me, in as much it has been sabotaged by harsh economic climate, has been like my shadow from which I can’t separate myself.
J.N: I can imagine how overwhelming it could have been after she testified how your book inspired her.
Milton: It informed me that my writings are relevant to the target audience
J.N: Which is heart-warming to any writer. So let’s talk challenges in the industry. Are there you have stumbled upon?
Milton: The book is competing with basic food commodities for the few bond notes people have. It loses the battle, obviously. That is the major problem I and other writers are facing.
I have failed to get my children’s books into schools for supplementary reading. They were deemed, by the responsible department within the Ministry of Education, Christian biased – leaving out other religions.
J.N: Oh yeah! The struggle is real on the block. Do you think the narrative will get any better?
Milton: In my opinion, books in general have lost ground. It now requires one’s creativity and initiatives to penetrate the rock-hard market. Without that, an enterprising author may just resign.
J.N: Would you propose for writers to take entrepreneurship more seriously to complement on sales?
Milton: In fact, writers ought to be business minded to eat the fruit of their creativity. In this era of self-publishing, it’s DIY – no promoters as is the case with music industry. Business and marketing skills are essential. A writer with zero entrepreneurship skills may be unable to buy a pen for their next book.
J.N: Food for thought really. Besides the importance of entrepreneurship, do you have any other words of encouragement to other budding and establish Writers
Milton: I encourage all writers, new or established to keep writing. But to the budding ones, they should be initiative to confront the erosion of the reading culture.
J.N: Yes! Reading culture, it has been dying a slow death lately. We have to revive it one way or the other.
So to just wrap up everything, should we expect something sweet out of CJ’s honeypot soon and what’s the vision that is guiding the creative creature.
Milton: In the soonest, I’m releasing two books. One for Christian adolescents titled “The Spiritual Side of Sex” and then a short story called “Police Ahead”.
I aim to see rekindling of the reading culture by writing books appealing to people. In this vision, delivering predominant issues is key, and on the fiction side, the secret lies in short stories that don’t demand much time from the reader.
J.N: That’s great news, wish you all the best
Milton: I thank you!
J.N: With pleasure! Would you please share with us where people can find your works and social media profiles.
Milton: Currently, my books can be found in Scripture Union bookshops.
People can search for my name and for Inforwareness Projects on Facebook and connect with me.
J.N: Thanks for your CJ, it’s been worth a while hearing it straight from a better read writer. I am also optimistic Reading culture will be revived.
CJ: Thank you too Troy