Writer Interview: Marvel Chukwudi Pephel

When and why did you first start writing?

Sam, this is a tricky question. The when seems not to be well-defined, but I remember writing captions for my cartoons when I was around nine. I wrote my first meaningful poem when I was in secondary school (SSS 1 to be precise). The particulars of the why, I think, lies within the circle of a burning imagination and a quest to find my purpose in life. So far so good, I love the joy that comes from creating a new poem or a new story.

Who is most supportive about your writing?

Seriously, if I had waited for support to do what I love the most then I would not have started at all. I had no substantial support from my family, but I got some reliable support from my writer friends. That’s all there is to say.

What do you enjoy writing, and what do you find yourself writing about most often?

Well, I do not go to my desk with a particular theme or writing style in mind. I enjoy writing what my muse thinks is worthy to be written. For what I find myself writing often, I think I am powerless in this aspect. Here’s why: creating characters, for me, comes with conflict. Most times when I decide that a character, for instance, should go to America and only visit Washington, I most often realise at the end that the character had chosen not only to visit Las Vegas but also China Town, and eventually did. There is some sort of rebellion in my characters. I must tell you that some stories write themselves. The same goes for poems, I do not know what theme would eventually creep into the lines.

Where do you write? Do you have a writing space or a particular process/routine?

Where do you write? Good question. Virginia Woolf once said that, “That the prerequisite for good writing is having a room of one’s own”. This is true for me. But, sometimes, when I am not in my “special room”, I still manage to write – often slowly. My process or routine of writing is not static, but a not-so-bright light works for me if I am writing in the night. My process or routine of writing depends wholly on the inspiration.

What’s your favourite word?

Favourite word? Sam, this is a tough question. I never knew one could have a favourite word. Well, a word just popped into my head and it is: Taramasalata.

What do you find the most difficult or challenging about writing?

Writing itself is hard. The most challenging thing about writing is writing. To do it well, you must be hardworking. Writing itself is a challenge.

Tell me about the piece of work that you are most proud of writing, or about the writing accomplishment you are proud of.

Well, I am proud of most of┬ámy works. But if I must answer this question, the answer would be my short story “Girl, Blue Eyes, Boy” – if not “The Love Matrix”. For writing accomplishment, I’d rather not talk about that – I am still at the starting point of my career.

What are your writing plans, goals, or dreams for the future?

I hope to win a major award in 2018!

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