Interview by Susan Kagan

1. Where ya’ from?

I’m originally from Nigeria and East St. Louis (split childhood).

2. How does belonging to Peauxdunque help with your writing?

I find the strong sense of community in Peauxdunque NOLA to be
particularly inspiring. Writing can often be a solitary and mentally taxing
pursuit. However, hearing about the triumphs and adversities of other
writers makes the journey feel less arduous. Being a part of Peauxdunque
has helped my writing

3. What are your long-term writing goals?

I am going to be a bestselling author in multiple genres and make enough
mullah’ so that writing is all I have to do forevermore.

4. What’s the biggest challenge you have with writing?

My greatest challenge with writing is trusting my knowledge of storystructure.

5. Is there a common playlist of music you write to? If so, what are the five most prevalent artists?

I don’t have a playlist but every novel has a song. It usually comes to me
at the start of the story. The last tune on repeat for three months, was
“Moanin’” by Charles Mingus.

6. Whose writing do you most admire among the living and the dead?

I have great admiration for the writing of James Baldwin, as well as for
numerous contemporary writers such as Akwaeke Emezi, Kiese Laymon,
Ann Patchett, Jason Reynolds, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Chimamanda Ngozi
Adichie, and many others.

7. What are your writing quirks?

Quirks: I prefer listening to one song per story. Additionally, I tend to
work on multiple pieces simultaneously. I have a job and family so this
prevents the story from overwhelming me (similar to method-acting). After
completing a story, I reward myself with a single Werther’s Original candy.

8. Are you a pantser (writing by the seat of your pants with no outline) or a plotter (writing with a high-level outline of all the plot points) and have you tried the other way?

I’m a bit of both.

9. If you could live in any fictional reality, which one and why?

I already live in America. It’s near-1984 dystopian enough. I don’t know if
there’s one I’d choose. Maybe Narnia in times of peace.

10. What’s one of your favorite Peauxdunque memories?

My favorite memory of Peauxdunque has to be when I was introduced to the
group. A writer who claimed to be a member bamboozled (I use the word
for full dramatic effect) me into attending a members-only meeting. Upon
reflection, what is even more absurd is that he insinuated that Peauxdunque
was his group. I pick him up on the night of the meeting. He is a fantastic
writer. I am aware of this fact because he mentions it to me more than
twelve times during the ride to our destination. I enter the well-lit house,
which is a stark difference from the poorly lit street outside. Inside, I
discover that everyone is gathered around, enjoying snacks and engaging in
conversation about their writing and personal lives. My unofficial guide and
I eventually make our way to the kitchen. Laughter hangs fog-like in the
Two members turn around and ask, “Who are you two?”
As a black man from both a Nigerian village and an American
ghetto, standing in a home in an affluent white neighborhood, I am terrified
and exceptionally embarrassed. I stutter my name, and Maurice, who hazily
remembers me from a Dogfish reading a few days prior, greets us warmly.
We all go back to the living room where I listen to the round-robin reading
and share a short story that I am working on. The reading is one of the most
beautiful experiences I have ever been a part of. The laughter, smiles, and
intentional responses to vulnerable writing are truly remarkable.
After the meeting, the writer expresses his disappointment in
Peauxdunque, stating that the group is too weird for him. I let him talk
while I enjoy the mental and emotional high of the evening. I am hooked.
“This Peauxdunque group is just my type of weirdo,” said a socially clumsy
offbeat single-song-single candy weirdo.