Antoine Bandele is an Amazon bestselling author in dark fantasy, sword & sorcery, African American fantasy, and African literature.
He lives in Los Angeles, CA with his girlfriend, where he produces work on YouTube for his own channel and others, such as JustKiddingFilms, Fanalysis, and more. During the summer he is a camp counselor. Whenever he has the time, he’s writing his debut series: Tales from Esowon.
Author interview – Antoine Bandele
When did you start writing, and why?
I started way back as a kid, and writing sort of showed itself to me several times throughout my life and I sort of ignored it. It wasn’t until I looked for books on African Fantasy that I started writing because the book I wanted to read didn’t exist.
At what age did you take yourself seriously as a writer?
After earning a screenwriting award going into college, it should have been age 18–19, but I didn’t get serious about it until age 26–27.
How long did it take you to write your first book?
It took me one year to write my first novel (and two years for my second, LOL)!
What was your last book about?
A new age of sky pirates.
What are you working right now?
I’m writing a young adult book revolving around the West African spiritual mythology of the orishas.
What is your writing process like?
I don’t have clean drafts in the sense that it goes from Draft 1, Draft 2, Draft 3. They all sort of merge together. But if I had to guess, I’d say at a minimum I do six or seven drafts before one of my manuscripts is finalised. And I am certainly a plotter all the way down to the beat level.
What do you struggle with most as a writer?
Figuring out beats.
What advice would you give to writers dealing with the same or similar struggle?
Talk it out. Get yourself some writing friends in your genre. I can’t tell you how many times simply talking it out helps, even if the person on the other end isn’t providing any new ideas, just asking questions.
Have you always had that struggle or has it changed over time?
This issue is pretty novel-exclusive. Ever since I got into long-form writing, I started realising that the only time I really got stuck wasn’t with big story issues but micro ones.
Do you prefer the term ‘writer’ or ‘author’, and why?
I’ve no preference. I didn’t even know there was such a debate between the two terms. But, now that I think about it, I default to saying writer over author, for sure.
Who’s your favourite author?
I actually don’t have a favourite author, more like…favourite works. I love Harry Potter, but I don’t really follow Rowling’s other books. I love Ender’s Game, but Orson Scott Card’s other books never grabbed my interest. Matthew Stover might lead the way in the “favourite” author department for me, but that’s only based on two of his books. I don’t follow authors all that much. I follow the books themselves most of the time, not the creators.
What’s the best writing advice you were ever given?