Interview with A.D. Langston

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I have a love of learning about new cultures and customs, and the more unusual and misunderstood, the better. I think this stems from having moved around a great deal as a child, including having spent time overseas. Growing up with no real home base, and no consistent cultural norms, and no life-long peer group, I have often felt like an outsider no matter where I go, even in own hometown. I think this is where the attraction to "underdog" cultures, and characters, comes from. I guess I know what it feels like to be misunderstood and kept on the outside.
When did you first start writing?
I have always written. Even as a grade school child I entered poetry in the school literary magazine every year. In college I won my first writing contest for a short poem entitled "Old Servant's Song".
What's the story behind your latest book?
The inspiration for Gone to Lagos, unfortunately stems from the tragic loss of an old high- school friend of mine. He left behind a twin brother. This really struck me, and the more I ruminated about the terrible pain his brother must be feeling, the more I needed to write about it. I have been a fan of fantasy all my life, and particularly of fantasy tales set in the real world. In researching the topic of "twinless twins" I stumbled across Ibeji, the west-African deity of twins. The Yoruba tribe of Nigeria experience the highest rate of twin births in the world. Sadly, they also have a very high rate of infant mortality. There is a whole set of practices among the Yoruba tribe surrounding the proper handling of the death of a twin. Further research led me to the religion of voodoo, which traveled to the new world from west-Africa, and Ibeji traveled with it. The story blossomed from there, and I am very happy with the result. I have done my best to treat the religion of voodoo with respect, employing it in my story as a force for good. I do not believe this happens very often in literature. To me, voodoo is a culturally rich subject matter which deserves more attention. Positive attention. It is a greatly maligned and misunderstood religion, and I hope my book will cast a new, more positive light on its history and its practitioners, who number about 60 million world-wide.
What are you working on next?
I am working on prequel. It will be the story of Kalidasa Randoplh, how she came to practice voodoo, her relationship to Dr. Francis Grenouille, and how she met Constance and Bayard. I also plan to write something that will be a sort of historical fantasy- fiction of the Haitian Revolution, the so called Voodoo Wars. It was the only successful uprising of slaves in the New World, who purportedly employed voodoo to rise up and defeat Napoleon's troops in the Caribbean. There is very rich material here, just waiting to be explored.
Who are your favorite authors?
Terry Pratchett (the Discworld series) and Hubert Selby Jr., author of Last Exit to Brooklyn and Requiem for a Dream. These two authors are not only my favorites, but they have inspired my writing style a great deal.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My dog and cat. They are pretty vocal around breakfast time.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Early on I wrote a lot of poetry. I remember having a dream one night, coming downstairs to the breakfast table, and writing a four page "epic" poem based on that dream. This was in grade school. I entered it into the school literary magazine. It was something about the ocean anthropomorphized into a team of white horses, relentlessly chasing the shore line only to be sent back to sea by the tide against which it was powerless.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy is when I stop writing, and the book or poem starts writing itself. At that point I feel like a higher power is working through me. The story has power, I am just a vessel putting the words that demand to be written on a page. That is when writing makes me the happiest. If I have to force myself to write, I am probably not writing anything worth reading.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read a variety of things for pleasure. I like fantasy and sci-fi, but I also enjoy a good serious fiction, or a timeless classic. I might be reading Crime and Punishment (one of my favorite books of all time) one day, and Ray Bradbury the next. You are just as likely to find my nose in a manga or comic as a non-fiction book about history, or scientific research.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I am very new to this game, so it is difficult to quantify what is and is not working. I feel like Twitter and Blogger have probably had the widest reach so far. I think this is a question I will have to get back to you on.
Published 2015-08-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Gone to Lagos
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 62,440. Language: English. Published: August 12, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Gone to Lagos is the story of Lucien Nathan, a young man whose life is thrown into chaos following the death of his twin brother, Denman. While the local authorities deem Denman's death accidental, following a drug overdose, Lucien suspects something much more sinister. Little does Lucien know, however, just how much danger he is really in.