Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Signed, Hopelessly in Love - Lauri Kubuitsile (Guest Author)

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Hi Everyone, my guest today is a writer I admire a lot. I found Lauri's blog, Thoughts from Botswana, sometime last year and have followed her since. I knew Lauri was a talented writer from her blog, and knowing she had 13 novels published was an encouragement and a challenge. Now I've read some of her short stories and a couple of her romance novels, it's confirmed. I'm in love! :)

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Lauri Kubuitsile

1. I’m a naturalised citizen of Botswana; I was born in the USA. Botswana doesn’t allow dual citizenship so I renounced my American citizenship more than 10 years ago.

2. I was a science teacher for almost ten years.
3. I have two teenage children, two small yappy dogs and two aloof cats. I think I may have an issue with the number two.
4. I love bush walks, but am scared to death of elephants. When I see one the hair on my arms stand up- really!
5. My husband, whom I’ve been married to for 20 years, was in the first group of Batswana to attend the Olympics (in Seoul South Korea). He’s a boxer.

Lauri was recently shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African writing, and has a long and impressive CV. She gives talks and workshops on writing and below, she gives some tips to fellow writers.

How to Write Fiction that Hooks the Reader
I think a good plot is crucial. I’ve changed my opinion on this over the years. I used to think interesting characters were the most important thing but interesting characters without an interesting plot doesn’t keep me reading. I learned from writing a continuing series for television that at the end of each episode you need to leave a hook so the viewers come back the next week. I think that’s a good idea too, to leave a hook at the end of each chapter. Perhaps a bit of foreshadowing or a question in the reader’s mind. This keeps the reader reading. Of course too, they need to care about the characters, the reader needs to want to know what happens to these people if not they’ll put the book down and never pick it up again.

Why Book Covers are So Important
Book covers matter, they are what lures the reader in. The cover for this book went through some permutations. The first cover had the original title. To be honest, I wasn’t that keen on the first cover. (I’ve attached it) The sales department at the publisher went around with the cover and did some sort of test and found it was not successful. That’s when the new cover and title came into being. I’m very happy with the new cover. I know as a book buyer covers matter. I think the new one is far more enticing. 

Finally, 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Lauri's latest book; Signed, Hopelessly in Love

1. It was originally titled Aunt Lulu.
2. It was entered for a children’s writing contest in South Africa, The Sanlam Prize, when it was still an unpublished manuscript and was shortlisted but didn’t win. The winners are published each year, but the publisher liked my story so much she decided to publish it too.
3. My cat, Sergeant Catman, appears in the book, though she’s had a sex change and got a promotion to Major Catman.
4. The headmaster’s name is Mr Dikolobe and the kids call him Pigs. Why? Because in Setswana dikolobe is the word for pigs.
5. The publisher hired someone to write the letter from Hopelessly in Love instead of using a handwriting font.

So which do you prefer?

Buy Signed, Hopelessly in Love;, and (SA)


  1. You are a very correct, to write a fiction you should always leave a hook it does bring the reader back. Thanks for sharing your ideas with us

  2. thanks for the tip, its really useful.
    i think i prefer the aunt lulu cover, but dats just me being a

  3. From my writing experience I KNOW that the hook is a killer; it keeps your readers hooked and panting for the next installment or next page. I use it a lot in my fiction.

    Then the twist at the end which leaves the reader stunned and hung seconds after concluding the story is an additional device that I love to use too.

    I like the Aunt Lulu cover but don't dig the title.
    And the title from the other cover wont work on the Aunt Lulu cover because it would be too much of show and tell.

  4. Hi Everyone! Myne, thanks for your kind words and for hosting a stop on my blog book tour.

  5. Wow impressive! She's really one to look out for.
    Thanks for sharing, Myne

  6. And I forgot, I think I'll go with the 'Aunt Lulu' cover too.

  7. My goodness, Myne, I couldn't get past the fact that she renounced her US Citizenship 10 years ago to become a citizen of Botswana. I cannot even imagine a Nigerian doing that for Nigeria (I would love someone to prove me wrong though). I am still in shock.

    I think I'm in love too. Her tips were very helpful too, and were in fact things I did not know about fiction writing. I think she also emphasized (without spelling it out), the need to make your reader interested or engage your reader in the local culture and language is one way to do that (LOL @ Dikolobe).

  8. I think it's very interesting how everyone thinks the Aunt Lulu cover is better. I did't like it, but the publisher had already agreed on it. But then the sales people went around with it, doing some market research and found it didn't fare to well. So in the end I got a new cover and a new title, so I was happy. But from you guys' comments it looks like we all might be wrong.

    Relentless Builder- It wasn't that difficult for me to renounce my US citizenship. It was a place that never really suited me. It's funny you find it so odd. And thanks for your kind words. The thing about dikolobe is that only Setswana speakers would know that and this book is published in South Africa. Sometimes I enjoy little inside jokes like that.

  9. Thank you Lauri for considering my blog for a stop. I really enjoyed the novel and look forward to reading more. I think book covers depend on audience, I loved the current cover better, wouldn't pick up the Aunt Lulu one though the artwork is really engaging, it makes it feel too young.

  10. Funny enough I kinda prefer the second book cover for Aunty Lulu.

    I was inspired going through your writing CV and hope to achieve such and more feats when I become a full-time writer.

  11. I prefer the cover with the heart. It just appeals to me more. It grabs my attention. Fantastic interview. I didn't realise the publisher got someone to write the letters. That's brilliant. Nice touch. Most enjoyable to discover things about Lauri I didn't already know. Thank you.

  12. Great interview. I much prefer the cover with the heart, rather than the one with the school kids. By a lot!

  13. Hi! I'm a bit late here, as I have been away.. great to find out some more previously unknown facts! Looking forward to the next stop on the tour...


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