Interview with Yossie Paul

What is your writing process?
Oh, this is interesting. First, the ideas. These come randomly. I could be talking about one idea, and another one pops up, and I say: "Oh, ok. This is good!" I then proceed to write my ideas in my notebooks so as not to forget. My mind has no boundaries - a blessing and a curse.
Sometimes, if I am super excited, I write the opening paragraph, or some dialogue that might fit in somewhere, later.

When I'm ready to tackle it seriously, I then open the laptop and start to work. Stories and poems could take as long as a day or a month to take shape. I think I'm a slow writer, for the most part.
On rare occasions, the words just flow. I cherish those days. A lot.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Oh, wow. This is tough. I don't know that I remember the FIRST story I ever read. This saddens me. I wish I did.
The first story that had a significant impact on my mindset, however, was 'Lord of the Flies' by William Golding. I think I read this at 15, in Year 10. It changed how I conceptualised innocence, childhood, and original sin.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
- Wuthering Heighs
- The Great Gatsby
- Giovanni's Room
- Young, Gifted and Black
- Talking Back - Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black
What do you read for pleasure?
Haha. Poetry.

(I laughed because I don't know that I read for pleasure. It's complicated.)
What is your e-reading device of choice?
iBooks or Kindle on my iPad.
Describe your desk
Oh, messy! Right now. I want to get a bookcase just so I can create some space. I wrote a poem about my desk three years ago. It's embarrassing, so nobody is ever seeing it. I currently have books - all kinds - and bottles of water on my desk. A gift bag with champagne in it - graduation present. An umbrella, good lord.
Other random things.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
i grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and moved to the UK when I was 13. My childhood environment and experiences are at the core of my writing, especially as almost everything I have written in the past year has been a nostalgia for home, some kind of memory of home.
When did you first start writing?
Properly? Two/three years ago.

I have always written. I remember writing love letters - to nobody in particular - that would never be read, when I was 10 years old. My big cousin found one, one day, and I got in trouble for that. Maybe I'll write it into a story some day. Haha.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Ooooh. When I was 18, I had a crazy idea: Hey, why don't I publish my first book when I'm 21?

So I turned 21, and I hadn't published the book yet. In June, I realised that I had a few months left of being 21, so I talked to some people, and they said: Hey, go for it!

Now, we have a book. I can't believe I went for it, but I am glad!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I think controlling my process - and I suppose progress - as a writer. I wanted to do this on my own, for the most part. I wanted to test my own strength, ha.
What are you working on next?
Short stories! 200 words each. Something like that! :)
Who are your favorite authors?
Oooh-ey. James Baldwin and Lorraine Hansberry.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I work as a private tutor and an editor. Everything I do involves words and education. I love it!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Ha! No. But it was probably something related to a romantic relationship. I was a child with an open wound for a heart.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Oh, the sharing. The sharing. To hear someone say, "You expressed that beautifully, in a way I have always felt."

Two years ago, I shared a post about heartbreak with a friend, and he said he felt similarly after the death of his father, and that I moved him to tears. That, for me, has been the greatest joy of writing.

To let people know that they are not alone, that their stories matter.
Published 2015-09-04.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Hiraeth: Selected Poems
Price: $7.50 USD. Words: 3,540. Language: British English. Published: September 28, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Coming of age
Essays and poems that deal with a longing—yearning—for home, something in the past, perhaps a place one cannot return to.