Here is an interview with Longrin Wetten, the author of Lie to Me, Dan
Let’s get to meet you Longrin – full names, age/birth date, educational background and family background?
Longrin Wetten. 40 years old. Born on the 5th of May 1978; graduated from Federal University of Technolgy Minna. Last born in a family of five (2 females, 3 males). Single but unavailable.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does time affect your writing?
I have a full time day job as a Computer Network Engineer, and writing is part of my job description. I write memos, emails, business cases etc. But when you say writing, I believe you are referring to creative writing. Creative writing is something I do out of the love I have for telling stories and whenever the inspiration comes, I find myself writing virtually all the time. I mean, it was when I had finished writing a full novel that I wondered how I actually did it! Unlike most writers, I do not have a definite schedule on how I write. But then, I don’t really consider myself a writer per se. Sometimes I wish I could hire one to help tell my stories better and faster too, because writing can be quite demanding on time, particularly the proofreading, editing and the inevitable re-writes.
Where did your love for writing come from?
My love for writing flowed out of my love for reading. When I see nicely arranged letters forming sentences that flow to paint pictures, images, stories, ideas, feelings! I just can’t help but marvel at the power of writing. And to think that whatever is written can literally last forever? I find myself tempted by the fact that I could create something that would outlive me.
How long have you been writing?
My earliest memory of writing was when I was in my early teens, around 13 -14. I wrote a short story based on a scary dream I had. I didn’t do much afterwards until my university days when I decided to write. But like I said earlier, I’m not much of a writer, I’m more of a storyteller and I’ve been telling stories since before I was 10.
What kind(s) of writing do you do?
Articles, poems, skits, short stories and of course, novels.
What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?
Reading is a powerful tool for empowerment. I owe a lot of what I have achieved today to the very first novel I read. And when I say reading, I’m not referring to reading to pass exams, but reading for fun. Sadly, the reading culture in Africa leaves a lot to be desired; but then, that’s where my kind of writing can make a difference (I hope). I believe my novel can help stir in people the desire to pick up this highly rewarding habit.
Would you call yourself a storyteller or just a writer?
I’m first a storyteller before I’m a writer. And I’d rather not be referred to as a writer. I’m not even comfortable calling anyone a writer. It’s like calling someone a speaker. Speaker of what? Keynote speaker? Motivational speaker? Instead of using the word writer, I’d prefer a more specific definition like journalist, columnists, screen writer, scribe etc. When you look at it this way, you will realize we are all writers in our own rights. What makes the difference is the content we create with our writing.
What were your goals and intentions in your published books, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
I intend to help inculcate a healthy reading culture by making reading less of a chore and more fun. My kind of writing targets the up and mobile population with short attention spans and little time. This demographic are in need of escapism while traveling, relaxing, or just being part of a fun discussion group. I feel good whenever I meet someone who said they picked up my book with the intention of reading a few chapters only to find themselves reading the whole thing! This tells me that I’m getting somewhere. All I need is to reach out to more prospective readers out there and keep satisfying the old ones with new content.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
My biggest influence is Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond. Others are Mario Puzo, Dan Brown, Jeffrey Archer and my teenage favorite, James Hadley Chase. I find myself seeking to create the thrill and sense of adventure they gave. I love it when my readers testify to sharing those experiences.
What do you like to read in your free time?
These days I read less exciting stuff like journals, news articles and books on personal development. But back in the day, I was reading novels back to back like there’s a reward waiting for me. I’d love to see this happen to the young ones who shouldn’t be bothering too much about rape, war, politics and all the dreariness of the adult world.
What projects are you working on at the present?
Apart from the sequel for my first novel, I’m talent hunting. I am searching for young talented artists who can tell stories in all its varying forms whether through drawing, singing, dancing, rapping, dramatizing, painting etc. Storytelling is a complex art that feeds off all the other forms of artistic expression. I want to be the one to bring the best together in a grand collaboration.
What do your plans for future projects include?
Making movies. We are in the multimedia age and our content needs to respond to the times. Writing is just one of the first steps you take in storytelling. There’s a lot of ways you can render and deliver stories to an ever growing audience.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Lots. I have like a ton of ideas that are yet to hit the pages. Most of them are in draft form. My second novel is the one I’m most embarrassed about though. That’s because I’ve procrastinated too long on it. But it’s coming out soon enough. I have a new source of energy.
What does literary success look like to you?
Literary success to me is getting your book read by a total stranger who neither knows you nor cares about you, but only fell in love with your writing in its entirety!
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Conceptualization. The rest is easy once the foundational concept is tight.
Does your family support your career as a writer?
Not at first, but they do now and I feel very grateful for that.
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
I would have written more stories and sought less validation.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It took me 9 months to finish my first novel. The second one has been on for like five years now. I guess I don’t know my average yet.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Not exactly. This brings me back to what I said earlier. When your focus is writing, then you will hit a brick wall because you are thinking too hard about writing something. Anything. But when you have a story to tell, it is a different experience altogether. You may be procrastinating, but not because you are out of ideas.
What inspired the title of your last book?
Lie to Me, Dan was inspired by the words of a song and my fondness for creating stories about hypothetical situations. When I heard “lie to me, I promise I’ll believe” in a song titled Strong Enough by Sheryl Crow, in my mind’s eye I saw a beautiful girl saying it and meaning it. So I set out to tell a story that would contain the exact same situation in an adventurous yet realistic way.
Do you belong to any writing community? If yes what are roles/impact to the community?
Not really. But I was once a member of GAP (Guild of Artists and Poets). It was there that my passion was rekindled by other ambitious writers and the leader of the group, Audu Maikori. I owe him a lot of gratitude for such an enriching experience.
You can connect with Longrin Wetten on social media via instagram