Interview with Ibrahim Whyte Sesay

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Sierra Leone, on the west coast of Africa, where II was born. We have a harmonious ethnic milieu, and you grow up awash in different traditions and that have a bearing on your writings.
When did you first start writing?
I have always been active in various forums, but never written professionally until about three years ago. I keep reading subpar stuff that passes for books, and I told myself I could do better. And so here I am today.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I come fro a patriarchal society, where men really control the continent's destiny, despite the sanctimonious lip service of gender equality. I figured that I could shake things up a bit with a strong female lead in a contemporary setting, bristling with the grumpy men of politics. Plus I am frustrated with African politics. Almost sixty years after the continent gained independence, the continent is retrogressing instead of progressing, and this is true for nearly every single country out there. I couldn't resist lampooning the men who brought the continent to its knees.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Everybody told me indie was the new thing. They say you might not make a lot of money, but that's OK, since I can publish some really good stuff without groveling for a contract from some publishing bureaucrat looking down his nose at me.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being able to utilize a collection of disparate words to create a coherent reading experience for the reader, and to do so without being pedantic, while challenging the reader to form an opinion.
What do your fans mean to you?
I have never had fans before. I have enjoyed being a fan of so many great authors though. What I want the people I read to understand is not to insult my intelligence- to understand that I will get it and that I will know, and appreciate it, if they take their time to give me a wonderful reading experience, and not just literary microwaved leftovers. I hope to render the same courtesy to those who are gracious enough to read my books.
What are you working on next?
My next book, already thoroughly edited and ready to go, will be released in August. It is called "Scratchy and the Christ". It is a satire that takes a riotous and unflinching look at politics in the United States, gun politics, talk radio, religion, and diplomatic orthodoxy. It is as humorous as can be, but with a contemporary bent. I hope you enjoy it.
I am also about halfway through my collection of short stories- Life in Paragraphs.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite of all times is Joseph Heller, the genius who gave us Catch 22. I roll on the floor, laughing, every time I read it. When I first read it in my home country of Sierra Leone, I honestly felt like a bombardier in Pinosa, without even knowing what a bombardier felt like. I just felt it organically in my bones.
I love Charles Dickens also. The Pickwick Papers is super wonderful.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Getting up in the morning to taste the vinegar and honey of life, and to optimistically strive for that silver lining in the sky...
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I teach high school, spend time with my kids, field calls with my many relatives in Africa, hang out with friends, watch Netflix and play the lottery- with fantastic dreams of winning the Megamillions/Powerball combo.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
From recommendations, ads, and just evergreen, juvenile curiosity.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was a short story about a child who won a blue ribbon for a prize cow or something. I was maybe five years old. I don't know the name of the story or the author, but I still remember that story. It brought such joy to my little heart then.
What is your writing process?
I write crazy- without regard to grammar. I just allow an uninhibited flow of sentences and feelings . After I have exhausted the well, for the time being, I then take my time to edit and recrystallize all that incoherence into as beautiful and emotively honest a structure as I possibly can. It is hard work for the first two pages, and then i get in the groove- and it is smooth sailing.
Published 2016-05-31.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.