As a young child, Tosin Coker developed a passion for literacy and writing, driven by her curiosity of what lay in the leaves of the books that kept her mother so enchanted. A foundation of reading and story telling established, she passionately embarked upon quenching her awakened thirst for books, fiction and non-fiction alike, ever-anticipating weekly visits to her local library with her beloved co-conspirator. It was her mother that acknowledged her predestined future as a writer, at least two decades before Tosin actively bore testimony to it herself, when in 2007 she penned her first novel, unwittingly becoming the first female, African British science fiction author.
What genre do you consider yourself?
Give us a synopsis of your most recent book.
A follow up from the my first novel, 'Let Sleeping Gods Lie' continues the journey of our young heroine Destiny 'Teeny' Kingsley, as she awakens to the memory of her authentic self. She is a goddess of biblical proportions in the body of a pre-pubescent human.
What happens when a supreme being of infinite wisdom and power goes through puberty? For parents Maya and Derrick Kingsley? Nothing short of hell, as she threatens not only their lives, but also the fate of the world.
Let Sleeping Gods Lie is the highly anticipated sequel to 'The Mouth of Babes' and second book in the metaphysical/sci-fi trilogy.
Titles of all of your books
My author début: 'The Mouth of Babes' and its sequel - 'Let Sleeping Gods Lie'
What made you decide to become an author?
I didn't! My friends and family saw my potential to become an author long before I could see it in myself. A close friend challenged me to write “a feel good short story”, that somehow evolved into a book. I felt no need to publish, I was happy enough to have it sit on my shelf, but my friends would have none of it. You could say I just fell into the role from there.
What do you enjoy most about being an author?
The satisfaction of doing what I love most and being able to hold the end product in my hand. The feeling I get from receiving that first proof copy is what makes it all worthwhile. More so, the fact that I have something my future generations can relate to me with. To be able to research your ancestors and find that they wrote a book or created music, something through which one can interact and connect to the essence of who they were, is very powerful.
Do you read? Do you think it is essential for a writer to read?
Yes I do read a lot. I believe that it is fundamental that a writer should read. After all, to become a teacher, you must first be a student, though I choose not to do both at the same time. If I am reading a book other than my own, I consider myself to be officially taking time out.
Traditional publishing or self-publishing? Why?
Self-publishing. It is hard work and not for the faint hearted, but even if you are the most talented writer in the world, all it takes is one person in that field of traditional publishing to say otherwise. All the red tape can be very disheartening. The empowerment I have gained through doing for self is immeasurable, not to mention that I have a sincere interest in seeing myself succeed not only as an author, but in every other avenue that opens up as a result of becoming one.
How are you giving back to the literary community?
I teach others how to avoid the mistakes I have already made. I often have writers calling to seek anything from general motivation to CiP registration. I also have a talk show on http://blogtalkradio.com/nubianscribes where I give tips and recommendations, occasionally review, and interview other Nubian authors.
What is one tip you would give new authors?
After having lost the manuscript to my third book (gutted!), I would recommend downloading synchronisation software (I use Free File Sync) and get into a habit of backing up after every session of writing.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned since becoming an author?
Backup your data. Joking (kinda)! Honestly, the biggest lesson is that being an author is the easy part. The sale and marketing of your book is the real challenge, and some of us are really selling ourselves short in that department, myself included. Trial and error are the harshest, but comprehensive of mentors, but only if you are truly willing to learn.
What is the one thing that irks you about the literary industry?
As with most industries, its not what you do, but who you know. However, the writing of a book is for the most part a solitary project. As writers our heads are buried in text, plots, grammatical accuracy etc., so it comes as a shock when one looks up and finds that your work has little meaning when some random, with a huge network can become a number one best-seller without having so much as having to know how to spell the word 'chapter' let alone write one.
Give your ideal writing atmosphere.
My bed on my notebook, with hip-hop/jazz instrumentals playing in my headphones. It used to be in the silence of my living room at my desktop computer, once my children had gone to school, but I suffer severely from sickle cell anaemia. Since my last series of episodes that had me bedridden for 3 months, I have become used to writing from my notebook on my lap-table. This is also convenient for those times I find myself waking up at 2:30 a.m. bursting with inspiration, I simply drag it onto my lap and that's the rest of my night gone.
Who, What, When and Where is your next event?
Oh, I would have to say that is to be announced. Because of my health, I find that I am unable to attend every other event like some authors, but follow my page on facebook or add me on twitter and you'll be sure to get regular updates.
Suggest a preferred literary service.
I use Lightning Source Ingram for printing, however you have to be a publisher to utilise their services. I think any author who is serious about self-publishing do what it takes to qualify and use this POD company. The cost of printing is far cheaper than anywhere else and used by major publishers including Simon & Schuster.
Suggest an independent bookstore.
D'jed Enterprise in Shepherds Bush, London UK. It's not just a bookstore, it's an experience!
What is your view on the new direction of publishing?
I think the future will demand that we utilise multiple talents to stay ahead of the game. E-publishing has made the once exclusive pool, become an indiscriminate sea in which you're either going to sink, swim or get eaten. I myself am constantly learning and work so hard to have my books measure up to the standard of those that are traditionally published. Personally, my aim is to ride the waves in a custom built yacht!
Give an inspirational quote.
"I used to want the words 'She tried' on my tombstone. Now I want 'She did it.' " Katherine Dunham (1909-2006)
Where can readers find your work?
Http://lulu.com/n9neformation Amazon, B&N and all good book retailers.