Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tope Apoola - Times of the Supermen (Guest Author)

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Tope is another new Nigerian Author I came across in my social media wanderings. I learnt about Tope when he was still pitching his manuscipt through the Harper Collins ranking system 'Authonomy'. So I was happy to see that his book had finally been published. Hear it from him.

Please introduce yourself
My name is Tope Apoola, born June 1984 to civil servant parents, Mr.&Mrs. Moses Apoola in Akure. I am last in the family. I was educated mostly in the same place except for the university where I had to move a few more than a hundred kilometres away from home. Times of the supermen is my first full length novel.

Tell us about the book
That is one question I can only hope to answer satisfactorily, the reason being that there is more than one side to the story, different things to stick to and different interpretations.

The book is about a freaky scientist who discovers the use of a symbolic formation that was found on an earthly rock, said to be identical to the one earlier found on the Martian surface. The world is bemused as it is to be established that super-civilized extraterrestrials existed even in the times that was known to be prebiological. The man is being invited to promote his science in Lagos by the ambitious and adventurous Nigerian President mostly because many people, including Olabode, the narrator’s uncle, have plausibly reported to have dreamt about the prehistoric times.

Being the Alternative history Science fiction that it is Times of the supermen hypothesizes the origin of existence, hence the rationale behind the realities that we experience from time to time. Through the lives of the characters, such as Sola Aderomoke, a young, attractive TV presenter girl who worked inadvertently for an esoteric anti-religion group, and Chekhov, a lonely scientist who warned the world against the devices of those unknown beings who were said to have visited the earth even in pre-adamic times, we see how an aged conspiracy by an ancient otherworldly civilization is being played out.

I would have to remind readers that this is only a work of fiction, as some might easily be led into believing that it is not meant to be one but this is not to say that a good round of investigative study did not go into the conceptualization of the story.

How did the story come to you? How long did it take to write?
Yes, that is a lovely question. The story did come to me and for three years, I wrote and tried to find facts to back up what I had written.I have always been fascinated with history, especially the very far history which could not have been recorded with clarity considering the level of education of some ancient historians. I also believe that most of the things I learnt in the church are either literal truths or allegory, so I knew even as a child that someday, I am going to start writing about all these things in a little more materialistic point of view. I did some paper research while writing this, but I feel satisfied knowing that I never at any time allowed even facts to dissuade the creative process.

What is your writing style?
I let the words flow and allow it to shape the story and it’s hardly the other way round. The narrators’ voice in my work is very personal, and somewhat messianic. I must have been influenced by old literatures like Dante Aligheri, who started his book with “In the middle of the journey of our lives, I was lost from the straight path and came to myself within a dark, cold wood.” Or Walt Whitman who said “what I assume, you shall assume.” You may want to conclude that the style is literary but it’s actually not without a touch of avant-gardism.

What is the audience for this book?
Every person who had at one time in their lives looked into the sky at night and wonder. This category typically fall among young adults and adults. The book is, you know, from the title you can tell, but we live in a global village.

Will you write any other genres?
Yes, if it comes naturally.

What are you reading now? Who are your favourite authors?
I just finished with Steve Berry’s Templar legacy which I read concurrently with Charles Colson’s non-fiction, How Now shall we live? I am about picking Wole Soyinka’s You must set forth at dawn and Dan Brown’s The lost symbol. Wole Soyinka is my favourite. Although most people believe his work is difficult, I happen to enjoy the depth. Chimamanda’s voice is fresh and entertaining. I’d find A Heart to Mend too.

What are you working on now, besides promoting Times of the Supermen?
I am working on the sequel. There are more that I couldn’t have included in a single book without saying too much at once.

How can we purchase the book?
It will be available in major bookstores in Nigeria as from November 19th but Times of the Supermen could be purchased on Amazon, even now. Orders will arrive at US locations within a day or two.

Please share your publishing history.
At some point I thought I would land a major book deal with a big firm, but then a friend asked, what is it that I really wanted, and I remembered my original plan. This is my first and it is a means to creating a formidable, and internationally competitive publishing firm. It sounds naive to think this is achievable but it is. By working in conjunction with writers who share similar ideology, we will create a situation where publishing becomes a considerable contributor to Nigerian economy. It is stressful, because it is not the only thing I am doing or want to do but what right have we to complain about Nigeria if we run away from challenges?

What is the marketing strategy?
We have consulted experienced individuals and a small progressive firm as to that. As anyone should expect, we intend to be revolutionary in our strategy.

Any last word?
Sadly, a beautiful quotation which I would like to make happened to have come from a man who defied my religious sentiments. He said that there will come a time when the mean will be to the real men as ape is to the present age man. We need to read a lot, research a lot and do a lot to be a worthy player in the coming commonwealth.