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The People Who Write Questionnaire: Jakki Kerubo

Jakki Kerubo_peoplewhowrite

Jakki Kerubo, a recent graduate from New York University’s MFA program, is at work on her first novel.

If your life (so far) were a book, what would the title be?
Fasting, Feasting

What is the greatest story ever told?
The story of Adam and Eve. These characters “lived” thousands of years ago, yet the male/female dynamics in the human mating ritual remain relatively the same.

Who is the greatest literary character ever created?
Allow me to nominate an author as a character: Niccolò Machiavelli. When an author’s work becomes a political/psychological thought that forms part of the dark triad, he deserves to be a character. Today, with the gift of social media, the manifestations of the dark triad are so apparent!

Which living or dead writer would you most like to share a meal with?
Coffee with Milan Kundera in Prague. I’m dying to know if, and how, his thoughts on immigration and nostalgia have evolved post-Internet, social media, and the narrowing of geographical boundaries.

What is your favorite word right now?
Strategy.

How many words have you written today?
684

Where have you had your most exhilarating writing experience?
In my dreams (seriously), and usually after a night of music and dancing, or after a spiritual experience. Dreams hold so many secrets and ideas.

What is the thing about writing that you most deplore?
My characters become family. When writing the first draft of my novel, I had a character who got murdered in Kenya for being gay. He had become like a son to me. I agonized over it on the D train to and from work for weeks. It was much easier to rewrite the draft without his character than to have him killed so brutally.

What is the thing about writing that you most love?
The power of the pen to influence lives, to entertain, to discover.

What stereotype about writers have you found to be true?
Writers can drink a lot for different reasons; but it’s not true that all writers are alcoholics who drink two gins before lunch.

What’s the biggest misconception about writers/writing?
Writing, even when impressed upon a writer as a calling, is hard labor. We sweat. We sometimes cry. We do numerous rewrites. And we collect tens of rejection letters during a lifetime.

What’s the one thing no one would ever guess about you from reading your writing?
I’m reserved.

Jakki Kerubo is currently completing her first novel, Between Nairobi and Here. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from New York University in 2013.

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