Kurtis Kay Kavila or K.K.K., as he is known in the publishing world, describes himself as an introvert. He’s a good guy who loves his family and people, even though he can come off as absent minded. “It’s not on purpose,” he says, “ it’s just that I’m always thinking of new ideas.”
Kurtis is currently in the final year of his degree in Finance (Investments with Insurance and Risks) at the University of the Witwatersrand. While doing this in record time, his first novel is being published and he is working on his first album as well.
Luckily he had some free time for me to ask him some questions about his book, his music and his life….
- You’re from Harare, so why Wits?
“I didn’t actually want to go to Wits, I was thinking of UCT or some other university in the States. Zimbabwe was in a rough place at that time financially, so a lot of us who had gotten place in the States had to turn it down. Wits was the best option as they replied first.”
- So it’s a pretty big year for you, you’re graduating, you’re working on an album and you have a book published. How are you feeling?
“Right now I’m concerned and scared. Actually nervous, that’s the right word. No one knows me and it’s my first novel. On the novel’s Instagram account some people are like ‘oh my god! Lovely!’ and some people are like ‘creepy!’. It’s my expectations that make me nervous, but on the other hand I am also kind of excited. On the music side, it’s a bit better, it’s so easy to give it to friends and ask for an opinion, but with books it’s more technical.”
- You’re getting a degree in finance, how does poetry, putting out an album and a book fit into that, like they’re kind of opposite ends of the spectrum.
“Finance is more of survival for me. When you have to do something because you must, if you feel it will help you in the future financially, you just do it. The need to succeed makes sure that I do what I must. I’ve been writing since I was 13 so that isn’t hard for me.”
- So you have a book being published, where is it being published and when? Will it be available in South Africa?
“It’s being published in England; it’ll be out on the 12th October this year on pre-order. They’re sending the book to a few different countries first; so that’ll be England, Switzerland, New Zealand, America, Canada, Australia and South Africa. It’ll also be available globally on Amazon.”
- Tell us about your book
“Matheus Clay is a story that chronicles the traumatising childhood of one, Matheus Clay, riddled with relentless abuse and every form of ridicule from his stepfather, peers and teachers alike. His home vibrates with violence, drugs and pornography. His mother does not protect him. He seeks the refuge of the law, which is ingrained with such corruption and decay that there is no relief for him. He becomes ostracised, and the dark walls of his room are all the company he has. At the age of thirteen he flees to the street, in a bid to escape the terror of his home. He meets Thieves, who becomes the father and mentor he never had. Thieves introduces him to the dark world of crime and he becomes the most wanted man by Lights City SA police for the series of murders he commits. His childhood experiences unfold in medias res* as he embarks on a journey of revenge and execution of justice on those who have done him wrong and those whom he believes have in one way or the other, wronged the society. He brutally tortures and kills his victims making them experience the same gruelling pain he went through at their hands once. Matheus leaves no trace of his whereabouts. The way he murders his victims is nothing less than the work of a demented mind.”
*medias res is Latin for “into the middle of things.” It usually describes a narrative that begins, not at the beginning of a story, but somewhere in the middle — usually at some crucial point in the action.
- I’ve read the Instagram quotes and where did you draw inspiration from? It is pretty twisted
“I got the idea when I was at home; my aunt had a kid, whatever we taught him, he would easily catch on. Like if we said something he would repeat it in public. That’s where I got the idea, kids absorb things so easily. The rest was just my imagination, which was fuelled by some of the stuff I watch, like Saw. There’ll be a second book, ‘Matheus Clay – Like Father, Like Son’ so look out for that.”
- Your book deals with a lot of issues, bullying being one of them. Were you ever bullied in high school?”
“Yes, I was bullied just like all the students who were in my grade at that time. I didn’t have it as bad as Matheus Clay. It was more like ‘initiation’ and showing ‘respect for the seniors’.”
- How did you get a publishing deal in England? Why not SA?
“I was never lucky when it came to getting publishing in the ‘mainstream’ here in South Africa. Most publishers spoke of my work ‘not meeting their specifications’. With regards to England, I sent the first three chapters of my manuscript to the publishing company. They seemed to like it because they requested for more of the manuscript until eventually they gave me a 3 year book deal.”
- Did you always know that you wanted to publish a book and album, like some people have a 5 year plan, was that a part of yours? Or did it just happen?
“I’ve always wanted to write, from the age of 13, from poetry to novels.”
- So you’re getting a degree, putting out a book and album, how do you balance your time?
“Being an introvert makes it easy I guess. I do my work and when that’s done, instead of doing what guys my age would normally do, I just do my writing and my music. It’s not that I have more work; it’s just that I miss out on certain things. I’m ready to accept that I’m sacrificing my social life, I wrote the last parts of Matheus Clay on New Year’s Eve. I went out for a bit but my mind wasn’t in it.”
- What do you do to de-stress?
“I watch a lot of movies *laughs* My music also helps me distress, if my writing is frustrating me I go to my music and if that doesn’t work I watch something or call up my friends to hang out. I also do Tang Soo Do .”
- You’re under 25, and accomplished so much, what advice would you give to other people who are aspiring to do what you’re doing?
“Work hard, that’s the trick to everything. Get up and do what you have to do. Also, put an effort into your work. It’s not about how many moves you make but how effective each move is. You have to strategize so that every step you take is a calculated move to success.”
- So, what’s next for you
“ I plan on finishing ‘Matheus Clay: Like Father Like Son’, completing my CFA board exams and hopefully to have an album out. Within 5 years I must have started a career in film production.”
FUN FACTS ABOUT K.K.K.
- Favourite colour: blue
- Last book you read: Blue Monday by Nicci French
- What’s your easiest meal to cook? Chicken and Rice
- What’s your #1 pet peeve? I don’t like people who are not genuine, down to earth and honest
- Have you ever watched The Notebook? Yes
- Astros or Smarties? Smarties
- What makes you warm and fuzzy? My family
- Are you ticklish? In some areas
- Biggest phobia? snakes
- What’s your spirit animal? A dove
You can read the first 20% of his novel by clicking this link : (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/579781)
Here’s the Amazon link to purchase the book: (http://www.amazon.com/Matheus-Clay-Kurtis-Kay-Kavila-ebook/dp/B015RJHAQA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1449029809&sr=8-1&keywords=matheus+clay
The book’s Facebook page here: (https://www.facebook.com/KurtisKayKavila?fref=ts)
And the instagram account by clicking this: (https://instagram.com/matheusclay/)