We’ll be quite surprised if you haven’t heard of Tomi Adeyemi. Her novel, Children of Blood and Bone, is one of the most anticipated YA fantasy novels of 2018. Tomi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative-writing coach based in San Diego, California. She has now taken the YA community by storm with her incredible book.
Read on to find out a little more about Tomi!
1. Tell us about your new book.
My new book is essentially Black Panther but with magic!
It’s about a girl fighting to bring magic back to her people at all cost, and it takes place in a West African setting. It’s perfect for anyone who loves stories with heart and adventure.
2. Where did you get the idea for your book from?
This book has so many inspirations, but two easy ones to identify are images!
I saw an image of the orisha, sacred spirits from West African religion and mythology, in Brazil and it captured my imagination. I had never seen black people depicted in such a magical and sacred way so I knew it would be in a story I wrote one day.
Several months later, I saw a picture of a magical black girl with bright green hair and it lit my imagination on fire. As I daydreamed about what that girl’s world was like, the pieces of Children of Blood and Bone starting falling in place. Zélie’s hair obviously isn’t bright green, but again seeing someone like me in a setting I’d never gotten to experience really got my creative juices flowing.
3. If you could invite three fictional characters to dinner, who would you pick?
4. What are some YA titles you’ve read and loved?
- The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
- An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
- Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
I love all of these novels so much and they’ve all made me a better writer!
5. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Don’t give up, and know that nothing is wasted. Also read, read, read!
6. What is your writing process?
I like to be in a place of inspiration for a while, then I like to outline in detail! Once I know the scenes in my book, I start writing.
I like to write my first drafts quickly because it forces me to just get the words out and not get stuck on how they sound. Then I revise for months and months and months with the help of some very wise friends, and my agents and my editor!
7. Where were you when you found out your book was going to be published?
I was actually in Hawaii!
My boyfriend’s grandmother had a timeshare she couldn’t use, so she told us if we could get there, it was ours.
I thought it was going to be a relaxing trip, but it ended up being the craziest time of my life!
8. So your book is heading to the big screen, do you have actors in mind for your characters?
Literally all of them, lol. There are so many iconic black actors and actresses that I love and would love to have a chance to meet them!
But I don’t want to say names because there are so many new ones I know I’ll fall in love with too. Like Letitia Wright in Black Panther. Easily one of my favourite characters (besides the incredible Danai Gurira as General Okoye).
I’ve seen trailers of Letitia’s other movies, but this was my first time seeing her shine and I was like, “Now, I have to work with her!”
So I want to meet all the actresses and actors I love, but I would also love for Children of Blood and Bone to be this platform for boosting those newer, incredible actors/actresses onto the screen!
9. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
This book was written from a place of real pain, so having to live through that was a lot for me.
It was necessary, but it was very emotional and I know it will always be very emotional because there are so many people like me who experience the pain my characters experience in the book. There are so many children who will never get to read this book because they lost their lives to police brutality.
No matter how fun and exciting things get, I can never get away from that fact, nor should I, because I’m hoping this book puts that fact at the forefront of other people’s lives so that it becomes a trigger for change.
10. What’s next for you?
Book 2! I’m 200 pages in right now, so I got to keep going! After that Book 3!
Thank you Tomi!
Booktopians on Children of Blood and Bone:
Listen to Bron, Sarah, Tanaya, Tracey and Liv chat about why they loved Children of Blood and Bone. Warning: The first half of the podcast is spoiler free but the girls will inform you when they enter The Spoiler Zone and start talking about the book in-depth. If you don’t want spoilers, please turn off the podcast when told.
Review by Tanaya Lowden
Children of Blood and Bone is one of the most anticipated and hyped young adult releases of the year. This book is pretty much everywhere on social media at the moment, and it’s difficult to avoid seeing glowing praise and adoration for it. I am adding to this praise, as Children of Blood and Bone not only met all of my expectations, but well and truly exceeded them. This book is fantastic, and potentially (since it’s only March) one of the best YA books of the year!
In the world of Orisha, magic has been banished and many majis brutally murdered under the orders of a ruthless king. Told in the alternating perspectives of Zelie, a daughter of a slaughtered maji, and Inan and Amari, the children of the ruthless king, Children of Blood and Bone is the story of Zelie’s quest to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. Read more here.
Children of Blood and Bone
Legacy of Orisha Series: Book 1
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good...