Today on the blog we have the Blood to Blood blog tour and an interview with the author Ife Oshun.
Ifè Oshun is the author of the YA modern fantasy Blood To Blood set for official release in December 2012.
Starting out as an actress, the Fine Arts and English major went on to work for over a decade as a music journalist for national magazines and major websites including serving as Editor-In-Chief for HiphopRnbSoul.com. She also produced, and wrote for, television and theater. A couple of her sci-fi/fantasy plays were produced Off-Broadway and in Los Angeles, and she did her Writers Guild of America internship with Star Trek Enterprise and Voyager.
Her work incorporates fantasy elements with some combination of the following: humor, social issues, family themes, metaphysical concepts, and pop culture. She lives in Boston with her small son and ink-black cat, and can be found online at herpersonal website.
1. What inspired you to write Blood to Blood?
There were a number of inspirational sources for Blood To Blood. The first one was Aaliyah. She was gorgeous and had a clean-cut, youthful energy; nothing sleazy which she easily could have done because she had an amazing body. But with all the clean-cut girl next door vibe she had this dark little undertone, an edge you couldn’t really identify. It was a seductive sort of dark that maybe, if she had lived longer would have developed into something even more brilliant. And she definitely had secrets. That whole marriage to R. Kelly when she was 15, that was a serious skeleton in the closet. The big difference is Angel’s got a much more powerful range (more like a cross between Beyonce, Mariah and Whitney) than Aaliyah’s soft soprano. Either way, she was the inspiration for Angel’s character back in 2001 when I first got the idea for Blood To Blood. Back then I was working in television, and right after Aaliyah’s heart-breaking death the story of a young singer who goes against all odds to follow her dream came to me as a television series. The Cosby Show also served as an inspiration for Angel’s family, and the old Dark Shadows series inspired the dark side of the family and the supernatural secrets they have.
2. When thinking up the characters in Blood to Blood, did you base them on real people?
Beside Aaliyah, there were a couple other real people who inspired my characters. Sawyer Creed was inspired by Robin Thicke. Before Robin became famous he had this long hair and a kind of skater vibe. It was very sexy, especially when he started hitting those soulful, falsetto notes. Angel’s mom Cleo was inspired by Phylicia Rashad who portrayed Clair Huxtable on the Cosby Show. I just see her as the epitome of “mom;” super-duper, larger-than-life, holy Moses mom, to be exact.
3. Do you have any inspiring words of advice to future authors?
Keep writing. Never stop. Don’t let anything get in the way of you getting the words out of you. There will always be obstacles, life, that gets in the way of just sitting down to write. Go with it. Explore how technology can help maximize your time. For example, I love how speech-to-text makes it easy and quick for me to get all my ideas out in a way that I can review later, no matter where I am. For some reason, a lot of my ideas come to me in my car while I’m sitting in traffic, so recording these ideas on the fly works really well for me as part of the writing process. I would encourage writers to take advantage of all available means to save, gather and flesh out ideas; and definitely take classes that will help you with the technical aspects of writing.
4. Have you always wanted to write YA fiction?
I was a music journalist for a long time, and also wrote for stage and television. Novel writing seemed to be a natural progression. But in terms of the specific genre, it wasn’t a goal of mine really. The thing I was compelled to do was tell the story in the way that made the most sense, the way that served the story the best, and whether it was one medium or the other, or one genre or another, didn’t matter to me. It took years to discover that Angel’s story wasn’t a television series—that it was really a series of books. Once I had that realization, the writing of it came so easily; it just happened to fit into that particular genre. Once I started writing it as YA, it felt like second nature, the voice came so naturally it was almost eerie, as if her character had been waiting all that time for me to get a clue. I personally love writing in the genre of YA and look forward to writing much more. To me it’s very exciting to connect with younger readers about universal topics that transcend genre such as morals, family and social responsibility.