Interview with Boluwatife Oriowo, Author of Letters from Midia

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Boluwatife Oriowo, author of Letters from Midia.

Please enjoy!

Best,

-Vince

 

Interview:

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
My name is Boluwatife Oriowo, however in internet circles I can often be found going by the moniker, aesthetic-derelict. I’m a New Jersey based sequential artist, though if you’re curious about where my name is from, I’m Nigerian by birth.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
 
The title of my book is Letters from Midia. It is an all-ages fantasy/adventure graphic novel.
3) What is the book about? 
 
Letters from Midia follows Jason, a young knight of few words and many actions, as he traverses a land of magic and monsters in search of his kingdom’s missing princess, Midia. The two had fallen in love shortly before Midia’s wicked duke uncle and a traitorous court mage kidnapped her in hopes of harvesting her latent magical abilities.

With nothing but a sword, a shield and his trusty steed to help him, the newly knighted Jason fights his way across a myriad of strange environments, savage beasts and magical foes in order to rescue his one true love.

Guiding Jason on his journey are the letters Princess Midia leaves along his path, brief notes left behind as her captors take her across the country side, each one meant to form a trail that may one day reunite the pair.

I’ve heard it be described as the story of the world’s most dangerous long-distance relationship, and I think that’s fairly apt. It is a tale of love, perseverance and the pain of isolation over a period of time.

Letters from Midia is a spin on the age-old tale of the traveling knight, bringing a fresh, new perspective to a familiar plot structure.

4) Where did you come up with the idea?
I have always been a big fan of video games, especially fantasy or role-playing games. One of my favorite franchises happens to be Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda, which also offers unique spins on familiar fantasy tropes. Letters from Midia’s genesis initially came from me wanting to capture the feeling of my experience playing these games in comic form. The thrill of adventure, the peril of facing a new enemy, the joys of seeing your character get new weapons and the excitement of getting more story progression after conquering a difficult boss battle, are all elements of that experience that I worked to boil into the narrative.

In many ways, Letters from Midia is a bit of a video-game book, though it never outright says it. Attentive readers can and have pointed out the many different ways that I have alluded to this video-game inspiration throughout the story.

As I began to develop the story, I was also heavily invested in the works of French illustrator Moebius and Genndy Tartakovsky’s Samurai Jack cartoon. These creations often featured vast, interesting worlds with larger than life characters, and it was in emulating those artists that I was able to give the world of Letters from Midia a quirky charm.

 
5) How long did it take you to write it?
I initially came up with the idea in January of 2018, but I didn’t have the courage to fully dive into making it until that November. From concept to complete illustration, the book took nine months to complete.

Much of it was made in my free time, in-between jobs and freelance assignments.

 
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
It would be a bit of an understatement to say that I had learned a thing or two making my first graphic novel. Letters from Midia is by far the longest story that I have ever made, clocking in at twice the size of my previous long project.

In making it, I not only handled the writing duties, I penciled, inked, colored and lettered the whole thing too. As a result, I had to do a lot of learning along the way, picking up things on characterization, action choreography, cinematic lighting and coloring as I went on.

It’s also the first story that I have ever colored, and the jump from greyscale to full color was a whole new beast for me. Developing appealing palettes for print was a major challenge.

I feel that, as an author, it is important to have a hand in all aspects of the creation of a book, especially so that you understand all the different parts that go into making the finished product.

 
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?
My main website is https://boluoriowo.wixsite.com/oriowoportfolio. I also have a Twitter profile where I share my art and updates on upcoming projects. That can be found @aesderelict.
 
 
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists? 
I’m a fairly new author myself, so it might be a bit much to claim any of these are “success” tips. I do have a few main ideas that helped me along the way, though.

My main one is that you should always have an idea about what your story is about. I don’t mean having a basic idea of what the story is, or a list of all the events that happen, but rather what your story is trying to say. What is the feeling that you want your readers to leave the story feeling? What questions do you want to have raised, explored and answered for them throughout your tale? When you think of this, your stories tend to have a grander feel of connectivity and avoid feeling like nothing more than a series of loosely connected events. It makes you think of themes, character actions, scenes and can only lead to a better final product.

As far as cover art, there are two ways to go about it. You either pick a big, marquee moment to place on the front of your book to reel people in. If your protagonist fights a dragon, find a way to put that dragon on the front. If someone is dangling from a cliff, you put that cliff on the front. It’s a nice, simple way to get attention, which is often the only way to ensure that a reader gets invested enough to follow through and read on.

The other way to go about it is to try to create a scene or image that communicates the major themes and characters of your story, without outright spoiling a key scene. I took this approach for Letters from Midia, opting to showcase the central characters of the story while posting a smattering of the different lands Jason explores throughout his quest. A good amount of the excitement from the book comes from the dramatic reveal of new threats, so I didn’t want to spoil anything plot crucial on the front.

Additionally, never go with the first idea for a visual. Writing requires plenty of drafts and creating compelling imagery is no different. It is important to take an iterative, multi-layered approach to developing your book’s visual identity, as this is almost always going to be what potential readers see first.

 
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I usually like to read some form of fantasy, science fiction, mystery or horror story. If it has an element of adventure, I’m all the more interested. I’m always open to reading new authors and giving my own two cents on how I feel, but I’d argue that any review I give would be heavily on the subjective side.
 
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why? 
Tough question. I’ve read a lot, so I can’t quite narrow it down to one. Growing up, I was always a big fan of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events series. They had a sort of dark humor to balance out the creepy atmosphere of the adventures that the main characters went on, and I believe that it was these stories that really made me want to write.

Picking my favorite graphic novel of all time is an even harder choice, often depending on what’s really connected to me recently.

 
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
 
No pets right now. As a kid, I had two pet lovebirds named Crash and Coco. They were very loud and drove my siblings up the wall. Later on, my family would get two dogs named Max and Roxie.

Max was a very shy Chihuahua/ Dachshund/ Yorkshire terrier mix and Roxie was an all-too-energetic Jack Russel. The two sadly passed on while I was working on the book, but I definitely tried to capture their behavior in how I wrote Jason’s horse, Argo.

Why a horse would act like a dog is anyone’s guess, but I thought it added a light-hearted nature to the young knight’s loyal steed.

 
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?
I don’t have a dedicated electronic reading device, but I do tend to read books through my iPhone. I commute a lot for work, so having something small to read through is often the way to go, for me.
*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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