“I Wrote Easy Motion Tourist Because Of Money” – Leye Adenle
Welcome to the SyncityNG Literary Lord and Ladies show, a platform where we showcase the finest literary creatives in our midst. Today’s guest is an award winning writer, satirist, and occasional actor. His debut novel, Easy Motion Tourist, features female Nigerian protagonist, Amaka, who works to protect the sex workers of Lagos. The second book in the Amaka Thriller series published this month is When Trouble Sleeps. In this second Naijo Noir thriller, Amaka gets embroiled in politics on a do or die level.
Some know our guest as the literary Tarantino while some know him as *clears throat*. Ladies and gentlemen, with a round of applause, let’s make welcome, the true crime fiction writer of our time.
Welcome Leye Adenle! So glad to have you join the exclusive list of those who have graced the show.
It’s me you are referring to, shey? as one of the finest literary minds. Thanks for having me.
If you are just joining us, Leye Adenle is our guest. He joins the likes of Efe Paul, Yejide Kilanko, Troy Onyango, Amaka Azie, Romeo Oriogun, Dele Ogun etc to grace the show. @LeyeAdenle, I will begin with the question on everyone’s lips (No, it’s not your marital status). How much mental energy did it take to produce EMT?
Mental energy sha. Hard to say. It took three months to bang out the first draft, then many years to get it polished enough to start sending to publishers for rejections. Took quite some effort, and lots of red wine. I am happy to answer the marital status question too. (Let me shoot my shot on your platform.) No one has put a ring on it yet, so….
Ah… Red wine. Why the choice of crime fiction? That’s one of the hardest genres to pull off.
You are right, crime fiction is hard to pull off if you want to get it righ. Just like any other genre, I find the way crime thrillers engage the mind to be quite satisfying. I love a great puzzle. A great mystery.
EMT was brilliantly written. Thank you @CassavaRepublic for mine. Using percentages, who did what? Editor? Publishing house? The writer?
Joint enterprise. (See what I did there? Used a crime reference.) But seriously, it’s a joint effort. My imposter complex tends to make me say it’s everyone else, but if I’m to be honest and fair, I’d say it’s the result of good people working well together. I would even add translators to the list. Editors, publishers, translators, and the good people who take humble grapes, and by some heavenly magic, turn them into delicious red wine.
What was the underlying goal of writing EMT? To show the world we have many Kanayo O. Kanayos? Why did you write it?
Money. Honest. I thought if I wrote a good book, and by some magic it sold enough copies, I’d be able to pay off all my debt and even have enough cash to become Baba Landlord and write all day from balcony overlooking my tenants.
Speaking of money, how much has EMT changed your life (+finances)? (How many ladies fainted when they saw you?)
Getting published was like starting a new life. I’ve always written and I always knew I wanted to be a writer – even my parents and my siblings knew and supported the dream – so getting published was reward enough for the labour. You know, EMT is not my first published work. The first time I was published was in the second ever edition of Ovation. It was in 1995. I wrote a poem for the Ogoni. It was called Nine Diamond Leaves, and Ovation published it. I also published another novel anonymously online before Easy Motion Tourist was published; it’s called Chronicles of a Runs Girl.
@LeyeAdenle dropped his politically correct jacket before coming on the show. “Money. That’s why I wrote EMT”. No chill.
Erm, I never had a politically correct jacket. In my house, it is dashiki we used to wear when we were young. It is now that people are saying we are adult that we have started wearing the jeans. Good look, by the way. Jeans, tie, blazer.
EMT is so vivid. I grew up in Lagos and while reading, I followed you on the journey. To what length did you have to go for research?
I love Lagos. I got to know her so well, at least the parts of her she chose to show me. I guess my research started before the book. I was simply taking my dad’s advise: ‘Write about things you know.’ I felt I knew Lagos enough to write about her. She’s some lady.
I think there is something @LeyeAdenle is not telling us. He published “Chronicles of a Runs girl” and then EMT talks about prostitution.
Not trying to hide anything. I care deeply about the plight of sex workers in Nigeria because I’ve witnessed first hand how they are subjected to the worst form of cruelty against women.
At this point, we are taking questions from the audience. If you have questions for @LeyeAdenle, ask with the hastag #SyncityNGLLL. The show wraps in 25 minutes.
@MASKURAID: The research process for the working girls thingy must have been extensive. Care to share notes on how you did it?
I plead the fifth.
@SlateTabAfrica: I enjoyed EMT. When are we to expect the sequel in Nigerian bookstores?
And if you really like crime thrillers. Also check out My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. When Trouble Sleeps is out this month. You can order copies on @CassavaRepublic website. When Trouble Sleeps is a political thriller… After watching a Naija gubernatorial candidate twerking today, I think God was showing me the future while I wrote the book.
@_thebagus: So @LeyeAdenle your sex scenes were very graphic in EMT. How much ‘research’ went into that aspect?
I watched plenty blue filllm.
@MASKURAID: Will you be my friend sir? You’re exactly what I would be as a writer with intanashna hexposure.
Sir, we are already following each other on Twitter like ministers following Buhari.
@Leslivingstone: Okay, first question. Is the #akefest16 answer that you’ve never seen the four walls of a brothel still valid from the reply above?
Never. Thank God you can’t see the state of my nose right now.
@DheeGenius: Like Samuel Johnson said, “No man but a blockhead writes except for money.”
And my mama didn’t raise no blockheads.
Synners, we have 5 minutes to the end of the show. Let’s hear some last words of encouragement from @LeyeAdenle and where to get his books.
Kids, don’t do drugs. You are driving up the price. For aspiring writers: just write. For aspiring book critics; just because they call it book critic does not mean you must criticise. When Trouble Sleeps is available for pre-order on Amazon. For Naija fam, just check with @CassavaRepublic and they ‘ll hook you up. And lastly, thanks everyone. It was fun.
SyncityNG has been rated Nigeria’s fastest growing literary brand and we hope you can tell the world about us. Thank you for tuning in tonight, #Synners. Lets’s do this next Monday. Same time. Our guest is *seals lips*!