Thursday, February 2, 2012

Interview with Jonathan Wutawunashe

Jonathan Wutawunashe is joining Reviews and Interviews today to tell us a bit about his book Fulfill Your Threats: Simple Principles to Help You Succeed in Life.

He has a contest going too, where first prize is a Kindle Fire. Details are at the end of the interview.

Ambassador Wutawunashe cut his teeth as a diplomat in Washington, DC and New York during the 1980s. Educated and trained in his native Zimbabwe, in Australia, the United States, and Belgium, Wutawunashe played key roles as a top manager and leader in key posts and functions in Zimbabwe, North America, Europe and Asia. One of his more widely publicized accomplishments was his presentation of the case against nuclear weapons at the International Court of Justice in November 1995.

While in the United States, Wutawunashe honored speaking and lecturing engagements at various institutions, among them Georgetown University, Howard University, Penn State, Georgia State, Cal State, University of California, Florida State, Michigan State, Spelman College, and his alma mater American University. He also participated in a program at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

A Wikipedia profile of Wutawunashe, which draws from citations of his work in textbooks and industry publications, describes him as a pioneering star on Zimbabwe’s Gospel music scene. A songwriter, musician, producer, videographer and audio engineer, Wutawunashe led his band, The Family Singers, to prominence, triggering the birth of numerous copycat bands, a development he considers to be a healthy thing. His music continues to be used in scoring television productions, and he considers it flattering that many other artists have recorded covers of his songs. Prominent music industry publications, notably Keyboard Magazine, have run features on his work. The Washington Post ran an article on him several years ago, featuring a recording project he and his wife undertook in support of UNICEF’s campaign for Child Survival and Development, which drew significant support from the public, including from large corporations like the Coca Cola company.

Wutawunashe believes that, while he indeed has many callings in life, his principal calling is to help people, employing his skills as a communicator and life coach. Writing comes naturally to him; from an early age he wrote poetry and stories for magazines, along with serious pieces, among them an attempted autobiography at age 15, which his high school teacher wisely discouraged as premature. Fulfill Your Threats is his first book-length offering, which he packs with the wisdom and experience of his many years as a leader in various capacities, as a businessman, as a counselor and as a down-to-earth life coach.

Welcome, Jonathan, please tell us about your current release.
Fulfill Your Threats offers tried-and-tested formulae for making the important transition from dreaming to taking action to achieve tangible, beneficial results. As the provocative title implies, there is need for us all to become smaller on the talk and bigger on action that creates real projects that benefit us as individuals and society as a whole.

In writing the book, I drew from real-life examples, including from my own experiences in areas of enterprise. I use “enterprise” in the broadest sense to encompass business, social outreach, charity and other domains. I light a good fire under the reader to help them to leap out of the hoary world of dreams and into the realm of tangible, satisfying accomplishments.

My style is conversational and direct, and I speak to my readers the very same way I speak to clients who consult me as their life coach, and from the feedback I am getting from people who have read my book, this down-to-earth approach produces tangible results in the real world. My aim is to inspire my readers to live out the full potential of their lives.

What inspired you to write this book?
One day it struck me that, if only I could take action on just one of the brilliant ideas that crowded my mind day in and day out, I might just accomplish something real. I took up my own challenge, and the result of the simple steps I took was a very successful audio recording studio that went on to launch many artists, and to set the pace in the industry. When people asked me how I had done it, I shared the simple steps I had followed, with the result that many of those who replicated what I had done-in their own domains of course- found similar success. It became clear to me that I was on to something, and the desire to share these ideas with more people began to grow. The most effective way to spread a good message far and wide in a permanent format is to write a book, so I did just that.

What exciting book are you working on next?
I am working on my second book, titled The Sixth Floor, in which I share valuable life lessons I learnt during a time of personal adversity and tragedy. Contrary to what might seem obvious, it is a happy book that focuses on positives. I shall say no more at this stage, lest I give the plot away!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The moment I could string words into a sentence, I knew that I would write many things in my life. In elementary school, my teachers always remarked that I gave them more than they asked for whenever I wrote a composition. By the time I entered middle school, I was already a published writer, contributing serialized stories to a popular magazine. My mother was convinced I would grow up to be a journalist, and frequently expressed astonishment that I ended up in the world of diplomacy. I am glad that my book came out before she passed on. The triumph in her eyes as she exclaimed “I always knew you were born to write books!” was truly something to witness.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I often quip that my day needs to be at least thirty-six hours long, given the demands, challenges and delights of my work as a diplomat, but the adage is true that where there is a will there is a way. I make time for writing. Fortunately for me, early exposure to work schedules at the United Nations gave me good practice in concentrating quality sleep into three or four hours each night, with the very occasional weekend sleep-in. After-hours work in recording studios over the years also helped in this regard. Fortunately, I love to write, and don’t find it an overwhelming chore.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I am a peripatetic writer. You can’t pin me down to one place. I write in trains, cars, boats, restaurants, airports, and on planes. Coffee and tea have a habit of coming along!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My father and mother were teachers, so I fancied myself as one. As a child, I read books all the time, and I wrote a lot, so I fancied myself as a writer, often imagining myself in conversation with John Steinberg, whom I admired greatly.

I used to recite entire chunks of his writings, and still remember strong lines from The Grapes of Wrath: There is a crime here that goes beyond renunciation, a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize….

You know what-I have been lucky in life to be both things, a teacher and a writer. My happy experience as a teacher of hearing-impaired children early in my working career can never be erased from my memory, and I got to write, too! I hope being a life coach means I’m still a teacher! My book Fulfill Your Threats, I believe, makes me both of the things I dreamed as a child that I would grow up to be.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
For me as a writer, the greatest reward is to hear from readers how my book has impacted their lives. Such feedback makes the hours invested in research and writing well worth the while. I have been fortunate to hear some amazing accounts from people who say that my book has jolted them into taking control of their lives and becoming fulfilled entrepreneurs in the widest sense, even in these difficult economic times. That makes me glad.

Thank you, Jonathan.

Readers, Jonathan is running a contest where the 1st place prize is a Kindle Fire and two runner ups each receive a $50 Amazon gift certificates. Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

Jonathan Wutawunashe said...

It's me, Jonathan, just correcting a typo that made its way into the name of the great writer, John STEINBECK. Also, his memorable line was "there is a crime here that goes beyond DENUNCIATION...."