All posts filed under: Interviews

Temi Oh: Space Girl

I remember the day I walked through Foyles bookshop in Tottenham Court Road and literally stopped in my tracks. I’d spotted Do You Dream of Terra Two? on a shelf in the distance and was trying to discern whether the cover truly featured a Black girl in an astronaut helmet. I ran over. No, I wasn’t hallucinating; she was really there. It sounds ridiculous, I’d read a million books set in space, but I’d never seen a Black girl on the cover of a space adventure before. I’d never seen not even close. My eyes zipped down to the author’s name. Temi Oh. My heart gave a leap of excitement. I was 98% sure the author was Nigerian. I put Google straight to work and a few weeks later I was sitting in a West London coffee shop with Temi Oh, gushing over that arresting cover.  “You don’t really get a lot of control over the cover as a writer,” she’d admitted. “I told them I definitely want a Black woman. I was really happy …

10 Questions for ‘Symona’s Still Single’ author, Lisa Bent

In September 2020 Lisa Bent released her debut novel, Symona’s Still Single, the story of a 37-year old Jamaican British woman looking for Mr. Right while trying not to panic at the loud ticking of her biological clock. Symona’s Still Single was launched by indie publisher, Jacaranda as part of their ground-breaking #Twentyin2020 initiative whereby they would publish 20 Black British authors in one year. It’s a funny, charming romance made richer with stories of female friendship. Lisa’s counselling degree and belief in the power of continuous self-reflection colour her writing and are visible in the experiences and adventures of Symona as she searches for love.  I put 10 questions to Lisa and she provided some fascinating answers. 1. How did you hit upon this idea for a book? I was a social commentator on Facebook. From politics, bus antics to social issues and dating trials and tribulations, I made my opinion known. My dating posts always created the most interest, but it wasn’t until December 2017 that I realised I was onto something.  My …

Sareeta Domingo is Making Waves

On a bright April day last year, I managed to grab a quick lunch with Sareeta Domingo. She’d whittled an hour out of her fiercely busy schedule to chat with me. To be safe, we ate at the Pret a Manger off London Bridge, a short walk from the Harlequin Mills & Boon office where she works as an editor. When we spoke on that April day, Domingo was a published author with a romance novel (The Nearness of You) and an erotic novella (The Confessional Diaries of a Girl in Town) under her belt. In the months since that interview she has released Love, Secret Santa, a sweet Christmas romance for teens, cued up Love on the Main Stage – a summer romance for teens – for release this month, she has a July novel coming as part of Jacaranda’s 20 for 2020 campaign called, If I Don’t Have You, and she’s worked with a clutch of remarkable writers (including Dorothy Koomson, Daniellé Dash and Sara Jafari) on a new anthology celebrating women of …

Literary agent, Nelle Andrews sits in her office

Nelle Andrew is crafting a new narrative in publishing

“I love the deal. I LOVE the deal. I mean to be an agent you have to love the deal. I love sending out a book and getting those emails 24 hours later saying ‘I loved it! Don’t let someone else buy it.” It’s a sunny Tuesday morning and I’m chatting with literary agent Nelle Andrew in a coffee shop in Bloomsbury. We are opposite the offices of Peters, Fraser and Dunlop where she works as a primary agent, a ‘hunter-gatherer’ as she puts it, searching out and representing the UK’s brightest writing talent.

10 Questions for literary agent, Emma Paterson

Emma Paterson’s author list reads like a who’s who of influential people currently shaking up cultural discussions in the UK. Emma Dabiri (Don’t Touch My Hair), Otegha Uwagba (Little Black Book), Charlie Brinkhurt-Cuff (Mother Country), Bridget Minamore (Titanic), Panashe Chigumadzi (These Bones Will Rise Again), Funmi Fetto (Palette – a beauty bible for women of colour, out October 2019) are just a selection of her clients. Paterson studied English at Cambridge then completed an MA in Gender Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies. Her first publishing job was as editorial assistant for an academic publisher. She moved on to an agents’ assistant role at the prestigious Wylie Agency, joined Rogers, Coleridge & White in 2013 and is now a literary agent with Aitken Alexander Associates. She was named the Bookseller Rising Star of 2018. 1. You completed an MA at SOAS then went into academic publishing before deciding you preferred fiction publishing. How hard was it to get an assistant position at The Wylie Agency? The first time I interviewed for that position, …

Talia Hibbert is giving Black women happy endings (and publishers a lesson in business)

“When I was younger, I wrote stories with white heroines. I thought, ‘If I want to be published, this is what I’ll have to do. No one wants to read about black people.’” Romance writer Talia Hibbert is talking about her protagonists. Specifically, about the effort it took to stop imagining them as thin, white women and write characters who looked like her. “I grew up reading all these romances that I loved and they were so important, but they were also the kind of books that said, ‘His hand looked so dark against her pearlescent blah, blah, blah.’” She rolls her eyes and smiles.

Alexandra Sheppard is bringing the magic of the Greek Gods to North London

I meet Alexandra Sheppard on a sweltering September evening. She’s travelled down from North London by bus to meet me at the Southbank Centre. She’s dressed in denim dungarees, her hair is pulled into a top knot and she has that baby-faced youthfulness that probably gets her carded all the time. We’ve met once before, at a Black Girls Book Club event where I got her to agree to a proper sit down so I could get all the dish on her highly anticipated debut novel, Oh My Gods.

Q&A with Christina C. Jones

I first heard of Christina C. Jones when she wrote a guest post for Quanie Miller’s blog on Five Ways To Build Your Author Platform. I nodded agreeably to all her advice, then did a double-take when I came to the Author Profile at the end and read that she’d written nine books since 2013. I immediately raced over to Amazon to read an extract from her latest novel at the time, the romantic suspense story  Catch Me If You Can. I swiftly confirmed that she was not only a prolific writer but also a highly talented one.

Q&A with Havana Adams

When I was a kid I would use a torch to read under my quilt long after ‘lights out’. Some books were just too good to leave unfinished. Reading Black Diamond, Havana Adams’ current release, took me right back to those days. I started reading it for a review but I Could. Not. Put. It. Down. The story of abandoned twin girls whose lives take vastly different turns after one is adopted by a Hollywood star and the other by a cruel pastor, sucked me in like quicksand. It was utterly brilliant from start to end.

Nicole Amarteifio talks sex and African cities

Since it launched in March 2014, the web series An African City has attracted thousands of online viewers and scored a ton of critical acclaim for its bold approach to sex, its multifaceted female protagonists and its dazzling aesthetic. I spoke to the show’s creator and writer, Nicole Amarteifio about her creative process, feminism and what it takes to fulfill a dream.   I was born here in Ghana. But shortly after the December ‘81 coup my family decided to leave. First we went to England, then after about seven years we moved to America where I spent most of my life. Even as a child growing up in America I always knew that I wanted to go home, and home was Ghana. So shortly after college I made the move back.   I remember one of my first bosses out of college, she loved my writing. It gave me that confidence, that bounce in my step. I started writing poetry and poetry turned into a chapter of a novel. When I was in grad …