What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Yusufu Shehu (nickname Soofy). Born in Watford, now living in Mitcham, Surrey.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Drawn Breath (Part I - Wrought Iron): The epic journey of two boys from an idyllic childhood into the brutal and ruthless realm of war.
What can we expect from you in the future? i.e. More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
The book is the first of five parts that make up the epic novel called Drawn Breath. So there will be four more books released in series all of the same genre (fantasy). All of the parts are finished and currently I am working on a follow up story that looks at the history of the world Drawn Breath is based in.
What genre would you place your books into?
In a broad sense, Fantasy, although I draw from several influences and themes not exclusive to fantasy.
Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
The third book, which is yet to be released. It is a fresh world with new protagonists and a completely different and enthralling sub-culture. I enjoyed writing it the most and I think the most lovable characters come out of this part.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I have always been writing in some way whether it was essays, book reviews, creative writing in school or just jotting down some thoughts. I took the concerted effort to write a novel after I graduated, around September 2011. I found a big space open up for creativity since Physics was briefly out of my life on a full time basis, so I decided to dedicate it to putting all the ideas I've hoarded and developed down on paper. With regards to inspiration, whether it's Richard Feynman, James Baldwin, Christopher Nolan, George Orwell, Tolkien, Charles Mingus, Van Gogh, Outkast or Albert Einstein. All across the board, those immortal, transient people who in their brief flicker of existence, had that passion to form and voice those powerful little things called ideas.
Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
A few times. It is usually in the form of having the idea there but not knowing how to fully express it without either under-writing or over-writing. I find that my best writing or when ideas are in full flow again is when I'm on the move e.g. walking for a long time (I frequently walk for 2+ hours, when I'm in the creative process), on the train or in the car. Another "remedy" is to take a break and enjoy a book.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Many things. Top of the list has to be music, I am a audiophile, I always have something playing in my head whether I'm humming or it's my iPod or my sound system. I go for long runs or walks, reading, I do Ashtanga Yoga almost everyday (well, I try to). I find cooking to be very meditative.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Not morals in the strict sense but there are ideas or philosophies of life that I hope readers can glean from the books as well as being entertained. I think there are hidden messages in any work open to subjective opinion, every person will have their own interpretation of a subtlety in a book, film, painting or piece of music. Sometimes we can go down the road of over analysis and pretense, which is not what I am encouraging, but we all take our individual message from a book, based on our imagination, which is the beauty of reading.
Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
Many, but of late it has been Cormac McCarthy, Aldous Huxley, Harper Lee. All masters of prose with profound abilities to create vivid, original worlds. I discuss there influences in more detail in one recent entry on my blog.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is your favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
As with anything in art it is all about the execution. If the production team truly understand the subtleties of the book then it can work. For example, the Coen Brothers did a fantastic job of No Country For Old Men, which I think even outdid the book. They fully grasped the sparse, rural quality of Texas, the appreciation of guns and survivalist tactics that is pervasive in the novel and of course the behaviour of an utter psychopath. I love the Coen Brothers' work and I think in every film they go the extra length to understand the setting and the culture around the plot, such that it becomes part of the plot (Fargo being a prime example). David Fincher's Fight Club has to be the perfect transfer to film. No further improvement could be made. It harnessed exactly what the book was about. The worst has to be Dune...yes.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
No, print books will always have a following just as vinyl has a following. The print press is one of the greatest achievements in the history of man, it would be absolutist and naive to say it can be totally replaced. But of course, nothing can be said for certain, so I will say it is highly unlikely.
Your blog details?
Your Goodreads author page?
Your Twitter details?
And any other information you wish to supply?
The first part of Drawn Breath, Wrought Iron, can be found on Smashwords, Kobo, Diesel, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iTunes and Feedbooks. It is absolutely free (except for Amazon unfortunately) and available in all possible formats. At the time of this interview the second part Amelack Somatres (Black Blades) is available on Amazon, Feedbooks and Smashwords. Take your pick from the links below.
Drawn Breath (Part I - Wrought Iron):
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/drawn-breath-yusufu-shehu/1108001869?ean=2940032908593&itm=1&usri=drawn+breath
Amazon: (.com & .co.uk): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006IWW2N2 http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006IWW2N2
Drawn Breath (Part II - Amelack Somatres)
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006MHG932 http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006MHG932
Thankyou so much for taking the time to do this Interview!