Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR ARTISTIC PROCESS?
Yusuf Zay: The writing. Conceiving the idea for a story is always fun, and letting it playout in your head as well. But when push comes to shove, the writing process can be gruesome. You get stuck, you get distracted. You don’t have enough time, all of these are difficult but ultimately contribute to the beautiful experience of writing.
Romelia: DOES YOUR FAMILY SUPPORT YOUR CAREER AS A WRITER?
Yusuf Zay: Yes they do. I didn’t give them much of a choice. LOL
Romelia: IF YOU HAD TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY AS A CHILD OR TEENAGER TO BECOME A BETTER WRITER AS AN ADULT, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Yusuf Zay: I would get a mentor.
Romelia: HOW LONG ON AVERAGE DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK?
Yusuf Zay: Four months.
Romelia: DO YOU BELIEVE IN WRITER’S BLOCK?
Yusuf Zay: Oh, yes. Hard not to believe in it when you go through it literally every other day.
Romelia: AT WHAT POINT DO YOU THINK SOMEONE SHOULD CALL THEMSELVES A WRITER?
Yusuf Zay: At the point they decide to write or pursue a career in writing. We are not writers because of the number of books we’ve written and published or awards we’ve won. We are writers simply because we chose to write.
Romelia: WHAT DIFFERENCE DO YOU SEE BETWEEN A WRITER AND AN AUTHOR?
Yusuf Zay: A writer writes anything & everything. Books, scripts, copies, digital content, speeches and the likes while an author specifically focuses on writing books.
Romelia: HOW DO YOU PROCESS AND DEAL WITH NEGATIVE BOOK REVIEWS?
Yusuf Zay: I let them fuel me to write better. Negative reviews can be constructive and are always welcome when they are. But most importantly, I don’t let them plunge me into self doubt or depression.
Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR WRITING PROCESS?
Yusuf Zay: LOL. What’s her name again? OH, YES. Editing.
Romelia: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING OR WHEN DID YOU START?
Yusuf Zay: I started writing at the age of 11.
Romelia: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A WRITER WORKING ON THEIR FIRST BOOK?
Yusuf Zay: You’ve got this! Trust the process, no matter how tasking, no matter how long. It will be worth it in the end.
Romelia: WHAT, TO YOU, ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF GOOD WRITING?
Yusuf Zay: The plot, character development, setting, grammar, a powerful conflict and an even harder resolution to achieve.
Romelia: WHAT COMES FIRST FOR YOU – THE PLOT OR THE CHARACTERS – AND WHY?
Yusuf Zay: It depends on the story. Sometimes the plot comes first, sometimes the characters, other times it could be a phrase or word that sparks the idea for a story.
Romelia: HOW DO YOU DEVELOP YOUR PLOT AND CHARACTERS?
Yusuf Zay: I live with them. In my head of course. Sometimes it takes weeks, sometimes months. I let the plot and the characters play in my imagination for as long as it takes till I get a suitable ending and I’ve exhausted alternate possibilities of said plot and characters. Once I am satisfied, I begin to write my first draft.
Romelia: WHEN DID YOU FIRST CALL YOURSELF A WRITER?
Yusuf Zay: When I wrote my first story on a note book as a child. That was the first time I called myself a writer. But the first time I actually truly believed it was when an older and accomplished writer complimented my work.
Romelia: HOW DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN AUTHOR?
Yusuf Zay: Effectively. I use my social media to promote my books, network with other authors, discover new platforms for readers and authors.
Romelia: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE PART OF PUBLISHING?
Yusuf Zay: It would have to be the finance and resources of self-publishing as I haven’t been traditionally published yet.
Romelia: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO AN AUTHOR WHO WANTED TO DESIGN THEIR OWN COVER?
Yusuf Zay: If you are a good graphic designer, great! But if you aren’t, it’s best to hire a pro.
Romelia: HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN AND WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE?
Yusuf Zay: I have written a lot across several platforms, under several aliases. But I consider my official debut novel, Orisabunmi as my favorite.
Romelia: WHAT PART OF THE BOOK DID YOU HAVE THE HARDEST TIME WRITING?
Yusuf Zay: The prologue. It was centered on loss and it came quite easily. What made it hard was having to relive and channel the experience of losing someone I loved.
Romelia: WHAT PART OF THE BOOK WAS THE MOST FUN TO WRITE?
Yusuf Zay: All the fight scenes.
Romelia: WHICH OF THE CHARACTERS DO YOU RELATE TO THE MOST AND WHY?
Yusuf Zay: Modupe Dabiri. She’s the cautious one, the voice of reason, the one who denies herself a lot of things just so she could fit in. I used to be her until I realized that to be at the top, you have to be odd. JUST ASK THE NUMBER 1.
Romelia: IF YOU’RE PLANNING A SEQUEL. CAN YOU SHARE A TINY BIT ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR IT?
Yusuf Zay: Orisabunmi book is the first in the made of magic trilogy, so yes. I am currently writing the second book and what I can tell you is it’s going to be even bigger than the first, not just story wise, but publishing and marketing as well.
Romelia: TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY ABOUT YOUR ADULT LIFE.
Yusuf Zay: I want to be a kid again. It’s not funny. I’m dead serious. Adulthood is the ghetto.
Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.
Yusuf Zay: I am a witty, adventurous, cool and creative writer. An innovative thinker, budding entrepreneur and media personality. I am also a very good cook and I can’t dance to save my life. The only thing I hate about the world is the evil and loss in it but I believe in balance. Without evil, there can be no good. without loss, no gain. Without sorrow, no joy.