THE REVIEW: “Truly a powerful portrait of a young heroine (Khira) whose prompt mind, in contemplation of the golconda of her experiences abroad leads to a surreal journey back to the simplistic tradition of her African upbringing.” —A.K. Kuykendall
AUTHOR BIO – A P VON K’ORY
Akinyi Princess of K'Orinda-Yimbo (pen name A P von K'Ory) was born on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kisumu, the capital city of Luoland, Kenya; at a very young age (when she was too small to say "sod off!" as she puts it), she was sent to private school in Yorkshire, England. She is a graduate journalist of the Nairobi and the London Schools of Journalism as well as an economics graduate of the London School of Economics.
She moved to Bavaria, Germany, where she studied Germanistics and Germanspecific economics. She has been writing as a freelance journalist since 1980, serving as a columnist with various dailies and monthly magazines in Africa and Europe. She gives lectures and seminars in various German universities, colleges and high schools on topics ranging from socio-economy in Africa, Business English, Intercultural Communication, African literature and the socio-ethnological conflicts in the traditions of Africans and Europeans in particular, and the West in general.
In 2012, she got her Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology and Geo-Politics from the Heidelberg University.
She was the CEO of her companies Eur-AfrAsia Association for Quality Management & Intercultural Communications Training, and PAKY Investment Holdings Ltd. She gave up both posts in order to devote her time to her passion: writing. She is now only Chairman on the Board of Directors. She has written and published articles, papers, and a novel in German: Khiras Traum, translated from her first book, Bound to Tradition: The Dream. The series include Bound to Tradition: The Initiation and Bound to Tradition: The Separation. Her other recent books are Secret Shades Book 1: Aroused; Secret Shades Book 2: Revealed.. Her nonfiction book Darkest Europe and Africa's Nightmare: A crtical Observation of Neighboring Continents was published in 2008 by a New York publisher.
In 2010 her short story, The Proposal, won the Cook Communications first prize. In 2012 she won the Karl Ziegler Prize for her commitment to bring African culture to the Western society in various papers, theses and lectures. In 2012 her book was nominated for the 2012 Caine Prize, and in 2013 she was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize. In addition she won the Achievers Award for African Writer of The Year 2013 in the Netherlands.
In 2014 she started the publishing company, AuthorMePro Press, as part of the Cook Communications Author-me Group, to assist aspiring writers - especially from the developing world - to get published. She speaks seven languages, is married to a German politician of aristocratic descent, has a son, two grandsons, and lives in Bavaria. The family also has homes in France, Cyprus and Greece.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Luoland, Kenya to the royal house of K’Orinda and Yimbo-Kadimo. I went to school in Yorkshire from age nine, and studied Economics, Literature and Journalism in London; then Germanistics and German-specific Economics in Germany. Finally, I studied socio-economics and philosophy and now have an additional PhD in sociology and geo-politics.
I’m the winner of six writing awards from four continents, the last one being the Achievers Award for African Writer Of The Year 2013 in the Netherlands with my trilogy BOUND TO TRADITION.
I have five doctorates to date, since I regard knowledge as a lifelong quest of learning something new. In between all that, I run several companies coaching intercultural communication, quality management & sustainability, Business English and AuthrorMePro Press. I now live in Germany, France, Cyprus and Greece with my German husband, son and two grandsons.
2. At what point in your life, did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
The exact time is hard for me to nail down. From the age of three or four, I enjoyed the stories read to me and once I could read, I always changed some endings or beginnings of the fairy tales to fit my taste. I guess that’s when the writer in me kicked in – around age four to five.
3. What are your most memorable or proudest moments in your writing career?
Definitely the day I met my German publisher’s editor to sign the contract for the first book of BOUND TO TRADITION. Yes, the first buyer of BOUND TO TRADITION was a German publisher who then had the book translated and titled KHIRAS TRAUM! Khira’s Dream.
4. Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
I sincerely hope not where James Patterson is, manufacturing books in some mass production outlet. However, I do envy him his success. I wouldn’t mind some of that myself.
5. What advice do you wish you’d been given before starting your career in writing?
Well, since I always did things my way anyway – remember that fairy tale changer child? – I really can’t think of one.
6. Tell us about the books you’ve written so far, and your plans for any future books?
Now that’s a good one, A.K. My passion revolves around my people, their culture and my continent as a whole, even if I grew up in Great Britain. Nearly every book I’ve written has a bit of Kenya and Luoland in it. But having grown up and been educated in Europe, I can’t help but pitch both continents in me - Africa and Europe/the West - together. I pick on their values and beliefs, their negatives and positives. All my romance novels have elements of the interracial and intercultural. All my non-fiction deal with the humanities, socio-economics and geo-politics of Africa and the West, although I also touch on the general North-South factors.
In the trilogy BOUND TO TRADITION, which the Elite Professionals Magazine compared to A Many Splendoured Thing and labelled “a cultural study”, Khira and Erik are poles apart: in age difference, cultures, social status, ethnicity, ideology and philosophy of life. But in the end it is precisely their differences that draws them closer together. Khira is fascinated by the wealthy industrialist Swede Erik, who is 24 years older than her. His “strange” looks (blond, blue eyes and “scorched-skinned”), his lifestyle, his values and cultural mores, some of which outright shock or repulse her – but still remain fascinating because she expects something else, especially from him as a “civilized European”. Her people call Erik “the uncultured one” because to them he’s too direct and therefore lacking of social delicacy and tactfulness. Although Erik, to begin with, only wants to adopt the orphaned Khira, she overwhelms him with her nature. Consider his thoughts below on the first time he invited Khira for lunch. She is sixteen:
Erick watched her as she ate and talked. There was the little lady who had been tutored by some prim and proper English old maid in deportment, etiquette and what have you. Then there was the African jungle side of her that had a savage nobility, an untainted edge, an unaffected grace and inborn dignity, an intensely reverent pride even in the way she said: Great ancestors. Coupled with her veiled, mysterious sexuality, she was an overwhelming enigma. She displayed her joy and happiness with child-like abandon but when she spoke of her family, she spoke with poise and the wisdom of a septuagenarian.
In my SECRET SHADES books, Anglo-Cypriot Helena struggles with a heritage that cripples her and traumatizes her emotional relationships. Until she meets Ramón, a Catalan from Costa Brava, Spain, who loves her and coaxes her to confront her fears and overcome them. To do that, they have to travel to Kenya in the quest to find her mother in a Benedictine convent. In Kenya, they encounter political intrigues, the danger of the Kenyan wildlife safaris, assassination attempts and the wild, untamed beauty of the continent and its people.
At the moment I’m working on my DAR DESIRES books. These are full books (120+K words) literary erotic romance, the first of which, DARK DESIRES: OBSESSION, is coming out at the end of October 2014. The second book DARK DESIRES: AFLAME will come out in spring 2015. Of course, the DARK DESIRES books are multi-layered, intercultural and set around the globe, from Hamburg to Shanghai, Montreux to New York, London to Nairobi and all the other places in between. I’m a global citizen and have travelled a lot around the planet, thanks to my upbringing. I’m also working on another no-fiction regarding globalization and causes of the shameful hunger in the world, when we actually produce enough food to feed twice the world population at the moment.
7. Is there any part of your career, you find particularly challenging?
Actually, yes. It is particularly challenging to me to find a publisher/agent interested in my stories because the stories are not exactly mainstream commercial writing. They’re literary, geared towards a certain readership, especially those people interested in other cultures. Being literary works, they win me awards, but they don’t sell by the boatloads in this day and age.
8. Who do you feel, has supported you most, in your writing?
Most? Definitely my husband and immediate family. There are others like Kenneth Mulholland (Australia) and Betsi Newbury (Arizona) without whom I’d be hopeless. They advise me and edit my works.
9. Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers?
Tons. But I’ll restrict it to thanking them from the heart for reading my books, especially my editors Betsi Newbury and Kenneth Mulholland, who are always my first readers. I also thank my readers for all the feedback I get from them and encourage them to continue interacting with me. Their praises and critiques help me become a better writer for them and for any new readers.
10. Where can we find out more about you and your books?
My books are on Amazon and Kindle worldwide, my websites and Goodreads.
11. Tell us a little about your book.
Okay: I’ve mention something about both the award-winning BOUND TO TRADITION trilogy and the SECRET SHADES books. So let’s say something about my DARK DESIRES: OBSESSION (130K word) that’s coming out at the end of October.
As I mentioned above it is an erotic romance. But it is literary and a far cry from the norm. I’m one of those women who, without condemning others who prefer the hard-core BDSM lifestyle, don’t believe in the popular idea of female submission. I don’t want my heroine falling flat on her backside just at the first sight of the hero, I don’t want her subservient, stripped naked and on her knees on the floor waiting for the hero to come home to find her like that because that’s what turns him on. I don’t want my heroine revelling in the pains inflicted on her if those pains are the kind that still sting under the shower days later and make it uncomfortable for her to sit down. I think that sort of erotica might be sending out (unintentionally) the wrong signals to young adults of both sexes, about what to expect/receive/demand from a partner in order to be loved or to show you’re love by them. I prefer the subtle BDSM peppered with psychological games rather than physical “punishment”. My long blurb:
Roman is cultured, go-to-hell handsome, wealthier than is good for anybody and nasty with it. He has strong principles:
He loves his parents, especially his mother; he is the supreme commander-in-chief of his highly successful global businesses, which he built himself from the ground up; while he loves the fact that he is “what I am”, he adamantly refuses to be referred to as damaged; and he treats his "reigning queen" exactly like a queen, draping her in priceless gowns, jewels, and all the other accoutrements in exchange for her complete loyalty and sexual devotion. In the bedroom, he's a nice-nasty Taipan and only his rules count - but top among the rules is complete satisfaction of the woman. He never takes whips, floggers, chains and the like to his woman as he believes strongly in “pleasure, not pain” for both partners, and he has many varied and effective ways of extracting and dispensing pleasure. He never stays around for long – half a year would be tops in his books.
Then Roman meets the Eve that will bring his Dominant Adam teetering on the brinks of insanity... or maybe not quite…
12. What were you attempting to convey in the artistry of your book cover?
In BOUND TO TRADITION, there’s the theme of the Planet Earth with all its elements, best emphasized by the moon. The moon rises, gets to the zenith and dips back in the horizon. What I wanted to convey was a sense of togetherness as earthlings in this beautiful planet of ours. I still love the BOUND TO TRADITIONS covers most.
13. What inspired you to write your book?
My quest to show that we are all unique with whatever we’re made of. Nature has its order in variety and never makes a careless mistake. It would be a boring world with only one ethnicity – like having only red roses and no other colours of the flower. I suppose a lot is also autobiographical, inspired by my own life.
14. Are the character profiles based on people you know or are they completely drawn from your imagination?
(Tongue-in-cheek) See 13 above. I think it’s about fifty-fifty. Often I invent a character and give him attributes of someone I know or saw somewhere. I guess I’m still that little girl, still rearranging my fairy tale in the order I prefer them to be.
15. Which part of the book, in your opinion, was the most difficult to write?
The killing of my darlings, of course. I actually cry while writing that, and cry again each time I’m revising and re-revising. But in BOUND TO TRADITION: THE DREAM, the first book, the hardest parts were those where I had to write the dialogue between Erik and Khira’s Grandfather Solomon. The Luos, like most Africans, talk in a roundabout way, not directly. The language is flowery and the real point being made is hidden in the winding dialogue. Erik, as a European, speaks his mind directly, a fact considered extremely rude and barbaric in Luoland and most African societies. Direct speakers are time-conscious. Rural Africans have all the time in the world and will spend five minutes or more just to say hello.
16. What parts of the book do you love, in particular?
I loved the scene where Khira visits a gynaecologist for the first time, in Sweden. Again, this scene gave me the opportunity to crystalize the two negating ideologies and philosophy of life.
17. Which ways have you chosen to market your book?
Like most writers, I’m not only poor at marketing, I also hate it. I do my best with Facebook, Twitter and posting in groups, especially my groups in LinkedIn. When I win an award I send out press releases. But living in German reduces the interest in these, since I’m not “local”. Otherwise I do guest blogs and interviews, giveaways and solicit for reviews. The last, I’ve learnt, is not easy. My best chances of getting reviews are within literary book clubs and special groups with interest in African culture & literature. I often do readings and book signings to special women’s groups, students of sociology and such special interest groups.
18. If you had to do it all over again, is there anything you’d change?
I don’t think there’s anything I’d change, really. But there’s something I do regret and would gladly reverse – keep my former publisher. I’ve since gone through a few publishers, one particular one in New York, who published my first non-fiction. The publisher turned out to be a right royal cutthroat. When I signed the contract with them (without an agent) I missed the tiny little BIG words “in perpetuity”. And so now they own my work and leave me out in the cold.
19. Where can we find out more or buy the book?
All my books are listed on Amazon.com, UK, India, Japan, Canada, Australia, Mexico and China. Readers can also order directly from me, especially those who want their books signed, at my websites http://www.Akinyi-princess.de and http://www.apvonkorysbooks.co.uk
20. Who is your favourite author?
I have several, actually, because I have different favourite authors in different genres. My top faves would be Marian Keyes for chic lit, John Le Carré, Ian Rankin, Harlan Corben, Lee Child, and Minette Walters.
21. Worst book you have ever read?
Fifty Shades of Grey.
22. What book are you reading now?
As I’m in the habit of reading more than one book at a time, I’m now reading Personal by Lee Child, Im Tal des Fuches by Charlotte Link (my favourite German authoress), and L’Empire de la honte by Jean Ziegler. I speak seven languages so I often read in most of them, although English is my native language.
23. Your favourite quote about writing/authors:
“If first-time authors were never published, the world wouldn't have any authors at all. It's a misconception that getting published requires having already been published.”
24. Your biggest inspiration:
The human condition.
25. Something you can’t live without:
My husband Erich Harald.
26. Your pet-hate:
When I ask Erich Harald something about football but he’s too concentrated on the game to answer me. Like I’m thin air.
27. Your favourite place to be:
Our place in the Peloponnese, Greece, perched above the sea and the mountains on the other side of the Finikounda Bay.
28. Something you like/love about yourself?
Having been born a woman.
29. Something you’d change about yourself?
30. Your ideal life would be:
To permanently live and write in my favourite home, in Greece.
Finally thank you so very much for giving me this opportunity, A.K. And another big thank you to you, dear reader, for reading this. I hope we meet again in my books.
Pragmatic author A.K. Kuykendall has a passion for writing conspiracy, espionage, horror, and suspense literature that blend the concepts of fact and fiction. For more information on his projects, visit http://www.thewriterofbooks.com/list-of-works/ or, to email the author directly for Q&A on this post, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.