Readers, please welcome debut thriller author Qwantu Amaru to Reviews and Interviews.
Qwantu Amaru draws his inspiration from his modest upbringing in small towns and cities across the US. In addition to his first novel, One Blood, Qwantu has published six volumes of poetry. Qwantu is an active member of the outstanding socially active poetry collective Black on Black Rhyme out of Tallahassee, FL. He has performed spoken word in poetry venues from New York to Los Angeles. He is also part owner and one third of The Pantheon Collective, an independent publishing venture dedicated to bringing high quality independent books to the masses while empowering and inspiring other authors to follow their dreams. Qwantu currently resides in Jersey City, NJ.
Welcome, Qwantu. Please tell us about your newest novel.
One Blood is my debut novel, a story 12 years in the making. It is a supernatural thriller, set in and throughout Louisiana in the vein of books by Anne Rice, Tananarive Due, and Stephen King. The novel is pretty epic in scope, spanning 200 years of history from 1802-2002. It’s a page-turning rollercoaster that will make you think as much as it makes you jump! One Blood is a character-driven tale that involves a group of diverse characters, all tied together through hidden connections and their mutual torment by a Voodoo curse.
What inspired you to write this book?
I think debut novels are always written in an effort to understand one’s life and self, but the catalyst was the combination of a creative writing assignment and a powerful memory of meeting former politician and KKK Grand Wizard David Duke when I was attending high school in Lake Charles, LA.
What exciting story are you working on next?
My 2nd novel can best be described as The Kite Runner meets The DaVinci Code! It is tentatively titled, The Uneasy Sleep of Giants and deals with a son trying to avenge the untimely death of his father, a chemist who may have cured cancer and been killed for it.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Upon completing several crucial chapters in the first draft of One Blood, I read over them, wondering where the heck the words had come from and knew I was tapping into something else. At that moment, I felt like a writer.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t write full-time, although I do write every night from 8:30 to 10:00 pm with a goal of completing 5 hand-written pages a night. I stay very busy working as the Chief Operating Officer of a technology and events company that takes me around the world. I also am 1/3 owner of an independent publishing venture called The Pantheon Collective, and I have a consulting company called X.I. Consulting. As previously mentioned, I have a sacred hour and a half blocked off each night for writing, but I also write on planes, in hotels on the road, and many other places. I just fit it in. It’s a part of who I am.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmm. I require music, tea, a good pen, and 5 subject notebook to write. I also prefer writing in crowded environments to writing by myself in my office at home. The movement around me somehow helps me focus for some reason.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I used to tell my folks that I wanted to be an architect and in a way, I am. Because what is a novel or story, if not a building?
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I really like to engage with readers and have a fantastic facebook fanpage dedicated to a lot of fun activities. Please like my page and join in on the fun!
Thanks for stopping by to talk about writing, Qwantu.