Friday, April 24, 2015
AUTHOR INTERVIEW: DU Okonkwo
1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
I decided to come a writer when I first had my idea for RISE - that was several years ago!
2. What authors inspired you when you were young? What books do you enjoy reading today?
I loved books by Judy Blume, Roald Dahl and many authors who wrote under the 'Point Horror' labels. Today I mostly read historical non-fiction and fiction, and romantic suspense.
3. What was the inspiration behind your novel Rise?
The idea for RISE popped into my head during a lunch break from work. I was in a bookstore, and the idea came to me later that day.
4. Will we ever see Ria again in the future?
I may do a spin off novel which has Ria in it, yes. Stay tuned.
5. Why did you write about an artist? Does sculpture have a particular significance to you?
I've always appreciated artists and the amazing talents that they have. Writing about Ria's talent was fun, but also challenging. I liked the aspect of perfection that Ria brings to her sculpting. But that aspect of perfection is more about her own insecurities about herself. I wanted to weave that into the book.
6. Were any of the characters personalities or emotions taken from real life?
The characters are all invented. Naturally there are some influences from people you hear about or those around you, but I doubt anyone I know would see themselves in one particular character of the book.
7. What other genres would you like to try your hand at?
I'm now writing a four book series, and while the basis of that is also literary fiction, it has elements of action and adventure, and survival skills. This is due to the nature of the story.
8. What would you do if you were Ria?
What would I do if I were Ria? That is a very funny question. I can’t ever imagine being like Ria. I can’t draw a straight line for a start!
9. Was there any intended symbolism behind the fact that Ria is too self-conscious to be seen in public? What would you have to say to others who might feel the way she does?
There is much symbolism to the fact that Ria doesn’t want to be seen publicly, as the artwork she creates is lauded publicly. But Ria has believed a lot of lies, and so I’d say to anyone, as Ria had to find out through the course of the book: get truth.
10. Would you like to see Rise as a film? If yes, who do you want to see play your characters?
Oh, I’m sure every author would like to see their book made into a film. The actress to play Ria? I think Lupita Nyong’o would be fab.
11. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
I see myself having a wide catalogue of work, under different genres, but always with the same themes as Rise running through them. These themes are universal, and which everyone can relate to.
12. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?
Perhaps acting. I’ve always enjoyed that.
13. Can you tell KSR what you're working on next?
Yep. I’m working on a 4-book series at the moment. They’re due to come out later this year.
14. What authors, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with?
This is a difficult one I honestly can’t think of anyone!
15. Thank you for participating in the interview. Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
Three things: I can count to ten in Japanese. I got to purple belt in Karate when I was a kid, and I was fortunate to live in Spain for nine months as part of my university degree course.
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