Episode 32A – Enosadeda Odiase – A Dance for the Gods

Nosa lives in the UK, though he is from Nigeria. Besides writing, he is a mechanical engineer by day and has used his knowledge to make the buildings in his books stand out.

He is writing a fantasy series based on the culture and beliefs of Nigeria. Currently, there are two books available and he is working on his third.

You can find his books at:

https://www.ghagerianpublishing.com/

He also has several favorite authors, including:

A favorite bookstore is in Crystal Palace – Bookseller Crow

https://booksellercrow.co.uk/

TRANSCRIPT:

Stephen 0:55
Happy New Year and welcome to a brand new episode of discovered wordsmiths. I know I took some time off during the holidays, were allowed to I like to spend the time with the family. So I hope everybody had a great holiday. I hope the new year has started off well for you. Here’s hoping it’s better than last year, right. So to start off, this year, I’ve got a new author, his name is no sup. He writes fantasy. And it sounds like a very interesting book because he bases it on Nigerian culture. And then on second half of the podcast, we discuss the rise of black culture in fantasy. So if you like fantasy books, stick around, listen to what NASA has to say. And then if you’re a writer, check out part B and see what our discussion on the rise of black culture in fantasy and what we discuss about it. Please, if you’ve been enjoying the podcast, if you’ve been finding new authors, go check them out, go get their books support them, what would really help new authors is leaving them a review letting others know what you thought of their books. And that would also help this podcast if you’ve listened to the episodes, if you’ve thought that you got something out of it and enjoyed it, please go leave a review somewhere wherever you get your podcast, give it some love. It’ll help others find the podcast, the more people that find the authors, the more great stories we’ll get. So without any further talking on my part, here’s No sir. All right. Well, no, sir. Welcome to the podcast. It’s great to have you on.

Nosa 2:32
Yeah, well, it’s nice. Nice. It’s nice to be invited. And thank you for for having me on. Definitely.

Stephen 2:40
Yeah, I’m excited. We got some fun things to talk about. So to get started, tell everybody a little bit about who you are, where you’re from, what you like to do all the things about you you care to share outside of writing.

Nosa 2:54
So I like I said, I’m not I am Nigerian. Nigerian descent currently live in the UK. My professional my profession outside of writing this, I’m an engineer. So like I studied engineering at university. I like obviously, I’ve always had a passion for storytelling and African history. So that’s what led me to sort of writing about sort of fantasy in saying pre colonial slash medieval Africa. Yeah, so yeah, it’s a mixture of different things, really, but but yes, that should give you a good summary of who I am as a person. You said, you’re

Stephen 3:39
an engineer, what type of engineer what do you do?

Nosa 3:42
So I’m a mechanical engineer, so I tend to design so design buildings, must my primary focus, like

Stephen 3:51
small stuff like that?

Nosa 3:52
simple stuff, not not too complicated. Yeah. Like airports and, you know, residential apartments, to the shopping centers, and all types of buildings, really. That’s why so I tend to work with architects and people on a day to day basis.

Stephen 4:14
So when people are playing SimCity, you kind of sit back and laugh.

Nosa 4:19
Pretty much a lot of the buildings from like, you know, like, when when you’re in sort of the industry in terms of buildings and stuff, each time you say a building, you can’t help but be sort of an observers trying to understand sort of how it works or write things that are wrong and write about it. So yeah, it does. It does. It does creeping ever so often, but yeah.

Stephen 4:42
So jumping, just jumping around just a little bit in that same regard. Now that you’ve been writing, do you tend to read books or watch movies and evaluate the story and the plot and try and figure out all of that

Nosa 4:56
I do now more than more often than not You know, you don’t want to be too, you don’t want to be too critical about other people’s work and stuff. Because obviously, as a writer, you appreciate the difficulty and of the others put in, in order to create a story. And you know, when when you do come to sort of Greek or someone else’s work, it can be a little bit disheartening to the person, but at the same time, you know, internally, I can also look at stuff and learn from it, and see what they’ve done right and wrong. I mean, a good example is obviously, the most hated, you know, final season of Game of Thrones, which everyone has obviously had their own two cents on. So that’s, that’s a good example, where, you know, everyone had something to say about it. You know, as a writer, you could see what the you could see the writers did wrong in that storyline, and try not to make the same mistakes, basically.

Stephen 5:56
I agree with that. I, I don’t want to be critical. But I do like to learn and there are definitely times I feel the son’s story went off the rails. I mean, I’m a big Star Wars fan in the last two movies, I was very disappointed in. We don’t want to

Nosa 6:13
repeat rebellious 50% of Star Wars fans.

Stephen 6:16
Yeah. All right. You’re a mechanical engineer, but you also write Why did you want to start writing?

Nosa 6:23
What made you start? Well, you know, growing up, I’ve always been, I’ve always been interested in engineering, right. By the same time, I’ve all also been interested, or I’ve always been a big fan of fantasy work. So from from a young age, I was, you know, addicted to the Lord of the Rings, sort of the books, the trilogy, the movies, uh, you know, Eragon, you know, I’ve always been a big fantasy fan. And as an engineer, combined with that, I know technology is kind of some people may see sort of different, but I kind of see both elements. The same with fantasy, because fantasy, effectively, you’re imagining stuff that aren’t existing yet, in our world, right. And as an engineer, the, the whole point of being an engineer is, or what I was interested in engineering was, was sort of to be able to create stuff that in our world, currently, auto engineering new stuff, so is that curiosity or that interest in developing new things, so that in line, those two sort of parts of my life are connected in being an engineer, being in science, and being interested in fantasy and fantastical worlds, in that, in that sense. Now, obviously, like I mentioned, interested in a lot of fantasy movies, bought books, and, and so on, as obviously, for the years of my interest was kind of getting picked up and, you know, increased over the years, I studied, went to university to study engineering. And through my degree, I got, obviously learned how to be a writer because, you know, you learn that naturally, as you become more educated. And at the same time, I was leaning more, I was learning or sort of watching more movies, learning, reading more books. And then later on, I think, after I left university, I started looking more into my culture and African culture, visiting loved museums, you know, and reading a lot, you know, so the historical elements that are not accessible nowadays, but reading that I found those stories really interesting, and, you know, quite unique to be honest. And combining that sort of vision of what I would imagine Africa as a, as an African person, myself, I would imagine African looked like, at a time when it was pretty cool, pre colonial time, that’s 1000 years ago, imagining that based on the stories I’ve read, and, uh, you know, the museums have visited, it piqued my interest to combine that with my source, the story elements, I’ve learned to sort of create that imagination and write down that imagination and sort of share that story with people. And obviously, when you share story with people, you realize that actually more people are actually interested in that sort of imagination. And I’m picturing that ward in understanding more about that word of pretty much way. So started really,

Stephen 9:34
okay, and I love that I’m gonna make a point of something you said, You used your daily life with engineering and buildings. And that helped inspire you, partly to do the writing, and you use the other movies and books and stories that you encounter to help inspire you want to point that out, because I know a lot of people go Where do you get your ideas and how do you think of that stuff? I think that was great when you said that, you know, everything is kind of inspiration and helps give you ideas.

Nosa 10:07
Exactly. So, so in when you read the book you what what I have found is a lot of people go Oh, you do explain sort of you is very, you know, the explanation or description of a visual because, you know, I kind of explain what some of the buildings look like,

Stephen 10:24
I was going to ask you that, do you?

Nosa 10:27
Yeah, so that’s why I do that quite a lot, because of my background. And the way my brain works, really. So I imagine stuff, I almost feel like, I’m obliged to sort of give the reader sort of what I’m imagining in a way. So so they get a good picture of what the ward looks like. And, you know, so where the characters are leaving, you know, the tools, they’re using the carriages, so, you know, wagons, they’re riding or horses, and, you know, the forests and the, and the seas and, you know, and you know, whatever sort of magnificent, you know, buildings or monuments are there they described in a way that it’s not too mechanical, because when it becomes too mechanical, or when, whenever it artists written wave mix, it explains it to them, and they can understand what the world looks like one cent and they enjoy, enjoy the writing at the same time, if you worry,

Unknown Speaker 11:27
okay, so you mentioned the book a little bit, tell us a little bit about the book, what it’s called what it’s about.

Nosa 11:33
So there are two books. Second one is coming out on the 16th of February, which is a little over a month from now. The first one is called a cry to war. So cry to war came out, October 2019, which is just over a year ago, though, both books are connected, because the same storyline, but starting with the first book, The first book is is based on like a medieval primary, the medieval Benin kingdom, which is a popular Benin, Benin is a popular sub tribe in Western Africa. So the character main character, there is king, a worry who his history is based on a actual real Oba of Benin that existed in the 14th century, if I’m correct, and maybe maybe off by 100 years, but basically, a long time ago, a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far away. But basically, he’s got quite an intriguing story, because he in the real Oba actually fought for his kingship. And this story in the book kind of elaborates on that and kind of expands, it expands on it, and makes it sort of adds a lot of traumatization. to it to make it interesting. So effectively in the book, you’re watching this guy, struggle with sort of his his, the the way the story starts, is, he’s been King for about 20 years, and 20 years before the story, the main story in the first book, his father died in a war. And he’s been rooting for the same amount of time. And he’s struggling with this internal sort of battle as to whether or not to solve or seek revenge for the death of his father. And their his his wives and over people who have different opinions, and are trying to coerce him to do certain things for their own benefits. And basically, around that is where the main conflict starts. Because the main companies, both internal and external, in terms of him sort of seeking revenge, whether or not he wants to seek revenge, internally is an internal conflict, but externally is whether or not he does that seek revenge or causes or war or whatever, from the title, you probably guess where the story’s going. But you know, that there are a lot of elements of a story that that actually expand on that. But at the same time, as all of these sort of conflicts are happening in sort of the human elements of the story, you’ve got a supernatural elements that’s happening in the forest, you know, the old gods are coming back. And they’re creating their own sort of mysterious beasts that are seeking to sort of, sort of destroy what is a time of peace and, and relative harmony. So it’s a mixture of, you know, so different elements there. And so we combinate in, you know, betray, you know, people betray each other. There is the reason War, of course, there’s political intrigue between the different kingdoms, you know, there, there is obviously the mythical forest and all the magical elements that kind of happen in that environment, and so on and so forth, which carries the story, you know, to the end of that book, then the second book, which is called a dance with the gods, a dance for the gods, sorry. So dance for the gods. is, is, is, is, is a continuation of the story, but the theme is slightly different, because from the title dance from the goal is more of the, the hardware, putting more supernatural conflicts and the, the belief systems of each of the characters how they, which Gods they want to choose to believe in, and the influence of foreign religions. What is formal religions would have the cultures of the people, or the sort of the traditional people in what, in this book is sort of the African geographical area? And, and also, you know, you’ve got the supernatural elements and the mythical beasts and all of that sort of taking place at the same time. So yeah, it’s quite, I think, is an intriguing story. But

Stephen 16:31
so it definitely sounds very in depth with some political items and a little religion in there. So not so I guess, not just focused on the action and the fighting. What made you want to write this particular book, this type of book?

Nosa 16:52
I think, I think the we’ve we’ve, we’ve, as an African, were very religious, so principally in Nigeria, with more or less split into two. So you go, the southern half of Nigeria is mostly Christian, the northern part is mostly mostly Muslim, right? If not, Officer 100% Muslim. So religion is is a very, very big thing in, in Nigeria, especially most of Africa to beat to be honest. But what we, we, we will, how do I say it now? You know, as regions a big thing, people don’t like, you know, sort of talking about intent in a sense of asking questions about why we believe, why we carry certain beliefs, and what those beliefs mean, for us, in terms of how we live our lives. And the decisions we make, you know, and the conflicts that arise due to those beliefs, we never really access questions, right. So in this book, essentially, you’ve got a sort of a dynamic here between what really is the traditional beliefs, I, you know, the, the, in this book, the traditional believers serve the local gods, I own all of those traditional sort of West African gods, which both exist in the book and in the real world, as well. But in the book, in the second book, there is the the injection of a foreign fictional religion. Right. And, and therefore, a fictional religion, you know, kind of tests, you know, the people’s beliefs in their own traditional gods, and in a way that some of them, you know, sort of completely changed their beliefs, some of them questioned it. And some of them decided to stay with the traditional gods. And in some cases, it caused conflicts and, and a lot of things arise from it. But it was more of a it was more of a, it wasn’t me trying to sort of be criticizing a foreign religion, or me siding with the traditional religion. As a writer, I was just sort of posing a question, in a sense, if, you know, I mean, so I was just showing you a good shorts, I would say, depiction of what would have happened, or what did happen, you know, a few 100 years ago, when, you know, you know, the most, you know, the more than invasion of Western Africa have happened, you know, and also, you know, Christianity came as well but isn’t mostly around sort of the To stop the influx of Islam into sub sub Saharan African DISA, hell, you know, around this sort of Sahara Desert, so it’s kind of looking at all of those sort of implications like, you know, on one hand, you know, you know, this, this new religion brought in knowledge and an a new way of thinking and all this stuff. On the other hand, it kind of diminished the traditional religions and traditional cultures. So I was looking at that dynamic, really, obviously, it’s not just about religion, you also had conflicts and, and war and, you know, and, and, and, and magic in and the rest of it, but in terms of religion, that was the main conflict, there was a conflict between the traditional religion and the Foreign Legion.

Stephen 20:55
That’s definitely intriguing. I had another gentleman on Antwan Mandalay, and he writes kind of similar fiction, we had a discussion on basically, we’ve got enough token white guy fantasy, so it’s nice to get something different. And I think for the second part of the podcast, we’ve got a lot to talk about in that regard. Yeah. So there’s a little preview for everyone listening to listen to the second half for more discussion on that, because obviously, the book has a lot in there. Yeah, yeah, does. Okay, so these two books are out? And did you self publish them? Yeah, they’re

Nosa 21:37
self published. So the second one is not out yet. It’s going to be 16th of February. So leave over a month’s time is on Amazon. So they’re both self published. So the first book, obviously is out. wolfen. It’s all on Amazon. So both Kindle and paperback. The second book is also going to be on Amazon, you can pre order it now. But you can you can get on Amazon, or you can go on our website and preorder it. So So yeah, it there as of published to answer a question.

Stephen 22:09
Yeah, yeah. So writing the first book, and then the second, I assume, then you’re going to write a third one? What have you learned that you are doing different? Or if you could go back and do the first book again, what you would do different?

Nosa 22:26
I think, I think, I think to be honest, I’ve, I think, because I’ve, you know, the first book was published over a year ago, and I’ve had enough time to sort of learn what I’ve done. I’ve had enough time to, to gather my lessons from from publishing the first book and kind of, sort of adapt that to the second book and get, you know, more success with the second book. But I wouldn’t say I would go back and change the first book, because you because I’m doubt when I’m looking at things in hindsight. And with hindsight, there’s always things to change. Right? Because that means I’ll never publish the first book. And if I never put the first book, then I wouldn’t know. I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t have learned what I’ve learned through implementing the second book. So so I have learnt a lot. The things I have learnt is more to do with the marketing world, I would say, obviously, I’ve improved in terms of we’ve improved in terms of how we write, like, you know, the right writing is generally improved. But that is that comes naturally, we’ve more practice. I mean, once you write one book, you get better at writing anyway. So naturally, that, that, that, that that happens, but I think is more to do sort of understanding what target audience is, is the main sort of, is my main learning point, really, from the first book, because because of the sort of story we’re telling the reason, and in May, you may think there is a an exam markets and sorry, market for it. But it’s not, there is but it’s not very obvious, if you know what I mean. Right? your target audience is not very obvious. In its in that sense, so Well, yeah. Who is your target audience?

Stephen 24:23
And what feedback have you gotten from them?

Nosa 24:27
So principally, what I’ve learned is that our target audience is mainly is black people of my own age, I would say, on average, outside Britain, the ages of 18. Maybe slightly younger. I mean, there have been people who’ve been younger who’ve read it, but principally, I would say probably 1618, all the way up to 250. Probably, I mean, people older than 50 have read it, but the vast majority of the people Ready are, you know, so people in the diaspora, black people in the diaspora are between the ages of so I would say 16 to 50. But those those are the main people who who sort of read the book reading

Stephen 25:18
and have. Have you had some beta readers on your second book?

Nosa 25:22
Yeah, yeah. Well, so we we’ve had that only we get we get it gets edited anyway by external people. So yeah, we have had that.

Stephen 25:32
What’s the feedback? Like? Have you listened to the feedback from the first book to change things in the second? Or are people saying it’s just good? Or they like certain things?

Nosa 25:42
No, I don’t want people to just say it’s just good, because I agree. So we have had both good and bad feedback on the first book. And, you know, and some of the good feedback, have, obviously good feedback, you take it, because, you know, is good and, you know, you’re happy that people enjoy the book. And, and then from the bad feedback, I tend, some authors tend not to read the bad reviews or bad feedback, but I tend to read it because of a sub level headed, where I can be able to see through a, a review, and take what is beneficial to me. And obviously, some reviews can just be rude, and just be like, Oh, I didn’t like the book, I DNF. In which case, there’s not much you can take from that review. Whereas some reviews can be a little bit more in depth, and until you what they didn’t like about it, and what you know, what could be done, and you can read it as an autopsy. Right? Okay, that makes sense. That’s something I could improve upon, which we have done from the first and second book. Now, there have been instances where people have had negative reviews, and, you know, you don’t agree with their review, because you feel like, you know, for instance, in the book interface book, there is sex in the book, right, which is described, right. And some people don’t like reading about sex. So, you know, which is fine. But I decided not to remove that from the second book, you know, so it’s just the, it’s just a balance of, you know, feedbacks and knowing what feedback have to take and what not to take

Stephen 27:40
with the sex in the book. Did you have more negative feedback or pushback from certain religious groups or people?

Nosa 27:52
I think, I don’t think no one did say what their religions what their beliefs were. But some, some people just said, you know, they didn’t like the fact that, you know, those sex was described in the book, which is fine, because, you know, I mean, sex is always going to be a topic where, you know, he’s going to be gay, right averse, even though because not everyone likes that sort of stuff in their media. So, which is fine, but you know, is a choice, we is a sort of artistic choice we’ve chosen to go with, I mean, it’s not like the book is not, you know, soft porn or anything is just got three or four scenes. In the entire book. It’s, we’ve we’ve undertaken a phase, it’s not a lot, but it’s just, some people just don’t like it in in any, you know, like to talking. He never had any knees in his books. Right? Say, so I different, different people are different. So some people don’t like we can that sort of stuff. And on the other On the flip side, we’ve had people who’ve told us specifically, that that was one of the parts they enjoyed in the book. So

Stephen 29:02
well, that’s one of the nice things about self publishing, is you get to make the choice rather than being told by an agent and publisher, whether you want to leave it in or not. Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. So and then also that allows you to define your ideal reader. You know, like you said, if there’s sex in there, you’re not going to be targeting 12 year olds. Yeah. But also, you know, people who are in their 70s may not enjoy it as much.

Nosa 29:32
Exactly, exactly. And that’s, that’s pretty much what we’ve what we found really is that, you know, you will find people who read the animal don’t like it, and there are people who, who read it would love that particular element of it. You know, so it’s just, you know, you can’t win everybody’s you just look right. You just need to just need to market it to do the right people. Really,

right. So no so let me ask you, um, you’ve mentioned a few different books and authors What are some of your favorite books and favorite authors? favorite authors currently your past and current I would say obviously Lord of the Rings, kind of kind of the granddaddy of fantasy really so that best there you’ve got the Ice and Fire series ongoing series or offered by George. I think he’s definitely one to watch. watch out for. I think everyone pick his books anyway. You also have people like nk jemisin she’s she’s she’s good. You have you have Jordan e4 co she wrote Rabia, Rabia is one of my so new fantasy free favorites. That’s that’s also a really good book to Dune, dune by Prime. That’s that’s that’s a really good one. I’ve been getting into to Joel congri a pecan combi yet the bitter hatred. So he’s he’s also good. So those are in terms of fantasy. Those are the sub books I like. And obviously, I’ve been reading a lot of the Godfather recently. I’ve only just got around to me. I’ve obviously watched the movies a few years ago, but I’m recently a fan read in the books. The ceiling Yeah, it’s quite quite, quite good bookstores. Okay, so what part of the country do you live in? London? Some? I mean, South England, South London. Okay. Do you have any favorite bookstores close to you? And I know you may not have been to it for a while but

I normally go to the wanting Crystal Palace. I need to I need to get a name. Now. It’s I forgot they haven’t. They haven’t been open for for a while now. It’s a it’s an indie. It’s an independent, independent books, book stock. I’ll tell you the exact name says book seller Crow, and increase the books. crona Hill is about as an independent bookshop. I like it’s quite cozy and cool.

Stephen 32:23
I try and find some bookstores just ever if I’m in the area, I’ll look you up and we can go meet at the bookstore.

Nosa 32:31
Yeah, definitely. No, that’s definitely a good once this sort of lockdowns in isolation is over. Hopefully it should be back in business. It’d be a shame if if some of these local sort of book shops still make it. But they’ll that’s definitely one I’ll be going back into. But yeah,

Stephen 32:52
so what Where can we get your book online,

Nosa 32:57
so you can get my book. If you’re buying on paper, paperback, and Kindle, you can get on Amazon amazon.com. And you can get both a cry to war and a dance for the gods on amazon.com. You can go to get like a ebook. My ebooks on Google, Google Books. Google Books is on Kobo as well. So it says it says in full of this sort of places, it should be reachable to anyone regardless of where they are in the world. I mean, not everyone has can get Amazon. Not every country has access to Amazon where you can get you can get a book on Google Books, or Kobo.

Stephen 33:44
And do you have a website? Or are you on social media that will?

Nosa 33:49
Yeah, sorry, I should have said that. So the best place to go actually, would be our website, which is got geryon publishing.com? Do you want to post it on the on the sort of on the podcast so people can Yeah, just post a link to the to the to the website is the best place to go. And so you have all of these sort of links there to audit different sort of book shops and places to buy the book. So regardless of where you are, I should be able to grab a copy in one form or the other either on Amazon or Google Books or Kobo is easiest.

Stephen 34:30
Okay, great. What was your website again, for everybody?

Nosa 34:33
It’s got geryon Publishing. So g hedge a G ri A n publishing.com. One word gardnerian. Publishing.

Stephen 34:47
Great. All right. I’ll make sure to put a link to that in the show notes for everyone. Yeah, yeah. Well, no, sir. I appreciate you talking. We’re going to transition over to our second half. For the podcast, any last words on your book before we get into our writer discussion? No, no, that’s it. That’s the I think we’ve covered a lot. So yeah. Okay, great. Well, I appreciate you telling us about your book today. No problem.

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