JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Qwantu Amaru, author of One Blood
(The Pantheon Collective)
A voodoo curse torments a group of people unaware of their hidden connections. Set in and throughout Louisiana, the story takes the reader on an epic journey from the 1800’s to the early 2000’s. This is a book about family secrets, revenge, manipulation, destiny, and redemption. One Blood grips the reader and doesn’t let go even long after the last page has been read.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write One Blood?
Qwantu Amaru: I always knew I would write a book one day. After years of reading Stephen King and Anne Rice, among others, I decided to put pen to paper. They say to write what you know and what I know is the unique setting that is Louisiana and the kind of stories that only happen there.
One Blood could not have taken place in any other place in the world but Louisiana because of the rich, complex history of the state and its people. And after a creative writing class assignment in January 2000, I started writing and never looked back!
JP: What sets One Blood apart from other books in the same genre?
QA: The complexity of my characters coupled with the effective use of dialogue, excellent pacing and engrossing suspense really set this book apart. The story employs a Tarantino-esque structure that keeps the reader engaged and off-balance (in a good way).
This book qualifies as a horror novel, but it’s far more psychological than gory, and the fear hits the reader in a different place than the average horror novel. Also, there aren’t too many African-American horror writers doing it these days, so that is unique in and of itself.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to One Blood getting out to the public?
QA: Word-of-mouth and reviews are the gateway to success, and I’ve been blessed to be getting very good reviews thus far (the book debuted in December 2011). Also really forging a connection with readers and fans via social media and online reading communities like goodreads, scribd, library thing and shelfari.
My readers facebook chat me just to shoot the breeze and know I’m a regular guy who just happens to write. I think that level of access is a definite differentiator. And last but not least, author interviews (like this one!), blog tours, and innovative promotions (I’m giving away a Kindle Fire to the first 100 facebook fans who bought the book) help further establish and build the movement.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish One Blood?
QA: I was 22 when I started One Blood and completely clueless about the writing process. (Hence the reason it took 12 years to get it done!) I had an idea for a story and just started writing. It didn’t take long for me to write myself into a corner. This happened because I was trying to plot the novel rather than create living, breathing characters and let them tell their story.
It was then that I took a step back and when back to the drawing board focusing on character development. Then everything else flowed from that. I also opened myself to critique constantly. Many people contributed ideas or suggestions that made the story better.
I know many writers avoid the real world at all costs when writing, but getting constant feedback along the way really helps me. So my process for future novels will always start with the characters and then proceed with getting feedback early and often!
JP: What’s next for Qwantu Amaru?
QA: Promoting the heck out of One Blood while completing my second novel (dropping spring 2013) titled The Uneasy Sleep of Giants which can best be described as The Kite Runner meets The Davinci Code!
Amazon Author Central: http://amazon.com/author/qwantuamaru
For interested readers there is a FREE 30 chapter preview of One Blood on Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/Qwantu/d/67747510-One-Blood-Part-One
And here is the link to my publisher The Pantheon Collective: http://www.pantheoncollective.com