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Meet the Debut Author: Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ, author of Dazzling @Chemelumadu @WildFireBooks @Headlinepg #DazzlingIsComing

Hello there!
It has been a while since a post was shared from The Reading Closet, but hey, I’m full of wild surprises, including the start of a mini-Q&A series, highlighting the debut authors of 2023!
Every week, I’ll be sharing my Q&As with authors in question, so stay tuned!

Kicking off my Meet the Debut Author series is author of Dazzling, due to be published the 16th of February by Wildfire Books, Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ. Dazzling has been described as ‘The bewitching Nigerian debut unlike anything you’ve read before,’ and I for one, cannot wait to get my hands on it! Just take a look at THAT cover and read the blurb, you can pre-order a copy today here.

Soon you will become the thing all other beasts fear.

Treasure and her mother lost everything when Treasure’s daddy died. Haggling for scraps in the market, Treasure meets a spirit who promises to bring her father back – but she has to do something for him first.

Ozoemena has an itch in the middle of her back that can’t be scratched. An itch that speaks to her patrilineal destiny, to defend her people by becoming a leopard. Her father impressed upon her what an honour this was before he vanished, but it’s one she couldn’t want less.

But as the two girls reckon with their burgeoning wildness and the legacy of their fathers’ decisions, Ozoemena’s fellow students at her new boarding school start to vanish. Treasure and Ozoemena will face terrible choices as each must ask herself: in a world that always says ‘no’ to women, what must two young girls sacrifice to get what is theirs?

Hello Chikodili, thank-you for joining me at The Reading Closet, could you please introduce yourself and your debut novel.

Hi! My name is Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ, and I am the author of Dazzling, a literary/magic realist novel set in 90s Nigeria.

I am so, ridiculously excited for Dazzling. Could you share the tagline with us?

‘Soon you will become the thing that all beasts fear’. Tell me that does not give you shivers!

Oh my gosh, it does! *Shivers* You have said that Dazzling is a literary / magical realist novel, why did you decide to write a novel in this genre?

Well, I did not choose any genre in particular. I wrote the book and other people told me what the genre was.

That’s fair enough. Okay, next question, if you could choose an actor to play your main character, who would it be?

Eek. I don’t know the young actors nowadays – both protagonists are 10 and 12.

Oh, same! Sometimes I know their character names, but never their real names! Back to your book do you have a favourite quote from your novel? What is it?

‘Is your father a bird lawyer?’ Fans of Always Sunny will appreciate this little Easter egg.

I am intrigued! If there was anything that you’d like your readers to take away from your novel, what would you like it to be?

A sense of where I grew up, of the wider world and the knowledge that one is always more powerful than one thinks.

You’re only at the beginning, exciting part of your debut author journey, but what has been the highlight of being a debut author for you so far?

Oooh. I think for me, the cover reveal, and people’s reception of Dazzling when they read the proofs. It feels great to know that it is resounding with SO MANY PEOPLE.

It is an absolutely stunning cover!! What are you most looking forward to on your debut journey?

Touring. I love book folk, readers. These are *my* people. Every writer is a book nerd so getting to talk to people like me is a huge bonus after the years spent writing in isolation.

That’s such a lovely thing to look forward to, ALL the people!! If you could, what one piece of advice would you give your one-year-ago self?

Advice? No, one year ago me was on the right track, pushing through and persevering. I want to tell her ‘You did it, you beauty!’

You did do it! I can imagine it’s such an amazing feeling. If any, what authors inspire you?

Lesley Nneka Arimah for the sheer power of her prose and the skill that she has, Octavia Cade for her weird mind and research, Catriona Ward for always exceeding her previous work no matter how highly-rated, Wole Talabi is so intelligent, it’s almost upsetting, T.L. Huchu for always finding the weird in every situation and experimenting with prose. All the prolific writers like Paul Tremblay (does that man ever rest?). The Expanse TV writers, bloody Charlie Brooker (I hate this guy and I think it might be envy), and those Black Mirror writers. Last but not least, the queen Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, may her name live forever.

Some amazing authors in that list!! Thank-you so much Chịkọdịlị again for taking the time to chat with me and answer my questions. Just one more thing, how about some *FLASH* questions?

Tea or coffee? Coffee.
Sweet or savoury? Depends on the time of the month.
Morning worm or night own? Morning right now. My life goes in phases, sometimes Night Owl.
Are you a plotter or a panster? Everything I write is in my head. What would you call this? Pantser or mental plotter?
It sounds like a bit of both, and that is a-okay!

It’s been wonderful getting to know one of 2023’s debut authors, be sure to follow Chịkọdịlị online to keep up to date with all bookish news, and remember, if Dazzling tickles your reading pickle, it’s available to pre-order for your TBR pile today!

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