I had the privliage of interviewing Stephen Whitfield, the author of Omari and the People, the review of which is also posted today (scroll down just a little bit, dear bean!) and you should check it out. I enjoyed the book and gave it a solid 3.5 beans.
Read my interview with Stephen Whitfield below!
The world in Omari and The People is based off of Subsaharan Africa, did you use the internet for inspiration or did you meet people on your travels who would inspire your writing?
As a child I loved to climb the great dunes formed by ancient, receding glaciers off the southern tip of the Great Lakes . My love for travelling across sands was rekindled when I trained as a Marine in the Mojave Desert. The stark majesty of the Mojave was both exhilarating and refreshing for me. The life and writings of T.E. Lawrence, a man who also loved the desert, also inspired me. While researching desert travelogues for the story, I came across the marvelous works of Sir Wilfred Thesiger’s, whose descriptions of the Sahara provided such rich details of his travels across the Empty Quarter of the Sahara. These are some of the sources of the location of Omari and the other People.
As for people I met who inspired characters, there was a young woman I met at a jail, another woman who was a drug smuggler, an ancient woman who lived in a gutter, a platoon of Marines who lived and survived together, and a wild-eyed dictator…
What is the most unique and memorable trip you’ve ever taken? How has it affected your writing?
In Jamaica I’ve explored a 17th century fort, dove from a cave into a waterfall pool, danced, eaten, loved, climbed and marveled at the island’s heady beauty. It’s where I began writing Omari and the People.
If you could pick any fictional world to travel across, which would you choose and why?
The Sahara is the subject of fiction, but it is quite real. It is a wilderness with surprising beauty.
Did you ever second guess yourself as a writer? Consider a different path than that as a creator of worlds?
Writing was not as easy as I thought, especially when my words were edited by very tough men. My first professional writing was done as a Marine Corps journalist. My editors were combat veterans who tore my first works apart with red ink. After I shook off my wounded pride, I began to notice less red marks and occasional praise. That’s when I began to call myself a writer.
How long was Omari and The People in the works for? Did the entire story come to you overnight or was it a long time in the making?
It took forever to write Omari. Writing a novel is very different than an article, and I learned what craft I created through trial and error. Years.
The classic, because it needs to be asked after this amazing adventure, do you have anything new in store for your readers? There are rumors of a sequel?
There is a story related to Omari and the People whispering in my ear, begging me to write. There might come a time when familiar characters take life again. We’ll have to see.
What did you think?? Don’t forget to enter the giveaway on the last post!!