Eric Mnguter Moavetyo Ikpah, a native of Nigeria and belongs to the Tiv tribe of Benue state, is author of an African mythology book series. I had the chance to ask him a few questions about his books and his journey into writing and publishing.
1. Introduce yourself to the readers.
My name is Eric Mnguter Moavetyo Ikpah. I’m a 2016 graduate of Mass Communication from Benue State University. Makurdi Benue state Nigeria. I went to 2 different primary schools, 3 different secondary schools and so far, graduated from one University. My Dad is a Quantity Surveyor by profession and my mum teaches Catering craft in a government owned secondary school in Benue state Nigeria. I grew up in a middle-income family in Makurdi, Benue state, Nigeria. I have many siblings, but I am the only son of my mum.
2. When did you start writing?
I started writing on the 1st of November 2013. that was the very day, my journey as a writer began.
3. Tell us about your book, “John Henison and the Silver Calabash.”
The book follows the adventure of a young man named John Henison as his tries to return order in his university by retrieving the silver calabash, an object which upon its return will banish a mythical creature called a water-lord from his university campus. The book is the first in a series of 5 young adult novels based on African mythology.
4. What inspired you to write the book?
I wrote the book based on my desire to see African/black characters take the leading role in adventure literature and based on the desire to showcase the writing talent inherent in Nigeria and Africa at large. The book is also a tool to achieve world peace because it features moral themes, lessons and proverbs found only in African that if used worldwide can reduce ethnic, racial and religious tensions which we face in our daily lives.
5. What advice would you give to a beginner writer?
My candid advice to them is that they read very well before they embark on the writing adventure. I call it an adventure because the journey is filled with different unplanned routes which you will certainly follow.
6. What was the publishing experience like for you?
The truth is that Nobody wants to publish any black/African author. I have tons of rejection letters in my email from reputable publishing houses, at first it bothered me and made me feel untalented but later, it stopped bothering me.
7. What was something you learned about publishing you didn’t know prior to publishing the book?
I learnt that not knowing anyone in the publishing house or having any connections (just like in every other sector) won’t get you anywhere.
8. What is something about publishing you find difficult?
The most difficult thing about publishing is getting publicity for a new book as an African.
9. What is the Tiv Tribe?
The Tiv Tribe is an indigenous tribe that live mostly in the Benue Valley that speak a bantu related language. Tiv people are found everywhere in Nigeria both mostly in Benue, Taraba, Nassarrawa and Plateau states of Nigeria. We were described by an early 20th century German Explorer as “Africa’s best storytellers.”
10. Are you working on any new books?
The second, third and fourth book of the John Henison series have already been completed. Once things get in order with my publishers, they will be released to the public. I will start writing the last book in the series next month.
11. How has the pandemic affected your life as an author?
I am not bothered by the pandemic, just that my sales aren’t growing as sharply as I expected. I would really be happy if everyone that reads this interview Remembers to share it with others.
12. If you could have lunch and conversation with an author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
For male living fiction authors, I greatly admire George RR Martin. I love him because he has an amazing sense of creativity. For female living fiction authors, I greatly adore J.K. Rowling. She is an adorable fellow. As for this list, I am not biased towards any author. Anyone who can put pen to paper and write pages from memory continuously is a genius.
John Henison is a young, unloved and underappreciated child. He is very hardworking and determined but that never gets to be seen, as no one takes him seriously or gives him the respect he deserves.
Deep inside him, he knows he is special and gifted but has never been called upon to prove his worth.
Soon after arriving Creek View University, he starts noticing bizarre occurrences around him and he must find a way to prove his worth.
“John Henison and the Silver Calabash” is available on amazon
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For you fantasy and adventure book lovers, make sure you take the time to check out this book.