Monday, November 19, 2018

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: Queen of Zazzau by J.S. Emuakpor @jemsmcbride @jemsmcbride @RABTBookTours

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Historical Fantasy/Mythical Realism
Date Published: November 20, 2018
Publisher: Afrocentric Books | Mugwump Press

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Amina is heir apparent to the throne of Zazzau and must prove she is worthy of the crown. As foreign invaders close in on them, she is all that stands between her people and destruction. Caught in a web of prophecies, she must defend Zazzau, but cannot do so if she wants to prevent the future that was foretold. She did not seek war yet it finds her. Unwilling to be the plaything of gods or men and determined to take control of her own destiny, she tracks down the god of war himself. But has her destiny already been written? Can she choose her own fate? And can she protect her kingdom, no matter what price she must ultimately pay? Because, gods always want something in return.

Queen of Zazzau is an Historical Fantasy that takes place in precolonial West Africa.  It chronicles the life of one of the most famous W. African queens, Amina of Zazzau (or Zaria). At 139,000 words, the novel features several W. African historical figures and a pantheon of W. African gods. The story is told in first-person and gives the reader an intimate look at some of the lifestyles and cultures--many of which are still alive today--of medieval W. Africa.

Interview with J.S. Emuakpor

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Queen of Zazzau?

Amina, the Queen of Zazzau, lived (in real life) in the 16th century in what is present-day Kaduna, Nigeria, W. Africa. Scholars don’t agree on whether she was really a princess or just a warrior or just a noblewoman. In my stories, she is definitely a princess and then queen. She is also a warrior.

Jaruma is Amina’s bodyguard and BFF. She is the quintessential “ride-or-die” and all-around badass. Everyone needs a Jaruma in their life.

Dafaru is the god of war. While I was able to find the given names of some of the Hausa gods of old, I could not find a given name for the god of war and had to create one for him. The god of Thunder’s given name (in real life) is Dawatsu, in my mind, War and Thunder have always been two halves of a coin, so in my stories, they’re twins. I thought they should have similar sounding names.

Kogi-Ayu is the god of rivers. As the god of war says, Kogi-Ayu’s “essence is fluid. It touches, tastes, and loves everything. Easily and often.”

Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future?

I’m currently working on more African monarch novels. I’m focusing on West Africa for now, but since I write multiple books at a time, I can’t say for certain which one will be next. I’m also getting organized for an “AfroMyth Volume 2” anthology.

How long would you say it takes you to write a book?

I don’t write in a linear fashion. I write scenes as they come to me and juggle multiple stories at a time. If the characters aren’t speaking to me, I’m not writing their tales. However, once I finish a first draft, irrespective of how long it took me to complete, I have to set the book aside for close to a year before I look at it again. In total, from when I first put pen to paper (and I really did start with pen and paper), Queen of Zazzau took me five years to complete.

What is your favorite childhood book?

“Where the Wild Things Are”

If you could spend the day with one of the characters from Queen of Zazzau who would it be? Please tell us why you chose this particular character, where you would go and what you would do.

I’d totally spend the day with the god of war. Because he’s a god. We’d go to Jangare (spirit world—where the gods live) and we’d do “private” things. But I’m married, so…

What was the hardest scene from Queen of Zazzau to write?

The battle scenes were hardest to write. Each and every one of them. The timing, coordination of movements. It was like writing choreography when you don’t even know how to dance. I had to learn. I had to read battle scene after battle scene after battle scene. And watch fencing and sword fights and UFC and boxing. And Vikings. I watched a lot of Lagertha, Rollo and Bjorn. 😉

What made you want to become a writer?

Technically, I’ve always been a writer. Just not a published one. I distinctly remember drawing stories before I learned how to spell. Being a novelist, however, isn’t something I chose. Amina of Zazzau chose me. She wanted her story told and she wrote it through me.

Just for fun

(a Favorite song: I’m not sure I can pick just one, but I’ll go with Dude Looks Like a Lady Aerosmith. Because Mrs. Doubtfire.)

(b Favorite book: Mind of My Mind—Octavia Butler)

(c Favorite movie: Black Panther. Prior to that Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, because Howard Keel’s baritone!)

(d Favorite tv show: Does Netflix count?  If yes, Stranger Things. Those kids are amazing!)

(e Favorite Food: Fried  ripe plantains (“Dodo”). I’m a shameless addict.)

(f Favorite drink:  Water—no spirits for me, but I’m loving those Naked® juices.)

(g Favorite website: followed by Seriously though, it’s this: I’m really into it.)

Thanks so much for visiting with us today!

About the Author

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J.S. Emuakpor was born and raised in West Africa. She is a married mother of four, a scientist, and owner of Afrocentric Books. She currently lives in North Carolina and is very much allergic to it. Most of her writing draws upon the spiritual beliefs of the ancestors who frequently whisper in her ear and on the superstitions that she refuses to relinquish.

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Anonymous said...

thanks for hosting