Award-winning author of both short stories and full-length novels Leye Adenle talks me through his work and how he writes in a wide variety of different genres and makes every piece of work deeply compelling.
Tell me about how the books you write. Why do you have such a passion for such a wide range of different genres?
I’ve always enjoyed reading a wide range of genres; horror, romance, thrillers, sci-fi, even literary fiction. If it’s true that you become a writer because you’re a reader, it only makes sense that I would write, or attempt to write, what I love to read. Maybe I’ll add a horror to my thriller and sci-fi one day. Romance is probably the one genre I’m least likely to write – I just don’t believe in love anymore.
You write a lot of short stories: what do you like about this style of writing and how does it compare to writing full-length novels?
The short story format is simply beautiful. To achieve in a few pages what a novel does in hundreds is just elegant. It’s like paintings; what some painters do with great detail, some masters achieve with simple strokes. I love this format above all else.
What is your career background and how did you get into writing professionally?
My background is in economics and computers. You wouldn’t know it by looking at me now, but I used to be a computer nerd. Not anymore. Discovering wine and women cured me. Like most writers, I’ve been writing much, much longer than I’ve been published. As far back as primary school. At some point, I had to justify the hours spent dreaming up stories and writing them down, so I decided to try and get published. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.
Are there any particular mediums or narrative troupes you like to use in your writing and why?
I hope not. I hope my writing is so fresh and so original as to be free of tropes and hackneyed terms and all that stuff readers have come to expect and recognise on sight. So original that my works become the tropes of other writers.
What books/ authors do you enjoy reading and how does this influence your writing?
I enjoy reading all authors, especially new voices. There is always a new writer to discover: from the past, writers writing in different languages, new writers, not yet published writers. There’s just so much amazing talent out there and I want to experience and enjoy them all.
If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, on a writing project, who would it be and why?
Lee Child. Why? His Jack Reacher and my Amaka Mbadiwe would make a perfect duo for a thriller.
Have you got any exciting new plans or projects coming up that you’d like to share with me?
The third book in the Amaka thriller series is currently being copy edited and I’ve already started on the fourth. I’ve also written the first book in a new series – I’m currently editing that.
What are your aims for your future career? Where do you want your writing to take you in 10 years?
I want to keep writing for as long as I live. I hope that 10 years from today, I would have been a successful full-time writer for many years.
Are there any new books or writers that you are looking forward in the future?
I am excitedly looking forward to Oyinkan Braithwaite’s next book.
Huge thanks to Leye for taking the time to answer my questions. You can find out more about his work at his website here.