Author Interview - Michael King

What is your writing process like?

I like to believe the spur of the moment gives the best and most auspicious atmosphere for making magic. So from prewriting, I already want to build and develop my plots the best I can, paying attention to detail. On the first draft, I already tell myself it might as well be the perfect one; that way, revising and editing become the icing.

How do you come up with ideas for stories and characters?

Reading and observing. When my observations mirror a book I have read—or the reverse—I simply tell myself I can tell this tale in this or that fashion. For instance, I read Dr. Faustus, and when I had a real-life experience that was, of course, not Faustian but could be contrived, I chose to write fantasy with a character who sought to thwart his fate.

What do the words “writer’s block” mean to you?

It simply means filling your head with something coarser than the subjectivity of writing. Operate again at the right frequency, and... phew, it melts away.

How do you process and deal with negative book reviews?

There are no such things, except you didn't do your homework. Every review has what it takes to rouse curiosity. So, after I get a negative review, I find something interesting.

What is the most challenging part of your writing process?

Having to remember the names of and connect with some characters, especially when I abandon the draft for a while, so I don't.

How long have you been writing, or when did you start?

I've been writing for thirty years—36, if I should add the days I composed orally to entertain Africans, who were mostly illiterate old folks of mine.

What advice would you give writers working on their first book?

Don't tell yourself you'll turn a J.K. Rowling with this; don't tell yourself you won't—just do it.

How do you develop your plot and characters?

As for plots, I imagine telling a lie—how to, with a sense of suspense, make stuff seem unbelievable and equally believable. As for characters, I think of places I have been and people I have met or seen. I start by just replacing the descriptions and the names, and as soon as that is done, the plot and characters flesh out.

How many books have you written, and which is your favorite?

I have written twelve (12) books, and every new one becomes my favourite until another drops. It is like a mother who, with every birth, has to pay close attention to the newborn, kissing and hugging it, paying it a little more attention than the others, but loving all her children equally. or like a polygamist who knows he has to be one sort of person to this wife and another to that wife.

What part of the book did you have the hardest time writing?

For one of the books, Colours of the Leopard, it was the resolution. The story came as part of a book, which shouldn't have been. So I had to make it stand-alone, expanding the plot. It was an excerpt I never prewrote.

What inspired the idea for your book?

That excerpt veered from the children's book the entire story was meant to be, and I suddenly realised it looked like an 18th-century Lord of the Flies story.

What was your hardest scene to write, and why?

The hardest scene for me was when the protagonist, Uzo, shapeshifted. I was at a loss as to whether he was conscious or unconscious of his transformation. Either idea would impact the story differently.

What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?


If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?

Let me see...One day, it could be this person; another day, it might be another. Stephen King

When was the last time you Googled yourself and what did you find?

I don't remember. Don't think I've ever checked, hah-hah-hah-hah...

Onuegbu Michael Ovie

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