Interviewing Noluthando Frost


ZtBh#Who is Noluthando Frost?
I hate this question because people tend to identify themselves by their relationships. I am more than the sum of my relationships but at the same time being a mother, being a sister, a daughter, a lover…all of these are also who I am. I guess the best answer is I am who my readers think I am, to an extent. I really hate this question.

ZtBh# Tell us about your childhood , teenage years did they have an effect on what you write?
My childhood was a mish-mash of experiences – from a two-parent family with both my parents working, I became a ‘child of divorce’ with all the attendant issues that that brings. From attending a private girls’ school and learning from Sr. Georgina that ‘ladies don’t cough’, I went to a boarding school in the depths of Matabeleland South and learnt what the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ really means. I tell my friends that the dichotomies of my life have left me more than a little insane; I’m only half-joking when I say that. Accordingly, my writing also runs the gamut from funny (well, it makes me laugh) through melodrama and all the way to unadulterated misery. What can I say? Even my writing has an identity crisis.

ZtBh#Did you have intentions of ever being a writer or do you have a specific reason for writing these short stories?
All my life I’ve written, on and off. It was something for me to do, a way for me to deal with the identity crisis I mentioned earlier. To be honest I never seriously considered becoming a professional writer, although I did have dreams of being ‘discovered’. In 2008/9 I started blogging and I did receive some great comments and feedback. However, I’m shy so I eventually took down that blog. Now I blog a little bit here and there, but often life gets in the way and I get too busy to update regularly. I’ll try and do better though since Beloved received such warm support. My reasons for writing are really selfish – I write more for myself than for my audience, I guess that’s why it’s been hard for me to popularize my blogs – I feel there are better authors out there who should be supported. I write to release whatever tension is in me, to ease my pain or express my joy, rather than with some lofty ambitions of telling a significant truth.

ZtBh# Can you tell us about writers or novels that inspire your literature ?
I wouldn’t call my writing literature because that conjures up images of Shakespeare and the Bronte sisters! I’ve read a lot (and I do mean a lot) of books, so many that I can’t begin to tell you who inspires me. When I was younger I read a lot of Enid Blyton and although as an adult I don’t much like who she was as a person, I still have many fond memories of The Famous Five, Mr Pink-whistle and the girls of St. Claire’s. When I moved to ‘the upstairs’ at the Bulawayo Public Library, I read J.T.Edson, Pamela Oldfield, Leslie Charteris, Wilbur Smith, Oliver Strange, Erle Stanley Gardner and many many others. The writers who inspired me when I was younger wrote great stories that you could lose yourself in. The writers who inspire me today are the one who write real stories that make me question my beliefs and also the ones who create amazing worlds that I can lose myself in.

ZtBh# How best can you describe your work?
Cross-genre. It’s hard for me to classify it, that’s the best I can do.

ZtBh# Are the names of your characters in your stories important?
Not at all. They tend to be just random names because when I try to think of meaningful names before writing the story it just bogs me down and paralyses me. If there is a meaning that fits the character’s personality or if the meaning can be exploited to fit the story then that’s just a happy circumstance. I write mostly in first person, even when it’s fiction, so thinking up a name is not an exercice I do often.

ZtBh# What about titles of your work?
With titles it depends. Sometimes the title comes before the writing, other times I write first then think up a suitable title. I really can’t say my titles are all significant.

ZtBh# What’s more important characters or plot?
For other people’s writing, both character and plot are equally important. I have high standards for books I spend money on. Haha. For my own writing, I tend to not write long pieces so character is more important than plot. In fact, character is all you’re likely to get!

ZtBh# How do you react to bad reviews of your work?
I keep it moving. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I’m very sensitive to criticism so if I let it get to me I’d never write another word. I can only say this because I haven’t yet read a bad review of my work, mostly because I don’t have that much work to be reviewed!

ZtBh# Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?
Ask me again when I’m an established, successful author.

ZtBh# Are there any Zimbabwean or African writers that have grasped your interest?
Well I’m watching ZtorieBhuku with interest. In terms of African writers, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has my heart. I’m also excited about NoViolet Bulawayo’s ‘We Need New Names’.

ZtBh# Are you interested in anything that is not literature?
If I told you I’d have to kill you.

ZtBh# What are your current projects?
In terms of writing, I’m focused on helping turn ZtorieBhuku into a success.I also post on my blog now and then, but that’s about it as far as writing goes.

ZtBh# Do you have anything specific that you would like to share with your readers?
Words are awesome. Some books are better than sex.
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