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Interview with Rudo D. M. Manyere

In this new interviews category we get to chat all things writing, books and the literary sphere in general with various guests. This month I have the opportunity to interview Rudo D.M. Manyere (RDMM). I first came across Rudo’s book reviews on Instagram and YouTube in 2020. Through her vlogs she gives refreshing reviews on what has become to be known as Afrolit. She is a contributing author in the short story collection, Brilliance of Hope, compiled and edited by Rumbidzai Samantha Vazhure (you can read my review of this anthology here). Her writing is honest and mirrors the realities of life. We sent Rudo a few questions to get to know her more and her work. Here is what she has to say.

[Rudo D.M. Manyere - Booktuber, Author, Screenwriter & Avid Reader - image provided by RDMM ]

*Most people know you as Rudo the booktuber and avid reader, before getting into your work as a writer, can you tell us how your journey as a book reviewer has been so far?

RDMM: How I got into book reviewing was something I had been toying with in my mind but I felt quite insecure because I had only read books but never really talked about them. I was worried about how I would look and if I really knew what I was talking about but after a while, I got into it and realised I ACTUALLY quite know what I am talking about. It had been an uphill battle, there are times I am too tired or not inspired enough to record. Other times I make so many mistakes I question if I know what I am doing (evident of the BTS I post). 

*Your collection of short stories "3.15am and Other  Stories," will be published on the 1st of  August 2022. Can you tell us about your debut book and what your readers can expect?

RDMM: Well, this book actually started as blog posts. When I was around 22-23, I was in my major creative zone I was writing daily. 23 year old me is who wrote all those stories and I am so grateful for her because I see how she saw the vision even though I was not sure if I was ever going to be published or even find an audience. There are 9 stories that stretch through Zimbabwean history, from during the time of Ian Smith, Gukurahundi etc. I was trying my creative hand at different genres hence why the stories are so different and inflict different emotions. I hope the book finds a home in people’s hearts and there is more room for my upcoming work which will be from a more “mature” point of view.

*It's not a secret that finding a publisher can be as hard as finding a needle in a haystack, especially with you being a young black African woman. How was your journey to publication? 

RDMM: Fortunately and I thank God for this, finding a publisher was not hard for me. It was actually my publisher, Rumbidzai Vazhure of Carnelian Heart who found me through my blog posts of my short stories. She had reached out and asked if I could contribute to Brilliance Of Hope first and after the feedback, I realised it was time for me to publish my own book as an individual.

*How do you feel about being on the other side where your writing will be reviewed?

RDMM: Nervous and excited but mostly excitedly. There is also that fear of people not liking your work and being criticised but my characters are going to have to fight for their own lives because it’s above me now lol. But yes, I am excited to see what people think.

*What do you enjoy about writing?

RDMM: I enjoy the freedom of it. Escaping my own reality and facing someone else’s reality. I also love the roller coaster of emotions I go through when a story comes to mind. It’s an exhilarating feeling, you know when you are falling in love, the giddiness, butterflies and how consuming it is? That is exactly how I feel when I am writing. 

[RDMM’s upcoming debut book “3.15am and Other Stories,” published by Carnelian Heart Publishing (2022) - image extracted from RDMM’s Twitter profile]

*What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

RDMM: Just write. Go for it. I would say the “person” who encouraged me and who I always thought of was Toni Morrison. Her quote, “ If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you write it”, kept me going and here I am, with a book I want to read.

*Do you see/find any value in book clubs as a concept and as a participant?

RDMM: Oh My Gosh, yes! I recently joined a book club with black women who also read books by black people and I am so glad I am a part of it. It took me a while to find one I liked and fit into to. From my book club, I have found a community of people with the same interests, made connections and also found people to do stuff with. My book club is very unique because we have sip and paint, brunch and picnics too, I love it. 

What is the place of social media in the literary world?

RDMM: I think connections and building a community for example us, we are fellow book reviewers who engage (unless you are threatening me to finish Zadzisai). I think it also opens people up to new writers and publisher’s too who are looking for contributors, book clubs etc. I think social media (to a higher degree) is one of the best things that has happened to the literary world because we can now get to know of different authors without going to the library but they are just a google search away.

*One book that you'll never forget and highly recommend to all book lovers? 

RDMM: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi has stayed with me I always recommend it. Funny it took me three trials to get into it, but once I did, I was hooked. I would also recommend Book Of Echoes by Rosanna Amaka.

*Lastly, what's Rudo reading? 

RDMM: Well, Rudo is currently reading more than one book at the moment:

i. Dele Weds Destiny by Tomi Obaro

ii. You Made A Fool Of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

iii. Honey and Spice by Bolu Babalola.

Rudo’s debut book "3.15am and Other  Stories," is currently available for pre-order from all major global online book retailers. Preorder the book, get in touch with Rudo and support her work here.


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Thank you so much for tis opportunity. I hope my work finds a place in your heart.🤍

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