Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest M. Lachi, author of The Ivory Staff. In addition to being an author, M. Lachi is a speaker and Granny nominated song-writer and composer. She has been featured on Oprah Radio, CBS Radio, The CW, Oxygen, and the E! And Style networks among others.
Norm: Good day M. And thanks for participating in our interview.
Please tell our readers a little bit about your personal and professional background.
M: Hi Norm! Thanks so much for interviewing me; it’s definitely a pleasure! A little about my background? Apart from writing, I am a songwriter, recording and performing artist and musician based in New York City. I used to work for the state and federal government but moved on to pursue my creative passions. Having studied business at the University of North Carolina and music at New York University, I currently run a small music transcription, composition and scoring business. I also participate on the board at my local Toastmasters Speech and Leadership club and am musical director for a semi-professional a cappella group.
Norm: What do you see as the influences on your writing?
M: While writing the novel I lived in England for some time and also visited Africa. These experiences helped shape my story, more specifically its settings and characterizations. Growing up I read a lot of classical literature and literary fiction.
Some books that come to mind are Things Fall Apart by Achebe, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Richard Wright’s novels and memoirs, and of course, all the unassigned catalogue of authors required throughout my literature classes: Steinbeck, Dickens, Orwell, Twain.
While writing The Ivory Staff, I found myself reading a lot of twentieth century Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I inhaled Heinlein, Herbert, Jim Butcher, Koontz, Scott Card and a fistful of others. Though I can’t specifically pin-point how, the books I read before and while writing the novel heavily influenced me.
Norm: What helps you focus when you write and do you find it easy reading back your own work?
M: I usually write best with soothing yet slightly haunting non-vocal music plugged into my ears. More often than not, I’ll have one track—that happened to set my mood—on repeat. I often have trouble re-reading the first chapter or intro paragraphs of my works; nonetheless, once I get over that hump, I do enjoy reliving scenes, especially those that are particularly thought provoking.
Norm: What served as the primary inspiration for The Ivory Staff? As a follow up, how did you get started writing the book?
M. I’d been reading so much throughout high school and college that I really just wanted to write. With that, the story just sort of flowed out. In my novel as well as my music, I embrace perseverance and celebrate the overcoming of odds, since I myself encountered a lot of tribulations growing up legally blind.
I started out with an extremely simplistic ten-point section outline then worked to fill in each section, again the story just flowing out.
Norm: What purpose do you believe your story serves and what matters to you about the story? As a follow up, what do you want your work to do? Amuse people? Provoke thinking?
M: As with all Fairy Tales, the novel is meant to entertain yet eventually foster a sort of ‘moral of the story.’ Many victims of social injustice don’t realize their misfortune due to their inability to see the manipulation of the common will by a corrupt elite.
It takes a headstrong dark horse to persevere beyond all peril to break through the mold and begin to cause real change. And though evil pervades our every turn and despair lurks ‘round every corner, good always surpass evil; though it’s not always the type of ‘Good’ we’d bargained for.
Norm: Did you know the end of your book at the beginning?
M: Hm…Yes and no. I knew the last page. How to get to that last page—I was also along for the ride!
Norm: How did you go about creating the characters of Maliko, Uncle Pan, Saab and Siya? As a follow up, is there anything of you in Siya?
M: There is a little piece of myself in all the characters. In fact, I don’t understand how an author could create a fictional character and not have a piece of him or herself within them.
Norm: What has been the best part about being published and do you hear from your readers? If so, what do they say?
M: Writing has been a passion of mine since childhood; however, I put my writing aspirations on the back burner while pursuing music. So coming back into writing and getting published is an exhilarating experience. I’ve had a lot of great positive feedback thus far—especially regarding storytelling and story crafting—and am very grateful!
Norm: Do you worry about the human race?
M: I feel that, in a way, we all do. A single person worrying about the human race as a whole, the Human Being, is like a cell worrying about the body in which it resides. Though it cannot perceive the definitive result of its individual decisions on the greater whole, it strives to fulfill its purpose for the good of that whole…for the survival of that whole. Every ‘good’ thing, person or event is a boon, and every ‘bad’ thing is a lesson—both of which are essential to the survival of the Human Being.
That being said, the human race and all that we do within it is just as natural as its building blocks—air, dirt, water and fire. So, no, I’m not worried; I’m just curious to see what we will provoke nature to have in store for us next!
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and The Ivory Staff?
M: Readers can find more about myself and The Ivory Staff at
MY BLOG for blog posts, events updates and to join the mailing list full of thought experiments and interesting reads and articles
GOODREADS, YOUTUBE, GOOGLE+
Norm: What is next for M. Lachi?
M: I am currently working on my next novel and am looking to write a memoire of one of my ultimate heroines.
Norm: As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.
M: People have been asking me what the M of M. Lachi stands for. Apart from my writing, I've also dabbled pretty heavily in songwriting, composition and performance, as you know. In the music realm I go by Lachi, a strong-willed, empowering performer proclaiming uplifting messages of endurance and overcoming despite short-comings and obstacles.
Within the writing realm I go by M. Lachi. Presently, the M stands for 'meta,' as M. Lachi writes empowering novels containing protagonists who seek to endure and overcome despite their many short-comings and obstacles.
Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.