Janetta Marilyn Konah is a Liberian Poet and Author of “Beautiful Pieces” a poetry chapbook published on Amazon. She writes themes that explore the full range of human emotions, nature, life, and society. Her writing has appeared in KWEE, a Liberia Literary Magazine where she was featured as Author of the month of January 2020. She is a member of the reading literary team, Monrovia Reads, and WeWrite Liberia, where she gets to hone your creative passion for both writing and reading. The author lives in Monrovia where she moves through her daily life on the wings of poetry.
What more can you tell our readers about yourself? I will begin with something I love, which is books and the art of making them. I love to read and write and express myself creatively, which involves coloring for fun at times. I also love comedy, science fiction, and fantasy movies, or anything that involves a zombie apocalypse. I love coffee, dogs, food, nature, baking, and indoor activities. I am a Libra, hence fairness, positivity and balance matters to me. I spent most days motivating my friends about their lives, struggles, and careers. I care about the little things in life like the smell of the earth after a rainfall, the sound of a baby cooing, the chirping of birds, a rainbow…things that make me laugh and wonder about the infinite power of the universe. I like to daydream about new places and strange things.
What inspires you to write? Growing up, I believed that I had a voice and I wanted that voice to be heard. I wasn’t a loud or talkative person, so I began to write. I use writing as a medium to inform, entertain, relate, connect, and share my views on various subjects. I choose to write because it is the best way for me to express myself, stir up the thoughts and emotions of others, and answer the questions in my mind. Writing to me is therapeutic and magical. Something phenomenal happens when you unburden your mind by putting your thoughts on paper.
What books have most influenced you? I have read hundreds of books in my lifetime and I can’t list a few as the most influential. Books at large, all books, have greatly influenced my life. They’ve helped me to think deeply, battle personal conflicts, sort out my emotions, and have solutions to my problems. Through books, I am able to relate to authors and characters alike and find that I am not alone in my life struggles. Books have been the place I can escape to and find peace of mind.
How do you approach your work? I approach my work with intention, honestly, and a wholesome heart. My goal is not just to entertain, but also to create content that is relatable to my audience.
What themes do you find yourself continuously exploring in your work? The themes I constantly explore in my work are; love, self-identity, inspirations, nature, feminism, family life, brokenness, and the whole range of human emotions.
Tell us a little about your books- storyline, characters, themes, inspiration? I get inspirations for my books from everyday life and activities and the questions that springs to my mind about life and society and the essence of being. I explore themes that teach life lessons, set positivity, ask questions, and relates to issues affecting society as a whole. My poetries usually have a personal touch to them. They can be looked at as confessionals. They explore my own thoughts and emotions and relate that to society and humanity as a whole. My short stories follow characters that are both realistic and relatable. The storyline often touches human conflicts and how they can be resolved.
What inspired you to write this title or how did you come up with the storyline? My book, “Beautiful Pieces” emerged form a single poem I wrote of the same title. That poem explores the realization that one is broken but when mended, those broken pieces can become as beautiful as a mosaic. This means that the things that break us in life are like puzzle pieces that fit together to make up who we become. Often the better versions of ourselves. The title also suits the book, because the book comprises of a diverse poetry collection that explores various themes.
Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp? My book, “Beautiful Pieces” is about life, society and the acceptance of oneself. When writing, my aim was to explore my own emotions and life in order to find meaning in the ordinary. I want my readers to close this book with a better understanding of life and society.
Is there anything else you would like readers to know about your book? I want my readers to read this book not as my thoughts and emotions, but as a message they can connect with. I want them to search for themselves in the lines of each poem. Beautiful pieces weren’t written with any strict and direct message. Therefore, each reader is encouraged to define for themselves what the poems and the book as a whole, means to them.
Do you have any advice for other writers? “Creativity is often a touched with madness,” they say. When you write consistently, and with honesty, and dig deep into the seams of your soul, you will pull out the truest poems or stories there is. My advice to other writers is, don’t be afraid to pour yourself into your work. Creativity often has a personal touch to it. It is unique to us all. I want every writer to believe in themselves, in their voice and their message. We all have stories to tell and the world needs to hear those stories. Write with intention, write with honesty, write consistently, write what you know, write what you feel, and write the truest thing there is to you. That’s the poem or stories that people want to read, that’s what they will relate to, and that’s what holds value.
What books are you reading right now, or recently read? Currently, I’m reading more Contemporary Poetry and Self-Help books, namely: “Love Does” by Bob Goff, “bones” by Yrsa Daley-Ward, “Teaching my mother to give birth” by Warsan Shire, “Hold your own” by Late Tempest, “The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo
Tell us your latest news, promotions, book tours, launch? My book, “Beautiful Pieces” has been published on Amazon. My team and I are working to get hard copies for a book launch.
What are your current projects? I have collaborated with other authors on Poetry books. I am sending some of my newest poems out to anthologies and Literary Magazines for publication and compiling another poetry collection.
What books by Liberian authors have you read? I have read the works of Mae Azango, Othniel Forte, Dr. Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Augustus Voahn, Nvaskeie Konneh, John Yormie, and many other emerging writers.
Any last words? Writing is a journey. A path you travel that leads you to beautiful destinations. Writing is for yourself and your wellbeing. The Interview above first appeared in Kwee, a Liberian Literary Magazine, January 2020