This week's interview is with Marvin Koyo. Marvin originally hails from Cote d’Ivoire, now resides in Texas, and he’s written some really interesting stuff.
Over to Marvin and this week's interview :)
Hey Marvin! Thanks so much for taking part in this interview. So to kick things off… where did you grow up, and what were your childhood years like?
I grew up in Abidjan, the economic capital of Cote d’Ivoire. During my childhood years, I played sports, games and read some books.
Looking at your blog, it looks like you’ve done all sorts of writing! Before we go into that, though, what’s the earliest piece of writing you did, that you can recall? Please tell us about it :)
What I can recall as earliest, was a philosophical thought I wrote on my personal facebook when I was eighteen years old. My post focused on individual freedom in a prideful society. During that period, most of my writings were in French.
So you’ve written short stories, novels & poetry it looks like. How has your writing journey evolved? What did you initially start writing?
I started writing poetry at a very young age. I grew up playing soccer and tennis, but most of the time, I was reading and writing stories from a story.
When did you first start writing your poetry, and what inspired this?
I was five years old when I wrote my first poetry. It was for Mother’s Day. I truly enjoyed writing it and I kept working on poems while growing up.
How about your short stories?
My short story journey started when I was in eighth grade. During biology class, I was constantly writing in the back of my notebook some tales about animals in my area.
Tell us about Bantu Art & Culture, and My Fair Share For Christmas… they both sound really interesting in their own right.
Bantu Art and Culture is my first book where I talk about one of the biggest families of Africa including a huge diversity of cultures and languages throughout the African continent.
Within the series of Edged Up, My Fair Share for Christmas begins with the Christmas holiday of Eddie and Felicia Bracho going back to New York. Eddie went to fix his shares in the family business while Felicia found herself in the middle of an argument between her little sisters.
Which did you write first? How did the idea come about?
The first book I wrote is Bantu Art and Culture. What inspired me to work on that was finding out my origins.
How long did it take to finish your novel/novella, from start to finish? Please describe the process for us.
It took me two months to finish My Fair Share for Christmas. Yet, the New York Sour (my recent publication-- my debut novel-- was done in eight months in which four months for the writings and the rest for editing. I rewrote probably five times the first chapter though I had more than forty five drafts before sending it to the editorial services.
Earlier your mentioned your series, Edged Up… can you tell us a little more about that?
The concept behind Edged Up is a dystopian subject where social issues are more revealed to the society in which everyone lives in. The idea came up when I had a conversation about space with a former co-worker. I thought about how space and independence are correlated in the microlevel and macrolevel of society and thought a book about it.
How have you balanced your professional work with your writing?
I think I have a good time management when it comes to writing and my professional job. I manage to write at least a chapter per day, though the writer's block can be a pain in the neck for a few hours and make me write a paragraph per day.
Do you make any money from your writing? Would you like to make (more) money from your writing in the future?
From now on, not really. If by chance, there comes a day when I get a lot of sales, I will be glad to have it. Yet, what matters the most is to love what I am doing before thinking about sales.
Tell us a little about BookFunnel, & your experience with it so far.
I use book funnel to publish my short stories. Throughout times, I see it is an excellent tool for any writer working on short stories. I highly recommend this author online service to any new authors in the industry of writing.
How do you do your marketing for your writing?
I use social media, and fiverr to market my writing, but I am still learning how to efficiently market my books.
As a writer, do you feel your short stories and poetry have informed your fiction writing in any way, or vice versa?
Yes, I do. In my short stories and fiction books, I, somehow, implement my poetry in my writings. It often occurs when I describe characters or build a world in which my characters live.
What piece of writing are you most proud of?
That’s a tough question lol It’s like asking a parent about his favorite child among all his children. I love all my creations, so there’s no preferences among them.
Do you have any other writing, planned in the future?
Of course, I do have a lot of writings coming in the future. I plan to make a second edition of Bantu Art and Culture after finishing up with the Edged Up Series, and write a couple of self development books.
What advice do you have for your younger (writer) self?
If you think about writing just to make money, you shouldn’t be writing but invest in the stock market. Keep writing and learning about marketing. A good book doesn’t sell itself but a good marketing strategy does.
Do you have any bucket-list items / dreams when it comes to your writing?
Yes I do have some. However, there’s an odd saying: “Show, don’t tell.” :)
Where can we find you online, & where can we purchase your books?
All my books are on Amazon. Furthermore, Bantu Art and Culture and The New York Sour, the following story after My Fair Share for Christmas, are on all online retail stores.
What do you enjoy doing away from the world of books and writing? :)
I love cooking, hanging out with friends, and watching some TV shows. My favorite one is The Office.
This has been fun! Is there anything else in particular that you wanted to share with us?
Well, I started writing about food when I realize that combining my career as an employee in catering and a writer could be the best combination for my happiness. One of my foodie articles has been selected in the North Texas Daily and it was about the King Ranch Chicken Casserole. Other than that, I would like to say that everyone does not acknowledge that we, humans, are inherently writers of our story whether we like it or not.
Marvin, this has been really interesting. Thanks so much for your time, generosity and openness in sharing all of this with us.
📖 You can find out more about Marvin over on his blog, and find all of his books on Amazon.