Lesalon Kasaine describes himself as “an introverted adventurer living in his imagination.” He writes thrillers, poems, think pieces, and journalistic articles. Some of the works he has published include A Dead End? Bury It and Move On, an inspirational e-book (2016); Around the Campfire, a collection of short stories and poems (2017) and Of Love, Lust, and Cheaters, electronically publishedby Ficool Books(2019). His other works have appeared in Kalahari Review and Oklahoma’s NonDoc media. On a weekly basis, he contributes an article to Qazini.
You first published under the name Brian Kasaine but later changed to Lesalon Kasaine. Why?
My name is Brian Lesalon Kasaine. I chose to go back to my name Lesalon, as it is the child in me who fell in love with stories years ago. Secondly, in 2018 I went through toxic cyber bullying after someone I share a name with (Brian Kasaine) went viral for allegedly being part of a crime that was DCI’s top case at the time.
How did you discover that you were a writer?
It was back in primary school. I hated school and would feign sickness to stay away. However, composition writing lessons were just about the only thing that made me enjoy being in school. I enjoyed writing stories. In Class Eight, a story I wrote about a fire started by an arson was read before the class. My class teacher typed and pasted it on the wall. That made me feel great. I then discovered a library in Narok, cvMaasai Education Discovery (now defunct), where I met amazing friends in the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine, the Moses series by Barbara Kimenye, and The Chronicles of Narnia. Eager to read work by a Kenyan, I got a copy of Meja Mwangi’s The Bushtrackers, and that was when I dreamed of being an author. I even started writing a novel in an exercise book. As a leader of journalism club in high school, my teachers kept telling me that I would make a great author or journalist, but it was while in campus that I took writing seriously.
How do you choose the themes you write on?
I don’t. They choose me. Most are things I have observed or experienced, or things my friends have experienced. I end up weaving the subject in my fictional stories. Lately, I have gone into writing mystery and crime thrillers, which I attribute to reading these. And the cyberbullying brought me closer to the police and the DCI.
To what extent does your daily life influence what you write?
Almost entirely. I am very observant and I mostly live in my imagination. I may be in a room with others and when someone gets a call and steps out, my mind starts asking, “What could the call be about? An ex, the police, a stalker, or a new match from Tinder?” Or I could be at work and I start wondering what would happen if you fell in love with a colleague, or if you showed up at work and your boss was missing. My mind gets lost in the world of imagination, presenting to me different angles for a story
What does your family say about your writing?
My mum and my elder brother are my biggest fans. Though mum has only read my debut book, she hasn’t interacted with most of my works online. I wonder what she will think of them. When I was launching Around the Campfire here in Nairobi, mum and grandma gave me Sh 20,000 and even opened a SACCO savings account for me. I was jobless then. They then travelled from Narok to support me.
Are you writing something during this pandemic?
Although I have found myself reading more than writing since the pandemic started, I have managed to finish writing We All Weep, a crime novella which I had outlined in 2019 and is currently under review by a publisher. I recently wrote a story for a project with the novelist Charles Okoth; maybe it will see print and come out someday. I have also written a number of short stories besides outlines for stories I intend to work on.
Which titles are you currently reading?
Murder Games by James Patterson and Howard Roughan and Changing the World while Changing Diapers by Peter Ngila and Isabell Kempf.