Twitter / IFWGPublishing

Sunday, 7 October 2012

October 2012 Newsletter

With a sigh of relief, we are seeing our production line coming up with the goods. It has been a while. As you read this, two titles will have been published, or are on the verge of being published: Numen Yeye, by Biola Olatunde, and Unlikely Hero, by Geraldine Fitzsimmons. Coming very soon will be Loria, by Jesse McMinn - the manuscript is with the proofreaders as I type this editorial. Several others will quite quickly follow them.

Numen Yeye has been the most delayed title of ours since we started as a company, mainly for good reasons. I admit to underestimating how long the project would take, but we learned a lot from the experience: you can't gloss the process while working with something excellent. You don't use carpenter chisels to cut diamonds. Biola is a poet at heart (I hope she agrees with this statement) and her strong ties with her Nigerian heritage combines into powerful narrative pieces. We first had dealings with her when we published her shorter work, Blood Contract - an adventure set in Nigeria and which, on the surface, was an exotic adventure. But no, it became abundantly clear early on reading the manuscript, it was first and foremost a critical treatment of modern Nigerian society, including corruption and violence, and touching on the darker side of spiritualism.

Numen Yeye is a very different story, with strong fantastical elements that knits well into our publishing house's specialization, and digs very deep into Nigeria's spiritual heritage. We were gob-smacked by the messages inherent in her manuscript, and the beauty of her words. What made the project difficult was our need to be sensitive to the work's language, as it was written in the Nigerian idiom of English, and to be frank, would have been confusing for anyone else to read straight off the cuff. A copy editing exercise turned into a translation sub-project, and the proofreading cycle had to work to that same treatment. It added months to the publishing schedule. But it was worth it. I was honored with the job of editing this manuscript, and Sophie Yorkston did a sterling job of proofreading (and lending a second copy edit cycle to boot). We are very proud of this work, and Biola should be honored for writing a work that will challenge readers, conceptually, as well as with some degree of retention of the Nigerian idiom - enough to keep the spirit of the Nigerian culture within the pages, and allow Westerners an appreciation of a very different world (worlds, in fact).

Geraldine Fitzsimmons is also not new to IFWG Publishing. We had the pleasure of publishing her and Andy Stephenson's crime thriller, The Devil Came East, which in my view is still one of our early shining lights. Geraldine has a gritty style and a mastery of vivid characterization, and presents in Unlikely Hero, a pastiche of characters in a well constructed, complex plot. She captures the Northern Ireland, France, Israel, New York City of the 1970s vividly, and delves the reader deeply into international espionage (and with another sweep of her deft hand, local crime) with acumen. Like Biola's newest work, we are proud of this one. A must-read for those who have an interest in the time of The Troubles, but also those who like political/crime thrillers.

I will write more about Jesse McMinn's Loria in the next newsletter. Not only is the story unique in many ways, I am delighted by Jeffery Doherty's artwork for the cover and I feel I am doing these talented people a disservice until I can reveal the full cover.

Until next month,

Gerry Huntman
Chief Editor
IFWG Publishing

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Upcoming Title: Numen Yeye, by Biola Olatunde

We are pleased to announce a forthcoming title, which will very shortly be published in print, Kindle, NOOK Book and Kobo formats.

We felt it was important to say a little about Numen Yeye, by Biola Olatunde, because its production has been meticulous and lengthy, and it is very much a novel worthy of mention.

Biola Olatunde is a Nigerian novelist, poet and screenwriter, with a wealth of writing experience. Her foray into novel writing is one of her later efforts, and her first novel, Blood Contract, was published by IFWG Publishing, and has received critical acclaim. We don't publish many non-speculative fiction titles, but Blood Contract captured our interest, not only for its exotic adventure, but because the novel is also a significant social commentary on Nigeria today--village politics, violence, bribery, corruption--and yet it also talks about a people with a strong spirit and a captivating culture.

Numen Yeye is a longer, more detailed work, and to our additional pleasure, is essentially a speculative fiction piece. This novel delves into Nigerian culture to a much higher degree than Blood Contract; in fact, culture is the central theme. And what a culture! Biola paints a complex picture, a complete picture, of the wonderful spirit of the Nigerian people, in addition to the beauty and majesty of the 'old' religion. In contrast, Biola also depicts in detail the darker side of Nigerian culture, including black magic and witchcraft, as well as the negative elements of local Christian churches. All of these powerful themes are viewed through the eyes of two blessed young people, a girl and a boy. The periodic switching to the realm where the old Nigerian gods and spirits reside, and how they are bridged with these two young people, elevates Numen Yeye into a compelling read.

It is important to make a point about the writing style. Biola Olatunde is an accomplished poet, and her narrative has a strong poetic influence, which is well suited to the subject matter of the novel. Additionally, she wrote her novel in Nigerian English, and the conversion of it into US English was a long and meticulous project, the aim being to translate, without losing her style and the 'feel' of the Nigerian language. Readers will understand this careful balance the moment they read the first few paragraphs--we make no apology, we are intensely proud of our achievement.

Here is the early cut of the front cover, depicting a beautiful Nigerian girl.

And now the blurb:

Numen Yeye is about two worlds, inextricably interconnected. Numen Yeye is a princess in the Kingdom of Light, and her spirit is channeled through a young girl called Ife, who lives in a Nigerian village. Ife's awareness of her Light connection grows, but not as quickly as her dismay with the abuse of Nigeria's religious heritage in dark practices. And yet she recognizes what relevance her heritage has to her peoples', and her own, personal lives.

Numen Yeye is a story about Ife's discovery of her meaning in life, despite her growing, special abilities. It resonates with each and every reader. It is universal in theme. Numen Yeye is also about the spiritual lives of the Nigerian peoples, including their village customs and rites. It is a revelation.

Numen Yeye is not a typical contemporary fantasy novel. It was written in Nigerian English and the publisher has taken pains in retaining as much of the idiom and style as possible through its translation, while still enabling Western readers to fully appreciate what is a very different, fascinating world.