Christine Wangari started writing creative stories at the age of 10. "My compositions were always read out in class. I particularly loved the composition tasks that required us to complete a story," she says gleefully.
Her passion for children inspired her to become a paediatric nurse, a career she has nurtured for the past 17 years.
However, life has not always been sunny for the cheerful mother of two. She found herself stuck in a toxic relationship that drained her both emotionally and physically.
Eventually, she quit the relationship—a bold move that saw her embark on a journey of healing. Her book, Nurse on the Run, tells the story of her pain and tears and seeks to be a glimmer of hope to other hurting souls. In her book, she points out that sometimes, you have to run to survive.
What are the three most memorable books from your childhood?
The Concubine by Elechi Amadi. I simply love how the story flowed and actually read the book twice. Every time I think about that story, I can almost see Ekweme, Ihuoma and the village wag.
Then there is No Feast for Kiundu by Dorothy Bracey and Peter Lieta, a wonderful book packed with great moral lessons that I have passed on to my children. Lastly, Romantic Trap—a 200-page manuscript that I penned down while in high school. Unfortunately, I lost the script. Oh my goodness! It was such a romantic story (laughs)
How many books on average do you read in a year?
To be honest, I do not keep count of the books I read because they are so many. I am an impulse buyer of books and will often pick up one on the streets even without having budgeted for it. Also, I am in the habit of reading from almost anywhere be it in a matatu, during my work break, or even read in the loo…
Do you have a favourite topic when it comes to selecting your reads?
Sure, I love medical related stories probably because I can relate with the content. I also appreciate stories on love, drama and inspiration.
Can you say that you have directly influenced someone to embrace the culture of reading?
I am encouraging my children to form a habit of reading by buying some interesting novels which I think they will love. They become engrossed in the books for a short while before getting distracted and forgetting all about the book!
Which are your two most treasured books and why? Would you lend them out?
Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman and Nine Minutes Past Midnight by Dr Ernest Crocker. Lend them out? I would be sceptical because I fear they may either get lost or be returned in bad shape and that would make me feel horrible.
If you had the opportunity to meet three authors, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Iyanla Vanzant--she had quite a handful of childhood experiences but she chose to look past all that, she forgave and moved on. Nena Ndioma’s works encourage me a lot and I would readily recommend her books to any woman who has been emotionally, physically or financially abused. The third one is William Shakespeare and that would be because of my love for literature.
In your opinion, is writer’s block an actual challenge faced by writers or it an excuse for procrastination?
On my part, I procrastinate a lot. I am currently working on a book that I began a few months ago and the procrastination is real!
Have you ever had a bad review for your work? What did it say and how did you deal with it?
After releasing my debut book, Nurse on the Run, it was received very well and I got glowing reviews. However, a friend of mine called Tito tore the book apart in his review. His feedback was very helpful and it gave me a new perspective of my work.
What are your thoughts on society’s reading culture today in the face of popular culture?
I feel like we have not really embraced reading yet but we are getting there. I have noted that many people are taking an interest in e-books, which is a wonderful thing as far as cultivating a robust reading culture is concerned. I long for the day my children will enjoy an evening of storytelling as opposed to watching TV all the time.
E-books versus hardcopies, what is your preference and why?
Hard copies any time. I love to hold and feel the touch of a book.
What are you currently reading?
Heaven and Hell: The Journey of Chris and Serena Davis by Kenneth Zeigler.