Interview with Jerry Efobi

What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are my readers and they're the reason that I write. True, the art of writing has its therapeutic effects; but I like to see the writer-reader relationship as two insects mating. Whereas the writer represents the male bug, the writer’s duty is to satisfy the reader and not self.
What are you working on next?
My next book is going to be biography or biographical. The former would be the case if am to have a long break from now till December. But it’s going to be biographical if readers of my last story of Libya request that I expand it into a novel. That would probably be the case, considering that 72% of readers-correspondence is asking for a full novel. Talk about the short story titled Fate.
Who are your favorite authors?
Not in any particular order, they are, Bram Stoker, Elizabeth Goudge, Tony Ubesie, Dan Brown, Christopher Farnsworth, Chinedu Ofomata. I’m like a lover at first sight. Presently I’m courting James Allen’s poems.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I’d take that literally. It’s that feeling that comes with the gulping of the first glass of water. It’s going to be a dialectical dog fight trying to convince me that same is not the reason the sun rises each morning.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Normal living. I do what all other persons do except that the primary thoughts in my head are all about writing, publishing and writing some more.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. That was the fable 'Two Boulder Friends'. Summary is that there are nine boulders floating in space. They represent the nine solar planets. One day one of the boulders, extravagantly endowed began to feel embarrassed the way the other eight gawked at him. He wanted to be like others, mediocre, so as to fit into the bunch. Little did he know that the rather inscrutable looks were looks of admiration and jealousy. The nearest boulder to him tried to shine the light but he refused to understand; instead he transferred all his endowments to his neighbour. That fatal decision marked the genesis of his misery. But his neighbour, after recieving his endowments, went on to become the most successful boulder among the nine. That was a story of Mars and the Earth. There used to be life on Mars the time earth was barren. You can now work out the rest of the allegory.
What is your writing process?
An idea comes to me in the form of a speckle of light shot into my head. I fix my mind on it for a few minutes and then deposit it into my subconscious mind. If that very idea resurfaces next time I’d then have to meditate upon it for a few weeks. After the third or fourth week I’d determine if it’s worth writing about. Then I’d see if it’s something that I can research. If the last test comes out positive I’d draw the visual plots on cardboard papers and hang them up on the wall. All these precautions not from my dexterity but it’s because I dread that moment, writing the first three chapters. I feel disflowered at the start of every story; so naturally I have to procrastinate at first. You know that loving-sadness of a feeling. But when it gets rolling, it powers itself till the end.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Earliest stories that I read were folktales in my language, Igbo. Local authors that I read early in life must have influenced my preference for realistic fiction. Tony Ubesie tilled my soul to extent that today I still wonder why his statuses have not been raised in the cities and lectures held in his honour. Peace be unto him.
How do you approach cover design?
I sit the graphic designer down and give them a summary of the story. I tell them what I want potential readers to feel while looking at the book cover. Then I try to explain the imagery that I already see in my head. Patient mantises. Most times they do come up with something entirely different but far better than what I had in mind.
What do you read for pleasure?
Non-fictions are too serious for leisure. And yet there are times when even fictions become a thump in the head. In times like that when I’d need stories that are far less serious I pick up the Nigerian dailies. Oh! you said PLEASURE not leisure. It’s religious writing of course.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The speckle of light which grew to become the book, The Soliman Angelo Code is Astrology and Numerology. The precision achieved when the two are taken together and interpreted correctly could threaten any incumbent god. If I were an only god worshipped by folks, I’d warn them against the practice of combining astrology and numerology for whatsoever reason. Every defaulter would have ketchup on pizza for lunch.
The other book is titled Fate. It is a story of modern-day slave trade in Libya. A topic I wish we could discuss more.
Published 2018-02-28.
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