In Conversation with Temba Magorimbo

I have had the pleasure of interacting with Temba Magorimbo, the author of Lake of My Heart and many other books. The links to his novels are at the end of the post. I will be posting my review for the book soon. I can relate to the setting of the book having had the pleasure of living in Africa (Zambia and Malawi) for a small part of my life! Here is what Temba has to say:

  • What/who inspired you to start writing?

I remember around the 1978-79s when Rhodesia was in transition during and after the civil war which had black nationalists against the Ian Smith led Rhodesians. I used to listen to radio stories on air both at school and at home. School had radio lessons for grades 1 to 7 whereupon teachers moved from one class to another giving other radio sets which worked on batteries. I listened to those stories attentively. I tried first to write radio stories copying the heroes and villains which were read in series. The in 1980 I went to secondary school (high School) where I was introduced to the library. It was different from junior/primary school were books were available in several classroom promoting reading culture but without the presence of a real library. There I delved into series authors with a good following amongst us newbies like Franklin W. Dixon [the Hardy Boys], Carolyn Keene [Nancy Drew], Captain W.E. Jones [Bigglesworth], Enid Blyton [Famous Five] among other books which encouraged me to write. I then tried writing crime series complete with fictious cities on beaches and the sea. Zimbabwe is a landlocked country so it’s difficult to describe a stroll on a beach when we don’t have sea fronts.

  • Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in Rhodesia in a city called Gwelo [now Zimbabwe and Gweru]. My father was a police constable in the British South Africa Police based in Gwelo. I went to junior school for a term in 1973 at Bumburwi Primary School in Old Mkoba thence I moved to Senga Primary in Senga when the family relocated from Mkoba Police Camp to Senga where I finished my junior school in 1979. I did my secondary (high) school for two weeks at Nashville [multi-racial and middle density school] before being booted out for lack of payment of fees. There was a library at Nashville High but boy, two weeks was not enough for me. I moved to a cheaper school within the same high density I belonged to, Ascot Secondary until 1983. I am currently working for the government of Zimbabwe in Chitungwiza.

  • What is your favourite genre?

Contemporary Romance

  • Which is your favourite book?

I don’t have favourites but the last book I wrote should be Butterscotch [meet me in Alberta] by that distinction it should be the favourite, for now at least.

  • Who is your favourite author?

 I like our Zimbabwean brother, Shimmer Chinodya who wrote novels like Farai’s Girls and Dew in the Morning because those motivated me especially the last. He did explain in one television interview that Zimbabweans would rather buy beef than but a novel. That was a hard but true bow.

  • What are your hobbies?

Church, reading and writing, listening to good music and watching television especially if there is English or Barclays sponsored English soccer.

  • Perfect holiday destination?

Why not arriving by air in Nairobi, Kenya enroute to a 2 or 3-day climb to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in good weather with a lot of bananas, roast wild game meat and drinks on the way. Do you think I would lose or gain weight either way up or down the mountain?

  • Describe a perfect writing day.

There must be good weather, not hot or too cold, light wind and there must be electricity. You people take running water and electricity for granted. Here it’s a national slogan of diesel and petrol generators, they just cut us off. Without power, I can’t use the desktop that I use when writing fiction. Then I need to have had a good night’s sleep after a hearty supper with no arguments before or after. We don’t want those arguments in our fiction do we? There is nothing as sleep inducing as a blank computer screen. Then internet should be fine, on line and in speed. Because when you are researching why Bombay isn’t in Pakistan you don’t need spend five minutes on the internet for that.

  • Which is the best part of writing a story?

Finishing a story is the best because all you will be doing is change here and there, delete a word and add several or delete an entire paragraph in order to produce the hook after the book is finished. At times you will be checking facts against too much fiction. Like for instance international standards remain as there are in fiction or real life.

  • How much inspiration do you draw on from real life experiences, with respect to plot, characters etc.?

Real life only comes in when you need use research. There is no need to re-invent the wheel in fiction. The readers known Pythagoras’s Theorem if you write about it or the Decision Tree in Mathematics, make sure you know what you are doing. Characters come from the mind and observation never from real people. I don’t see a beefy neighbour then describe a character who is a drunkard and as beefy as my neighbour. I want all my royalties, not some of them ending up paying compensation next door.

  • Who among the characters you created do you like the most and why?

In the book Off The Eagle’s Claws I like Mark Rainger because even though he is in his late 30s he still believes in love. He fought on the losing side in the Rhodesian civil war yet he remains rooted to the country where his fellow Caucasians are getting loud mouthed by every upstart politician. He remains loving the bush, which hid him from the guerillas at the same time providing a home away from home for the same guerillas he in turn was hunting or vice versa. He continues loving a woman who is married until fate gives him an opportunity to try the hot seat.

  • How much do you relate to the characters or incidents in your story?

I don’t put myself into the character or do I put personal incidents because all my eleven or so books with eight published would be autobiographies. I have learnt to be moderate when writing, not too happy or too sad lest you allow your personal feeling to intrude too much into the stories.

  • What kind of impact do your stories have on you?

To me the stories are real and breathing fire.

Book Links:’s-Claws/dp/1499345453

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