How did “The Clockmaker and His Daughter” originate? What inspirations did you draw on?
I was doomscrolling through Twitter, as one does, when I came across this lovely illustration by Serena Maylon (bit.ly/3QXpT2c), of a man who seemed to be a giant sitting in the middle of a city he was creating. It looked like something out of a fairytale, and it intrigued me to no end. I immediately wanted to know his story, why he was creating the city, and in seeking the answers to these questions, a story was born.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read widely. Read any and everything, but also read consciously. The process of reading is one-half of apprenticeship. Just as you can’t be a carpenter without first studying and understanding the works of those before you. With conscious reading you start to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t, the things you’ll like to try your hands on.
The other thing is to write and finish what you start. It’s really easy to start, but finishing is a whole other beast. But it is important you learn to take a story from conception to completion. Only then can you really see the whole picture, and refine appropriately to tell the story you want to tell.
What are you reading lately? What writers inspire you?
Lately I’ve been reading and enjoying Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. I’ve also just started Alex Jennings’ The Ballad of Perilous Graves and am loving it—music as magic is a trope I’ll die for. As for writers that inspire me, there are a whole lot of them, but I find myself returning often to the works of Neil Gaiman, Ursula LeGuin, Ray Bradbury, Octavia Butler, and Joe Abercrombie.
Other than writing, do you have any other creative pursuits? What do you do to relax?
In my spare time I love to make music. I am a multi-instrumentalist (acoustic and electric guitar, keys, drums and bass). I’m also trying to learn the saxophone. I used to make beats but haven’t had time for that in a while. I’m one of those outlier writers who can never write to music because then my music brain kicks in and I’ll spend the session analysing the vocal harmonies, chord progressions, and key changes that I won’t be able to focus on writing. So I write in silence.
What are you working on lately? Where else can fans look for your work?
I’ve recently completed a fantasy novella about Yoruba gods. Hopefully that gets to see the light of day. My debut collection of dark and fantastical tales, Jackal, Jackal, will be out from Undertow Publications in summer 2023, so that’s something to look forward to. Links to my other short fiction are available on my website at tobiogundiran.com/fiction.
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