What you need to know:
- Catherine’s writing has appeared in Taifa Leo, Eunoia Review, Tukuka Teens Magazine, xo Lerato magazine, among other publications.
- She is the author of Scars and Healing, a collection of short prose and poems.
Catherine Wanjiru is a pharmaceutical scientist and a writer. Passionate about mental health, she discloses that she took the initiative to focus on personal formation when she started writing.
Catherine’s writing has appeared in Taifa Leo, Eunoia Review, Tukuka Teens Magazine, xo Lerato magazine, among other publications.
She is the author of Scars and Healing, a collection of short stories and poems.
She spoke to Life & Style about her reading and writing experiences.
Do you have a writing schedule?
Sometimes working with a fixed time on my schedule works, but sometimes it does not. Most of the time, I write when I can, when the inspiration comes.
Different commitments also tend to sneak into the schedule, making me postpone writing.
Tell us about your book.
My own experiences and being around those who need help with their mental health crises informed the themes of this book. The central theme in Scars and Healing is mental health, something that I am passionate about.
The stories revolve around and address sexual assault, broken relationships, and the process of healing.
What is your reading process like, and how has it helped your writing?
I read early in the morning between 3:00 am and 5:00 am. And when I am not reading at such a time, I am writing.
Reading has expanded my scope of understanding of people and life. It has also influenced my style of writing.
Reading has improved me as a person and my writing skills—by getting tips from established writers.
Do you have a favourite book?
I do not have a favourite book. It changes all the time. The latest favourite is Dave Pelzer’s A Child Called It. It details an upbringing of a child rampant with child abuse.
It is deep and brings out deep stuff in families such as child beating, starving, burning that we mostly do not talk or want to talk about; stuff people would shy away from saying for fear of being victimised as painting the family the wrong way.
From the books you have read, who has been your all-time memorable character?
My favourite character comes from a series of books called The Girl who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz. The author uses the same main character.
She is unstoppable and cares for those close to her, and does not condone injustice.
She promotes change even when the odds are against her. She goes to the extent of changing her identity to help others get out of danger.
What title are you currently reading?
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk.
Titles you want to read before the year ends?
I sometimes read a book I have heard people comment on as good, and I am looking forward to reading Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s The Perfect Nine and Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor’s Dust.
Do you have a favourite author(s)?
I do not think of authors as a favourite because I avoid ranking them as they have different styles and intentions.
Why did you not choose a traditional publisher?
Getting published by a traditional publisher is long; it involves long periods of waiting for feedback. And sometimes, when the feedback comes, they need you to change the story’s angle in a way that will not reflect what you intend the story to communicate.
Have we done enough as a country in combatting mental health issues?
We keep telling people to talk to someone. We fail to look at the root of the problems; what pushes them. Is it the cost of living, security, relationships etc.? What makes one be suicidal, for instance? Talking to someone is not enough.
What are you currently writing?
I am writing what could be a sequel to Scars and Healing. I am projecting that it will be out by the end of the year.