Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Yaba Badoe to Chouett.com. Yaba is the author of the recently released short story collection entitled “The Secret Of The Purple Lake” which I must say is a real little gem. And Yaba has kindly taken the time to answer a few of my questions.
Could you summarise what The Secret of the Purple Lake” is about in one sentence, if this is at all possible?
I’ll summarise what The Secret of the Purple Lake is about by using the words of Leila Green who reviewed the book in Black Book Quotes: The Secret of The Purple Lake is… ‘an illustrated and interlinked collection of five globe-hopping stories that follow bold creatures from Ghana to Thailand.’
Out of the 5 stories, do you have a favourite? And if so, which one?
Being asked which of the 5 is my favourite story if a bit like asking a mother which one of her children she loves the most. I enjoyed writing all the stories. The Fisherman’s Daughter was the first story I wrote, so it has a special place in my heart. I also love Ajuba’s courage. She feels fear but is game for anything. Another of the stories I relished writing was The Wild Princesses of Rousay. I loved their father’s carousing and the rowdy bolshiness of Jael, Delilah and Jezebel. Musa’s story – The Fishman of the Purple Lake – is another one I love. It tells the tale of a storyteller who can’t separate the heroes he sings about from himself. But I mustn’t forget Romilly, the golden eagle and Leo the Walrus Prince. There you go – seems I love all my characters and stories!
How do you balance filmmaking and writing books, and if you had to choose only one as a career, which one would you pick and why?
Even though the two skills complement each other, trying to balance filmmaking and writing books is difficult because both disciplines are all consuming. At the moment I’m concentrating on writing. I have a 2 book deal with House of Zeus – publishers of my YA novel – A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars. However, by September next year, I intend to return to making a documentary about my late father, Professor E.A. Badoe, who was one of the founders of the first medical school in Ghana and The West African College of Surgeons. I find his generation of Ghanaians – the independence generation – fascinating. They worked hard for independence and then put in place many of the institutions that many Ghanaians and West Africans depend on to this day.
I wouldn’t ever choose one skill over the other. Why should I when they complement each other?
Tell us 10 things we don’t know about you (or 5…)
I’m pushed for time so I’ll give you 5
One: I LOVE Country and Western music – especially female vocalists such as Patsy Cline, Loretta Lyn, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, Emmy Lou Harris and Iris Dement.
Two: I’m a huge fan of shlock horror and disaster movies such as The Night of The Living Dead and Independence Day.
Three: When I’m feeling low, nothing boosts my morale more than a tin of Ambrosia creamed rice pudding eaten from the tin.
Four: I always travel with a Tisserand lavender essential oil roller ball on my person. A dab of lavender calms me and boosts my energy.
Five: I’m shy.
If you had the opportunity to spend one day with a literary great sadly long departed, who would you choose and where would you take him/her?
I think I’d like to take Senegalese writer, Mariama Ba, who wrote So Long A Letter – to tea at the Ritz. Ideally, I would have taken her to lunch or dinner at the Palm Tree Restaurant, which used to be in the basement of the old African Centre at Covent Garden. Unfortunately, the Africa Centre is no longer there, so I’ll take her to the Ritz instead.
Where is your favourite writing spot?
I have two favourite writing spots. One is the sitting of our guesthouse in Accra, Ghana. I love writing in Ghana. I get up early and write for several hours before I have breakfast. I find it best to write before the sun gets too hot. My second writing spot is my study in Balham that opens out to a courtyard garden.
What is your favourite book of all time?
My favourite book, I think, would have to be one by Toni Morrison. Beloved is up there with Jazz jostling close behind.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Eating Ambrosia creamed rice from the tin.
Thank you Yaba 🙂
And now for the giveaway…just follow the tweet.