Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Interview Special - Michael Obiora

Michael Obiora

Buy his book on Amazon HERE For only £1.99 on Kindle

Goodreads Description of the Book:

Kieran Ledley is the world’s most expensive football player, he is also one half of glamour couple “Kier-rissa,” and his step-brother is about to be released from prison.

Freddie Abani is the MP for Woundham, who was touted as London’s potential first black Mayor - until the summer riots.

Rupal Advani is a former policewoman and is now a marijuana addict.

Gemma and her struggling filmmaker husband Pete Newman, are trying to save their marriage.

Vivian Moses is a therapist, and they all have her in common.

Vivian’s Couch is the prequel to Michael Obiora’s 2009 debut Black Shoes.
10 Question Interview

1. Hello, Can you tell us more about your book please?
Vivian's Couch is about five main characters who all have a therapist in common - Vivian. We have the world's most expensive football player - who's step-brother is about to be released from prison, we have a former policewoman who quit the force due to racism and sexism, and who is now a marijuana addict. An MP who is being touted as London's potential first black mayor - until the summer riots of 2011. And finally we have a couple - Gemma and her filmmaker husband, Pete - whose marriage is in serious trouble mainly due to Pete's once stellar career nosediving.
I deliberately chose people from different backgrounds, and from different walks of life to have Vivian as the tie that binds them because I wanted to show that no matter what we look like, how much money we earn, or what status we have, we can all have problems. No matter how different we seem on the surface, no matter how much somebody can appear to "have it all", sometimes we could all do with a little help. There are of course sub-plots and other characters to keep the story moving, and (hopefully) entertaining.

2. Out of all the characters, who was the most fun to write and why?
The most fun character to write was Rupal (the former police woman) because she is very outspoken. She makes an appearance in my debut novel, Black Shoes: Reality Check, and I made a little note to myself to attempt to explore her more in the future.

3. How did you come up with the idea for the book?
Without giving too much away there's a ransom/kidnap plot in the story, and this involves the football player character, Kieran. This was inspired by a good friend of mine (who is a top sports athlete) who, over lunch, was telling me about how certain sports stars pay protection money to certain underworld organizations. Although this isn't necessarily the main theme of the book I was completely taken aback, and captivated by what he told me. So I filed that away in my brain and concentrated on a challenge I'd set for myself of writing a story with a female protagonist - Vivian. I thought it would be a challenge (and it was!) because I find it easier to write through a character - as in through their eyes. But as a male I know that I don't necessarily see the world the same way that a woman does. Honestly, I really enjoyed the challenge and the experience, and I have a feeling I will create more female characters in the future.

4. What tips would you give to any of my readers who would like to be authors? 
I really don't feel I'm in the position to give advice to aspiring writers. But what I've found helpful is reading books from all sorts of genres. I like to think I'm an open-minded person, and this has helped me as an actor and a writer.

5. What projects have you got planned for the next year? 
I'm in a new eleven-part crime thriller called Fortitude. It's coming to Sky Atlantic (UK) and Pivot (US) on January 29th. It has an amazing cast - Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, Sofia Garbol and soooo many more. We spent six months filming it in Iceland last year, and it was one of the best experiences I've ever had. I've also been putting together a book of poetry that I'll possibly publish this year, and I've got an idea for another book - this one will be set in Nollywood (Nigeria's Hollywood).

6. If you were on a desert island which 3 characters from any book series would you want with you? 

I'm one of the few people who isn't too well versed in the YA world - please don't kill me! But if you were to ask me which computer game characters from the mid to late nineties I could give you a long list! But my favourite fictional character in the book world is Alex Cross, he's intelligent, he's cool, and he'd have my back on a desert island!

7. What is your favourite childhood book and why? 

Growing up I didn't really read children's books - thank goodness I write now because that could potentially be worrying - a kid who likes to read but only "serious" books! Right now, the children's story that I can recall striking a chord with me was the Hare and the Tortoise - I was actually upset that the hare lost the race! While my classmates were rooting for the tortoise, I was thinking "come on man, don't be complacent!". So from then on, at every sports day race I'd give it my all until well past the finish line!

8. What inspired you to become and author? 

Stories are incredibly important, especially in book form, as far as I'm concerned. Reading encourages one to use their imagination. I find good book's inspiring, and I wanted to try my hand at creating world's, and telling stories featuring diverse characters - that's very important to me, challenging stereotypes. This is what inspired me to become a writer.

9. What do you like to do in your free time? 

I like reading, of course! Exercising, and watching Arsenal frustrate me. But most of all I love traveling, binge watching TV box-sets, and fine dining with my wife.

10. What inspired your book cover and what do you like most about it? 

There is also a big tabloid theme in my book - I'm very interested (and was once very annoyed!) in people's fascination with celebrity culture. I also thought it would be interesting to show lies juxtaposed with the truth, running parallel in the story. The newspaper cut-out font was a nod to this. There may be a murder or two, three... four... in the book. Just teasing! But I used to be freaked out whenever I saw the hands of a stalker or murderer sticking newspaper font onto a piece of paper to send out a chilling message. So I wanted to include that in the cover to represent the disturbed - the disturbing infatuation with celebrity culture, also some of the disturbing things that happen in the book. I also always like to leave things open to interpretation, this is where the white background comes in - a blank canvass for readers to maybe look at in a different way when they get to the end of the story. And I was quite good at art at school and realized that I hadn't actually drawn anything in years! So one day I was staring into space with writers block and started doodling with my pen, and within minutes I had drawn a couch! I really liked it and decided I was going to incorporate it into my front cover.

About Michael

Actor Michael Obiora (Hotel Babylon, Casualty, Judge John Deed, My Family, Misfits & Doctor Who) has just released his latest novel “Vivian’s Couch”.

Vivian's Couch is the long-awaited prequel to Michael’s 2009 debut novel Black Shoes, and is now available from
Amazon US and Amazon UK

Michael tells us a little bit about why he wrote it:

“As an actor I’m very interested in human behaviour and the motivation for ones’ actions. I find it fascinating how we can all seem so different on the surface, but I’m even more fascinated by how similar we can be when we dig a little deeper.

I wanted to find a way to incorporate these themes into a hopefully insightful story and show how people from every walk of life can experience chaos, identity issues, betrayal, depression, and insecurities.

I also wanted wanted to write another book that reflects the diversity of my home city – London. This diversity is something I really appreciate, especially since I have spent time in other cities in the UK, where I have experienced very little diversity. And that’s not a criticism, just an observation, and something I guess I was surprised by.”



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