On Sunday 25th September 2016, writer and blogger Tunde Leye launched his novel, Guardians of the Seal, and social media has been abuzz since. A graduate of Computer Science from the University of Lagos, Tunde published his first book, an illustrated children’s book titled The Rat Race, in 2011. From 2012 t0 2014, he published seven fiction series on his blog which garnered almost 2 million views in that period, proving the point that contrary to popular opinion, Nigerians do read.
He published his second book, Golden Sands, in 2012. One of his short stories, ‘Saving the King’, was adapted as a short film in 2014. A feature film based on his series, Broken Mirrors, is due out in 2016. He talks to Joy Ehonwa about writing, inspiration and Guardians of the Seal in this 5-minute interview.
What was your inspiration for your latest book, Guardians of the Seal?
I always say there’s no single inspiration for things. Writing, like life, is a tapestry, with some themes more overt and the others more in the background. Therefore, multiple influences led to the book. So you’ll find it steeped in Christian mythology, with a dash of Japanese and Yoruba mythology influences, anime, a good dose of Tolkien and C.S Lewis, and so on. Let’s say all of these coalesced into the inspiration for this book.
Readers are often curious about the writing process. Describe a typical day for you when you’re working on a book.
I’m glad you personalized the question because I think everyone evolves what works for them. For me, I typically write a story by first imagining the central concept. For Guardians of the Seal, for example, this was the idea of the seals, their origin, the powers they granted and their purpose. Then I let this stew in my mind and the characters are fleshed out as the story evolves in my mind. In all this, I haven’t written a word. I then get into research online, in books, reference material and talking to people. Once I have all this source material, I begin writing and I write to the end in one go. Then I go back, refine, flesh it out, researching as I go along and editing. I do much iteration until the story is ready. I got loads of practice with writing for my blog weekly.
How would you describe the importance of having a good editor when it comes to writing fiction?
(Laughs) Importance is an understatement. Stories are made or destroyed at editing so it’s absolutely crucial to get it right. And there are different types of editing, so it’s important to cover all the bases – grammar, structure, flow, logical accuracy, and internal consistency. They’re all important to the story being an easy and enjoyable read. Stories that read easy are the result of hard writing coupled with ruthless editing.
At the end of Guardians of the Seal, you would want your readers to…?
…have thoroughly enjoyed the story.
What advice would you give someone trying to write and publish their first book?
That there’s a difference between writing and publishing; writing is the art and it’s what most of us learn first. Publishing is the business and it’s important that those who have learnt to write also learn to do the business, especially in our environment.
What would you like as your epitaph?
Wanted it all. Got it all. Gave it all.
To purchase Tunde Leye’s Guardians of the Seal, click here.