Victorine Mbong Shu, is not only a wife and mother of four children but also the author of an award winning book, Stop Complaining! And Bring Back Involved Parenting. And so is her daughter, Stacey who wrote the book, Smelly Cats.
We asked them some questions;
- Tell us a more about yourself. Who is Victorine when she is not writing books?
"Victorine is Emmanuel’s wife and mother of their four children. She is also preoccupied with the business of running your own business. When she is not writing or reading, she is busy with her children moving from one place to another for different reasons. Call her taxi mom. When home, she is either in her garden or her kitchen. She loves food."
- What inspired you to write this book?
"The lack of reading ability among people around me, but especially because I never owned a book growing up. My first attempt in writing was when I graduated from university. But it was handicapped by the fact that I never owned a computer. My first own and none-educational book was given to me by my big brother on my 25th birthday. After reading it, I thought oh! I need to write again. But it is over 10 years later that I got my first title published."
What is your motto in life?
"Dreams do not deliver hard work. Working hard delivers dreams."
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
"Yes, but it depends on the genre that they write on. Not everyone writes with emotions. Remember some writers are compelled by circumstances like work or upbringing."
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
"Yoh. You don’t want to know. Two completed and about 7 unfinished."
What makes your books such great success?
"My ability to address real life issues in my books makes them unique and sort-after. Remember that fiction or reality, the focus on my books is the lessons."
What kind of research do you do?
"I assume that you mean my work background right? I am in skills development and training. So most of my research are workplace surveys that lead to minimizing skills gaps."
What is the most difficult thing about writing?
"Getting your book out, from publication to distribution. It is very hard to find buyers. I really wonder where they are."
Why did you qualify to be a Parenting Conversationalist?
"My writings are focused on creating conversations for, with and between parents, guardians and caregivers. This is because we can only teach through exchange of knowledge. Just so you know, I am a communicator by educational qualifications, so I create and sustain parenting conversations."
Do you believe in writer’s block?
"Yes of course. I have suffered that many times. I am currently going through writer’s block."
Do you and Stacey ever sit and write together?
"Yes, Stacey and I read and edit together. Writing? No. I mostly write from 9 pm or out of the house, say my office or the Profound Conference Centre. Both venues are less than 1.5 km from our house. But for knowledge sharing, we read and edit together sometimes."
Who is Stacey? – Tell us more about yourself.
"I love playing and I love watching TV. I would like be on my iPad for really long playing games. I also like to be with my friends and my family during such times, except when I am on my iPad."
What are your books about?
"Sorry I have to copy and paste here, because my mother thinks that it always has to sound the same in writing. But when I say it, it is a bit different."
‘Smelly Cats’ was my first book. This book is about cats who are cousins. Even though the cats come from the same family, they are bound to have differences due to who they are. This book is about different social, religious and schooling backgrounds as well as challenges posed by the suburbs where the cats are staying. However just like in real life, the cats are naughty and behave badly. They fight a lot and even got into trouble in their school. According to Stacey, the constants fights are real reflections of daily lives. Stacey’s word, ‘life is not a bed of hatred. You grow better when you fight to spread love and have fun in a child’s way’.
‘Bob and the Snake’ is about a boy called Bob. Bob loves snakes with his whole heart. He is super happy because he heard his parents planning to buy him a real snake for his birthday. A few weeks after he received the snake, it was crown the neighborhood Hero for saving the family from a thief who broke into their house while they were asleep. Ironically, Lob the snake is the same reason why Bob runs away from home for days. During school holidays, the family decides to travel to Disney Land. Find out if Lob the snake was allowed in the plane or not and how the story ended. Stacey concludes that ‘... no matter how much they try, children will always be naughty and parents will always be hard’.
When do you get time to write?
"I write during evening or morning before we go to school. So I like wake up before 6 o’clock, I write before I am called to go bath. But I write a lot during weekends and holidays."
Do you think all you friends have at least one of you books?
"Few of my friends have my books."
Who is your biggest inspiration?
"My mother, then Nelson Mandela, then Oprah Winfrey"
What motivates you to write?
"It all started with my passion for reading and writing, but now it is because I have seen how happy people are when they know that I am a writer. But also because I want to beat my mother to writing. Now we are both on two books. But my next book will be published around August."
If you want to find out more about these to inspiring ladies, visit their website www.mbongshu.co.za.