Tales and stories have been passed down from generation to generation since the beginning of time.
How they are narrated, penned and retold has evolved over the ages.
What remains a constant however, is the significance that storytelling holds to a society. It brings people together; enlightens them on what was, what is, and what may be; and gives a refreshing touch to the day to day activities of life.
It is because of this that Leti Arts strives to nurture a culture of storytelling by creating a platform that inspires and encourages both storytellers and audiences to build a community beyond age, race and gender that shares and connects through their love for storytelling.
Leti Arts’ Afrocomix app is thus a platform that allows stories to be told in any shape and form be it as an illustration, a comic, a novel or an animation. As such we value and appreciate individuals who share their thoughts, experiences and inspiring messages through the stories and tales they tell in whatever medium they choose.
One such phenomenal individual is Elizabeth Dwamena-Asare whose exceptional talent as a storyteller ably captures the attention of all who read through the words she pens down. Her electrifying, alluring, humorous and thought-provoking stories always leave readers at the edge of their seat eager for more.
As Afrocomix, we are therefore thrilled and honored that we got the chance to have a chat with her on her life, journey and experiences as a writer and, even more so, that we get to share it with you all.
Therefore, without further delay, let’s dive right in and get to know more about this incredible writer.
Share a little bit about yourself…
I am Elizabeth Dwamena-Asare, a Novelist, a Human Resource personnel and an Environmentalist, who was born and raised in Ghana. And I am a proud 90’s kid. (giggles)
So, I started writing at a very tender age. An age where I equally enjoyed reading, and would skip hanging out with friends just to complete a storybook I borrowed from my school’s library. Back in school, English was my favorite subject. But now, as an entrepreneur, my focus has shifted a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the English language.
Well, in terms of personality, I describe myself as a phlegmatic with a spark of choleric. But the sanguine aspect surfaces when I am having fun in the right company. When it comes to the entrepreneurship aspect, I am a builder and an Innovator.
Currently, I am back to school and studying for Masters while writing my novels and running my business alongside. My hands are pretty full by grace. (lol)
Despite my busy schedule, I enjoy volunteering and love to spend time nurturing kids. I’d say wine is my color and I go for any good meal with less spices that will keep me running for the day. Apart from reading and writing, I enjoy cooking, cleaning and travelling to places. If there’s anything I never tolerate or encourage, that’s body shaming and arrogance.
Oh, I also love to practice public speaking in my room with an imaginary audience listening attentively to me.
If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?
What drew you to be a writer?
Right from childhood, I enjoyed watching stage performances and reading fairy tales which motivated me to imagine my own characters and write about them with ease. I could observe things around me and quickly put them into writing as well. And right from basic school through to high school, I found myself in the Writers, Drama and Debaters’ Clubs.
For me, writing came naturally; I didn’t have to struggle at all. That’s when it dawned on me that writing is my calling so I decided to make great use of it. All I need to do is look out for opportunities to develop my skills because times keep changing and I must be in tune.
What do you count as the first write-up/ story you ever wrote?
My first write up? That’s pretty hard to remember. Well, I wrote a lot of stories as a kid. Let’s see… What I can clearly recall is ‘Beneath Reach’, a teen fiction I wrote in high school. So, I’ll consider it as my first. Yeah.
What books or stories have you written?
I have written seven novels with two currently published. I’m looking forward to publishing three novels this year.
So, there is: ‘Smiling Devil’ and ‘Shania’s Devil’ which have been published, and the unpublished ones are ‘Cell Gang’, ‘Play the Game’, ‘Sisters’, ‘The Maiden and Who Cares?’ which are all in the pipeline.
Of all the stories you’ve written, do you have a favorite one?
Yes. And that is Shania’s Devil which I’ve been making noise about for months now (lol). It’s a general fiction spiced with different issues of life. It teaches readers about personalities, and real situations in life which shouldn’t be taken for granted. I would recommend it to young people who are always driven by their emotions to act.
How long does it take you to write a story?
Well, it takes me months to write a novel. This is because, I have to develop every scene and the characters, as well as the setting, etc. And sometimes, when I feel stuck on ideas, I have to put the piece aside for days and come back to work on it with a fresh mind. Plus, I have a busy schedule which would not permit me to work on my novels all day.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Bringing in the unexpected twists and suspense.
As a writer, I feel motivated when readers switch emotions while reading, especially when they give feedback about chapters. Also, their reactions when the characters they are rooting for suddenly ‘disappoints or surprises’ them. Readers must not only smile while reading, I do not say this in a negative sense, but other emotions must be engaged as well.
What would you say is the inspiration behind your writing style?
Signature of best-selling authors.
Whenever I pick a book by Peggy Oppong, J.K. Rowling, Elon Musk or Chimamanda, I can easily tell their books by their style of writing. It distinguishes them from other authors. So, for me, that’s the inspiration. Readers should be able to read my works and go like, “I didn’t need to guess twice. That’s a novel by Elizabeth Dwamena-Asare.”
As a writer what genre do you favor molding your stories around?
Let me see… That would be: General Fiction, Mystery, Adventure and finally, Paranormal.
You have recently released a phenomenal book titled ‘Shania’s Devil’. What can you tell us about it?
Nice! Couldn’t wait to make noise about this book again. (lol)
Here we go, so after hearing stories of young couples who were on the verge of getting married, but were never permitted to do so by their parents or guardians thanks to extreme issues of tribalism, I developed a main character called Shania to represent the group rejected by tribalistic parents and the likely negative outcome of such a group being rejected.
In the novel, Shania’s rejection by her childhood sweetheart’s mother and betrayal by her best friend makes her sick to the bone which makes her turn evil. She receives a special invitation from a Mafia whose family was murdered by the exact family that rejected her. And things turn out unpleasant afterwards. Funny enough, Shania had a male best friend who made her a top priority and was looking forward to marry her, unfortunately, he was friend-zoned.
Shania’s Devil also tells a story about how high we value people who reject us easily but pay less attention to those who really care about us and are willing to accept us regardless of our shortcomings.
If a reader could take one lesson from the stories you write, what would it be?
Advice to carry along with them for life.
From your experience so far, what can you say has been the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from being a writer?
I have come to realize that, Writing is not an easy task. It sounds pretty easy but requires discipline, diligence, creativity and innovation to start and finish. Because I wear this pair of shoes, I never underestimate another writer’s piece, I know it requires effort and time.
In your own opinion what is the most important quality that every writer should have.
Is there any writer or author you look up to?
Two of them actually.
Nii Parkes, who was named among the 39 writers under age 40 from Sub-Saharan Africa as part of the Hay Festival’s prestigious Africa39 project and;
Margaret Sarfo (Peggy Oppong) of blessed memory. She was the former Chief Editor of a newspaper called ‘The Mirror’. Even though she is gone, I still learn by reading her works.
Of all the books you have ever read, is there one (or more) that have left the biggest impression on you?
Yes! The Purple Violet of Oshaantu by Neshani Andreas. That book left me so emotional for days. I really picked life lessons from it as well. I believe everyone especially women need to read that novel.
Tea or coffee?
Tea of course! Any day, anytime.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
Normal. From waking up at dawn and spending time with God, through to washing down, checking my schedule for the day and achieving set goals (hopefully). Most of my time is spent behind my PC either reading or researching on a subject, and working on my pieces with little noise in the background. And that happens along with classes, events, and travelling.
If you could listen to just one song on repeat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The Anthem by Travis Greene.
Traditional print books or eBooks?
Both. Traditional print books when I am relaxing in bed or at the library. And eBooks when I find myself in places that I can’t carry hard-copy books along.
What are your thoughts on today’s reading culture?
It’s very poor and sad. Growing up, reading was a big deal. We were rewarded for reading, spelling words right and finding the meaning of words which enriched our vocabulary. Today, most youths especially can hardly express themselves. They struggle with words, and it doesn’t predict a good future. It is a reason why many are still unemployed in the sectors of their choice. Many are rusty.
Are there any interesting projects you are currently working on or that we can look forward to?
A reading and writing project to inspire youngsters to read and write well. But I would be collaborating with interested bodies to make it a reality. (As a by the way, if anyone is interested in collaborating, kindly send me word)
Where can readers find/ buy your books?
For fans who’d like to interact with you and find out more about you, how can they reach you?
I check my email every single day, it would be the best and most preferred way to reach me, or let’s connect on social media:
Do you have any advice you could give to aspiring writers?
First of all, stay original and own your work. Be disciplined and always make room to ask and know more because you’ll make mistakes along the way. Don’t make room for comparison and unhealthy competitions. Finally, never underestimate the works of other writers.
Any parting words?
What I’ll say is, don’t take life too seriously, make room for fun. And don’t punish yourself when you make mistakes, learn and grow from them. Love what you do and live every second without regrets. And last but not the least don’t rush into the lime light, build a solid foundation first.
Having a chat with Miss Elizabeth was a great treat and we hope you were as inspired by her as we were.
Look out for her books and feel free to connect with her via social media.
Let’s all support and cultivate a passion for storytelling!
Till next time 😊
From Afrocomix with love.
Author: Maggie Muchiri.