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In the final (for now) Vampire month style interview in celebration of the release of Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire, we have Nigerian author Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki talking to us about Anne Rice and other aspects of writing about vampires.

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki is an African speculative fiction writer, slush reader and editor. He was awarded an honourable mention, twice in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. His short story won the Nommo award for best short story by an African. He has been published in African Writer, Omenana magazine, Selene Quarterly, Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, Uncanny Magazine, Strange Horizons, and Tor.  

He co-edited the Invictus Quarterly, Selene Quarterly, and the Dominion Anthology

He also happens to be a member of the African Speculative Fiction Society, Codex, BFA, BSFA, HWA and the SFWA.

You can find him on the following social media links:

Twitter www.twitter.com/penprince_

Facebook www.facebook.com/penprince

Instagram www.instagram.com/penprince

What is the earliest memory you have of writing? What did you write about?

I would say I was writing since I could write. I always used to make up my own version of the stories I read as early as I could read. About the same time I could write. Then I started to actually write it down a bit later, before I was a teenager. Mostly fight scenes with made up characters but having the abilities of the ones in stories I read. I did try my hand at original stories too as a teenager. I even have this novella/novel about ancient Egypt. Which no, you won’t be seeing. Lol.

When did you decide to become a professional writer? Why did you take this step?

Well, professional. I’ll say that was much later when I discovered literary mags and selling of stories. That was much later on in life. My mid 20s. By then I had given up on writing for like half a decade. Sold my first spec fic story to a pro market in 2018. Published in a couple places before then in like 2015.

What would you consider to be your greatest strength as a writer? What about your greatest weakness? How do you overcome this weakness?

Greatest strength, I would say is my experience as a reader. I think it influences my writing and gives it the quality or feel that it has. Weakness, I’ll say is my stamina. I’m not very prolific. I wrote in short bursts and not as often as I would like. There’s no magic cure. I just have to motivate myself daily to work at it. Food helps as a motivating factor. *smile*

Tell us about the place where you live. Have you ever derived any inspiration from your home or from anywhere you have visited?

I currently live in Lagos, Nigeria. And move around a bit. I can’t say that my place or abode has influenced me so much. I tend to live in my head, and Carry my home with me. Although the times I’ve been in a location that’s been really bad, it’s affected my writing, negatively. But other than that, a few creature comforts, and I and my writing are good.

Which book, if any, would you consider to be your greatest influence and inspiration?

There’s so many books, it would be hard to say. But it would be a tie between the DragonLance Chronicles and Legends by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, and the Dark Elf Trilogy/Icewindale Trilogy by RA Silvatore. You can toss in the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice, and the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. We can also add the Sword of Truth series. Bless Terry Goodkind.

What drove you to write about Vampires?

Anne Rice. And the fact that they are sleek, sexy, powerful, immortal, dark creaturse. What’s not to love about them?

What do you think is the attraction for Vampire fiction? Why is it such a popular topic?

I think it’s the dangerous elegance of it. The danger is exciting. The beauty is alluring. Must be why we keep going back to them so many times, no matter how much they have been explored.

In a fight between all the greatest Vampires of fiction, who do you think would come out on top?

Lestat de Lioncourt.

What about in some other contest such as sexiness or dress sense? Who would win that one?

Tie between the count Dracula and Queen Akansha. They are royalty afteral. Come on.

How well do you think one of your characters would fare against the winner(s) of the above?

Pretty well. Considering my characters are mainly gods, devils and geniuses.

Tell us the basic premise behind your latest novel.

In a post apocalyptic world where a third world war has wiped out nearly all life on the African continent, the survivors gather in Ife-Iyoku, the spiritual capital of the ancient Oyo empire and birth place of all life, where they evolve due to the magic and power of the place and gain powers to survive the radiation and twisted environs they find themselves.