American writer, living in EL, tells her life story in new book

US-born author Monya Loya recently released her new book Raging Desire and marked the occasion with a book launch at the Dot.Com Café in East London on Saturday.

HEALING THROUGH WRITING: Monya Loya at the launch of her new book, ‘Raging Desire’, held at Dot.Com Café last Saturday
Picture: MATTHEW FIELD

While she was born in Virginia, in the US, Loya has since immigrated to SA and has applied for a permanent residence visa.

Raging Desire is based on the events of Loya’s life from the age of 10 until 35.

While the characters are fictional, she says the events are not.

Loya drew on the many hardships and challenges she had faced throughout her life, including abusive relationships and even suicide attempts.

“When I was ten, my dad left us, and by the time I was 12, my mom had become an alcoholic, was in the bars every night and always brought home one guy or another.

“It was then that I became the parent of my [five] siblings.

“I was only in Grade 8 but I grew up pretty fast,” said Loya said.

From there, she said, her life took many dark turns.

“Rapes, abuse, miscarriages, cancer scares, being cast aside and forgotten about – you name it, and that was my life. And it was all at the hands of people I knew.”

One of the hardest things Loya said she had to face was the effect all of this had on her son.

“What I didn’t know is that this life that you live spills over into the lives of your children and when you think that you’re hiding it, and you think you’re keeping them from that kind of life, trust me: it will come around to bite you in the ass,” she said.

At the age of 10, her son attempted suicide.

“I walked into my house seconds before he tried to slash his wrists,” Loya said.

“You can know the signs, you can know what to do, you can help anyone around you but when it comes to those you care most about, you don’t see it.

“When it came to my son, I didn’t see it or I didn’t want to see it.”

After this near-tragedy, Loya decided that she needed to make drastic changes to her life for the sake of her son.

During this period, she decided to sit down and try writing her life experiences in the form of a diary.

“I began by writing down everything I went through for as far back as I could remember, both the good and the bad,” Loya said.

This wasn’t an easy process at first. In fact, Loya said she was initially scared to write it all down.

“I was afraid that all the suicide attempts and the thoughts and the depression were going to come back. I didn’t want to go back there,” she said.

“Quite a few times, I had to stop writing and just put it down.”

After a while, however, she noticed the process of writing was “very therapeutic” and was helping her come to terms with everything that had happened.

“Through all this writing, I found myself healing, able to deal with it and what I had gone through,” said Loya said.

“The more I wrote, the stronger I became.”

It took Loya four years to completely document her journey and at first, she didn’t plan on taking it further.

“It was a friend who saw all my notebooks and said ‘Why don’t you put it in book form and share your story’.”

This process took her only six months and soon she was ready to self-publish.

Raging Desire is actually the third book Loya has been involved in.

However, it is the first book that is entirely her own work.

In 2002, she and her sister published a book as part of a school programme and in 2013, she worked as an illustrator for a children’s book.

She is currently working on a new trilogy that continues her life story from where Raging Desire left off.

Raging Desire is available at Amazon.com and Takealot.com for print on-demand.

For more information, e-mail newlifestart@protonmail.com.

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