– ‘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 ‘The Oshun Diaries’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but b
About the Author :
Diane Esguerra is an English writer and psychotherapist. For a number of years she worked as a performance artist in Britain, Europe and the United States, and she has written for theatre and television. She is the recipient of a Geneva-Europe Television Award and a Time Out Theatre Award. She is previously the author of Junkie Buddha, the uplifting story of her journey to Peru to scatter her late son’s ashes.
She lives in Surrey with her partner David.
Social Media Links:
High priestesses are few and far between, white ones in Africa even more so. When Diane Esguerra hears of a mysterious Austrian woman worshipping the Ifa river goddess Oshun in Nigeria, her curiosity is aroused.
It is the start of an extraordinary friendship that sustains Diane through the death of her son and leads to a quest to take part in Oshun rituals. Prevented by Boko Haram from returning to Nigeria, she finds herself at Ifa shrines in Florida amid vultures, snakes, goats’ heads, machetes, a hurricane and a cigar-smoking god. Her quest steps up a gear when Beyoncé channels Oshun at the Grammys and the goddess goes global.
Mystifying, harrowing and funny, The Oshun Diaries explores the lure of Africa, the life of a remarkable woman and the appeal of the goddess as a symbol of female empowerment.
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?
Sure! I live in Surrey, England but I love to travel. In addition to writing I also work as a psychotherapist. I graduated in English Literature and went on to drama school where I was shocked at how few decent roles there were around for women, so I began writing plays and working as a performance artist in the UK, USA and Europe. When I lost my son, Sacha, in 2005 I didn’t feel like writing fiction any more so I wrote my first travel memoir about my trip to Peru to scatter his ashes – Junkie Buddha: A Journey of Discovery in Peru.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I loved historical fiction as a child – my favourite being Little Women by Louisa M Alcott. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett also stirred my imagination – it still does, in fact. I was also very keen on Edward Lear’s Nonsense Rhymes. As a teenager I devoured Russian literature – especially Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky.
I’m fond of Magical Realist writers – notably Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The works of Doris Lessing, Margaret Atwood and Hilary Mantel have also been inspirational. Each time I read Carl G. Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections I learn something new.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I think the most imaginative writer around now is David Mitchell – Cloud Alas is in a league of its own. I’d be fascinated to know when, where and how he dreams up his stories.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Matthew Shardlake the hunchback Tudor lawyer from C.J. Sansom’s Shardlake series. His exploits have provided me with hours of pleasurable reading and he’s such a decent guy!
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I always write my ideas out in pencil first – for some reason I’m more creative with a pencil than with a pen – so a great deal of pencil-sharpening goes on! When I’m really blocked I like shelling peanuts – and eating them of course. These displacement activities somehow give the creative juices a chance to breath.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I find I often have ideas when I’m swimming – but the challenge is being able to remember them once I’m out of the pool! With travel memoir writing the people concerned, are, for the most part, still alive and kicking. Where possible, I ask their permission to include them in the book. If I can no longer get in touch with them I change their name.
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I start off as a pantser when I’m getting a flow of usually chaotic ideas down on paper, then I become a plotter as I work those ideas into a fairly nebulous plot structure. Once the plot seems viable I go to the laptop and turn into a pantser again as I fill that structure in.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Do: jot down any idea that comes into your head, however crazy or random it seems.
Do: leave time between each draft so that you return to look at what you’ve written with fresh eyes.
Don’t: Share your book idea with anyone until you feel you’ve fully worked it through and feel confident with it. Ideas are easily pinched (it’s happened to me) and a casual negative comment can so easily make you lose confidence and kill off what could potentially have become a great book.
Don’t: let your inner critic have a field day with your efforts until you get as far as your penultimate draft.
Do: nurture resilience and never give up!
What are your future plans as an author?
I’m working on a dystopian novel – don’t want to give too much away at the moment – see above!
Last, but not least: Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Ever met a goddess before? Neither had I. Shaken to the core, little did I realise my life would change forever…
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Diane Esguerra.
Win 5 x PB copies of The Oshun Diaries (UK Only)
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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!