My book, The Reluctant Dead, is a collection of six ghost stories, set in Old Biafra, (part of present-day Nigeria), depicting core Igbo superstitions, traditions and beliefs within the supernatural context
How much have your degree and masters helped you to write these stories?
My Masters degree in Writing at the wonderful Warwick University, helped me to finally discover that all important “voice”, which every writer needs to fully realise their literary potential. I learnt how to tap into what comes naturally to me, both from experience and personal writing style.
What can you tell us about your next book, Our Bones Shall Rise Again?
Our Bones Shall Rise Again narrates an African ending to the famous Igbo Landing tragedy of 1803 at St Simon’s Island, Georgia, USA, where a group of enslaved Igbos opted for mass suicide by drowning rather than be taken into slavery. Their ghosts are said to still haunt the beaches to date.
Why are African horror stories now growing in popularity?
With the recent growth in regional horror genre, such as the Korean, Japanese, Scandinavian etc, horror fans are beginning to seek further thrills and realise the great potential in horror from a continent that has hitherto, remained darkly mysterious and inaccessible to The West.
How much research was required into these stories and tales?
Very little research surprisingly, as there are few books/articles on Igbo mythology/hauntings. Thankfully, my personal experiences and the folktales handed down to me by my mother, uncle and clansmen, supplied me with all the materials I needed to tell my stories.
Why is African horror so unique?
African horror is a cesspool of terrifying supernatural entities which few cultures can rival in their sheer volume and malevolence. Igbo horror in particular, has the same insidious quality found in Japanese horror, which has the ability to instil great fear in the unwary reader.
How does it feel to be the only female writer of African horror?
I’m sure there must be other African female writers somewhere but lack of exposure has likely hindered an awareness of these women. I am just grateful that I’ve been able in my small way, to bring our story to light.
When did your passion for these stories begin?
I had written some of the stories almost ten years ago but kept stockpiling them while I struggled to discover my “voice” with several other books I’d written. Igbo ghost stories is something that I’ve carried within me from the Biafran war experiences, which to a great extent, moulded my perception of life and death.
What is next for you?
To complete and publish Our Bones Shall Rise Again, while searching for materials for more stories. In fact, I’ve just returned from a 10 days trip to Old Biafra in Nigeria, and pretty chuffed with the wealth of lore, stories and practices I discovered, which I intend to use in my next book.
Thanks a lot for this interview and for the opportunity to showcase African horror.
The Reluctant Dead is now published and available on both Kindle and Amazon.com/.co.uk and can be ordered from Waterstones and most book retail stores.