Tendai Huchu was born in 1982 in Bindura, Zimbabwe. He attended Churchill High School in Harare and from there went to the University of Zimbabwe to study a degree in Mining Engineering. He dropped out in the middle of the first semester, found work briefly in a casino and from there drifted from one job to the next. Four years later he returned to university and is now a Podiatrist living in Edinburgh, Scotland. His first novel was The Hairdresser of Harare and it was followed up by an ebook, An Untimely Love.LINKS:
What was the inspiration behind the book?
The book is divided into three parts, The Last Day of a Suicide Bomber, An Untimely Love and Love’s Labours. The first part was inspired by Victor Hugo’s novella, The Last Day of a Condemned Man and I tried to adapt that technique into my novel. I’d alsp come across the work of Malcolm Potts and Thomas Hyden which argues there are biological origins to human aggression. What interested me was the story of The Black September group which committed the terrorist atrocities at the Munich Olympics. It is thought that one of the contributory factors to the group’s dismemberment was that they were given incentives to marry and start families which the authors’ argue went a long way toward reducing their inclination towards violence.
How long did it take you to write?
It took about a year from start to finish then I had to work with my editor Marsha Briscoe from Whisky Creek Press to polish it and make it ready for publication.
Where do you write
I live in a very small flat so I write in my bedroom with a view of the city and Edinburgh airport in the distance. I tend to write in the mornings and read later in the day unless I’m working to a deadline when I work flat out, all day.
Do you complete a detailed plot or have a rough idea and let it develop as you write
I had the idea that Khalid Patel and his gang would imitate the 7/7 London underground bombers but once he fell in love with Smokey I had to start improvising as the story went along and there were twists and turns in the narrative that I hadn’t anticipated. It’s funny how your subconscious weaves different elements into the story that you, as the writer, do not immediately notice as you’re working.
What piece of advice would you give to any aspiring writers
Writing is like any other craft is 1 part inspiration and 9 parts perspiration. Work hard at it and don’t ever give up.
What authors do you like to read?
I’ve quite an eclectic taste in books from right across the world. I love David Mitchell who’s work is depressingly brilliant and I also read Middle Eastern authors like Amin Malouf. But to be honest I could go on all day about the books and authors I’ve encountered who I adore.
Is there a book that really inspired you?
Geez, so many to mention but if I were forced to narrow it down to one then I’d have to pick Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. When I read it I was completely taken by what you could do with the novel as a writer.
What are you currently reading?
At the moment I’m reading The Windup Girl by the brilliant Paolo Bacigalupi. I’m trying to diversify my book collection by reading more speculative fiction and mystery.
When reading do you prefer hardbacks, paperbacks or ebooks
I tend to read paperbacks because it’s economical and I love the feel of paper but I’m also getting into ebooks.
What are the benefits of self-publishing?
Thankfully, I’ve never had to go down that route, but I feel the self-published author enjoys a lot more independence than I do.
Is there any aspect of self-publishing that you don’t like?
The downside of self-publication is that one does not get the benefits tied in with a publishing house, like working with an editor, cover art and wider distribution, unless they are willing to pay for it. This obviously may affect the quality of work a writer produces especially with regards to editing.
How do you relax?
I enjoy a good game of chess and watching films.
What are your hobbies?
I read an awful lot; you simply have to if you’re going to write.
Have you got any more books planned, can you tell us a little about the plot, when can we expect it?
At the moment I’m doing some script writing. I have a play that will be produced later this year and a film script which I’m in the final stages of proofing. I have a few ideas for a new novel but it’s bad luck to talk about work in progress!
Love can find us in the most unusual of circumstances. This is what happens to Khalid Patel, a terrorist, when he falls in love with Smokey, a feisty and independent young woman who was to be Britain's first female suicide bomber. On what is meant to be his day of martyrdom, his violent worldview is thrown into turmoil. We share his thoughts as Death and Duty become irrevocably and movingly entwined with Love and Life.
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