Where were you born and raised?
Benin City, Nigeria. I had my primary, secondary and tertiary education in the same city, all at the University of Benin, before leaving the city in 2012. I bounced around Nigeria a bit before settling in Lagos in 2014, then moving to Tucson, Arizona for my MFA in 2018.
Where do you currently live?
Between Tucson, Arizona (US) and Lagos (Nigeria).
What else do you do/have you done?
Whew. I’ve done a little bit of everything. My Bachelor’s degree is in engineering, so I worked as an engineer between 2012-2013, and I freelanced as a graphic designer between 2012-2017. In 2014, I began working for a financial services firm, which culminated in me leaving a marketing communications role in 2017. I worked as a business unit manager at a nonprofit in the early part of 2018 before I moved to the US and began to teach writing.
Where have you visited on your travels?
So far: England, USA, Wales, Turkey, Mexico, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica.
What did you read growing up?
After a childhood filled with English novels by Enid Blyton, my parents’ bookshelves introduced me to pulpy paperbacks in their day; I’m talking James Hadley Chases, Nancy Drews and Sidney Sheldons. I also read African literature for school and at home. I especially loved Cyprian Ekwensi, who wrote stories about Nigerian boys going on adventures. I read authors like Chukwuemeka Ike, Ayi Kewi Armah, Buchi Emecheta. There was also the Nigerian Pacesetters series, which was big on gritty street stories of crime and romance. Later on, I read heavier novels like The Godfather and The Matarese Circle. But I didn’t really get into science fiction and fantasy until I read Morgan Llywelyn/Michael Scott’s Silverhand and Stephen King’s Firestarter.
What books/stories/authors do you enjoy today?
Phew. That’s a tall order and I can’t name names or I’ma leave someone out. So, instead, I’ll break down what I love: science fantasy, especially those steeped in African-esque, Asian-esque, Indigenous or other underrepresented worlds (Jemisin, Hopkinson, Djeli-Clark, etc); expansive science fiction or fantasy, especially with an inclusive cast (Octavia Butler, The Expanse, Murderbot, etc); genre mashups and/or stories that play with form (think Carmen Maria Machado or Gideon the Ninth); anything by Neil Gaiman (yes, I named one name, lol); the literary speculative, especially by writers with roots on the African continent; YA that’s steeped in real-world issues (e.g. Daniel Jose Older, Elizabeth Acevedo); etc.
What was the first thing you ever wrote?
Fan-fiction of the Christian Bible, lol. I found some of the stories quite interesting, and wondered what it would be like to be a fly on the wall. So I rewrote a lot of the popular stories from the point-of-view of lesser characters: the owner of the donkey on which Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the guy who owned the room where the last supper was held, etc. It was fun while it lasted, which wasn’t very long.
Is that when you realised you were going to become a writer?
Perhaps? I don’t know if I ever realised. I’ve always known I wanted to tell stories somehow, but I was never quite sure when or via what medium. I simply kept following the various opportunities that presented themselves, and I guess I just woke up one day, realised I’d written a bunch of stuff and thought, “Shit, I guess I’m a author now.”
Would you come talk to my students/librarians/book club?
For sure! See speaking & appearances for more information.
When will you come visit my town?
If it’s in my plans, sure! Heck, maybe it already is. Scroll to the bottom of this website’s homepage to see all my forthcoming appearances.
Will you read my manuscript / query letter / synopsis / short story?
I want to, really. But I cannot. First, I have a blanket no-reading policy for copyright and legal purposes. Secondly, I barely have the time. I hope you understand!
How do you deal with writer’s block?
I take some time from the desk and go out and live for a bit. Play games, watch TV, bike, read, etc. Sometimes, I write in other genres. I think the antidote to a block is finding other ways to engage your brain, so that it can find the solution to your block problem in places you’re usually not looking.
What are your specific writing practices?
I write right after I’ve awoken–usually in the morning or after a siesta–and/or before I got to bed–usually at night. I barely write for more than two hours at a time. I always have a dedicated workspace wherever I live, but I switch up my writing spaces a lot to prevent a rut. As for the writing itself, I often outline before I begin a story, but sometimes, a story forces other methods, and I simply follow. For my most recent WIP, I didn’t outline at all–I plotted the whole story with sticky notes.
Any advice for new writers?
Whatever you’re writing, invest more in finishing it first than in anything else.
Will there be a David Mogo sequel?
There are no plans for a sequel to David Mogo, Godhunter at the moment. If that changes at any point in the future, I’d be sure to let you know!
When will the first book of The Nameless Republic trilogy be out?
When will your book get to my country?
I can’t say! That’s completely between my agent and publisher and I have little to no influence on that process, sorry. But watch out for news, though!
Can we host your book on our digital platform?
That is a question you will need to raise directly with the publishers of my books. Kindly visit the contact page to raise said question with the respective publisher. If it’s a direct question about unsold digital rights to any of my books, then you will need to contact my agent for that.