– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘David Mogo, Godhunter’ blogtour, organised by Compulsive Readers.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but b
About the Author :
Suyi Davies Okungbowa is a Nigerian author of the godpunk novel, DAVID MOGO, GODHUNTER (Abaddon, 2019) and other African-inspired SFF stories. His internationally published short fiction and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Tor.com, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Fireside, Apex, Podcastle, The Dark, and other periodicals and anthologies. He is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona, where he teaches writing. He tweets at @IAmSuyiDavies and is @suyidavies everywhere else. Learn more at suyidavies.com.
Nigerian God-Punk – a powerful and atmospheric urban fantasy set in Lagos.
Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard.
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’m from southern Nigeria, born and raised in Benin City. I studied civil engineering for my undergrad, but I think everyone could see that I was much better at writing than standing around in a yellow vest and hard hat. Wrote a novel or two as a teenager that, gladly, will never see the light of day, but eventually started to take writing seriously in 2012, when I worked for a government PR department. I think, once that interest was reawakened, it became inevitable that I was going to tell stories in some capacity.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
Growing up, I read everything I could lay hands on. As a youngling, my dad had this stack of Jehovah’s Witness publications I enjoyed flipping through to read feature pieces they did on places of the world. We had no cable TV at the time, so this was my sole means of escape. Later, I moved on to–you’ll never guess it–my mother’s romance collections–Mills & Boons, Harlequin. In school, I got introduced to African literature and Shakespeare, so I read Macbeth alongside The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born. But it was my dad’s shelf–with his stack of crime and horror novels–that eventually drew me into genre. I read Silverhand by Morgan Llywelyn and Michael Scott, and Firestarter by Stephen King, and that’s when I knew SFF was my jam.
These days, my reading tastes remain just as varied. My current reads include Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty and Lagos Noir, edited by Chris Abani. In-between, I’m listening to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Neil Gaiman. He’s like my all-time fave, both for the breadth + quality of his creative work, and his social conduct as an artist. I think of him more as a storyteller than an author. There’s something he does with stories that makes me think of the people he’s written about and the things happening to them, so much that I forget he’s using words to do so. I’d like to think of my work in this way too, and I wouldn’t mind a sit-down to chat about how he does it.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Lauren Olamina from Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower series. She’s the definition of strength despite adversity and things stacked against her, long before Strong Female Characters became a thing. And she manages to be kickass without being a blade-wielding, ass-kicking warrior or martial arts specialist. For once, I read about a strong woman doesn’t manage to push everyone away, but instead becomes a central force in pulling people together around her. (The character also has Nigerian origins, so what’s not to love?)
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I usually write right after waking up. My brain is freshest then, so it’s a common sight to see me move from bed to desk in a daze. I write for two hours or thereabouts, multiplied by how many times I sleep and wake in a day (usually twice). I keep an expected wordcount log for lengthy projects so I can track my productivity, but usually go freeform for shorter work. I actually worry about getting lazier as the day progresses (and that’s exactly what happens!), so I like to get my writing out of the way before my procrastinator self arrives.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I barely tell stories about people in my life, and even when I do, they’re usually so far off from the real persons that even they won’t recognise themselves. I’m more likely to draw from my own experiences, especially as someone with history that means I occupy a sort of liminal space, straddling various identities. Most of my work features characters facing this same pull from multiple points, usually in situations where a couple of things in the story world have been tweaked, so that the situation is equal parts familiar and unfamiliar.
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Pantser, so somewhere between. I usually plot what I know to be the narrative “waypoints”: the set-piece, turning points of the story. Then I write from waypoint to waypoint. These points not only serve as progress markers and milestones; they also give me something to write towards. But with no strict path between waypoints, I’m free enough to take detours, and maybe even alter the shape of the next waypoint, or the story itself.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Writing do’s/dont’s are like chameleon colours: only as good as the branch on which they’re standing. Maybe take them away from the branch and out for a ride. See what their true colours are before deciding if you’d like to keep them.
What are your future plans as an author?
Make wads of dough and retire to a beach house? Haha, I kid. Currently, I’m on the hunt for representation, so that’s my next focus. Otherwise, I’m just going to keep writing my truth. I’ve barely even scratched the surface of the many stories I have to tell. I reckon I’ll be doing this for a while. Better to keep my eye on the next book than worry too much about years ahead.
Last, but not least: Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
The second-longest bridge in Africa is the Ibrahim Babangida Bridge in Lagos (aka, the Third Mainland Bridge. Well, one of the biggest moments of David Mogo, Godhunter takes place on that bridge, and something happens that I think many Lagosians won’t be happy about. It makes sense that what happens occurs there because, if you’ve been to Lagos and haven’t crossed the Third Mainland bridge, then have you really been to Lagos?
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Suyi Davies Okungbowa.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!