It is always so much fun to interview interesting and intelligent people. I felt this way the whole time I interviewed the author of the book Of Captivity and Kings by E.Y. Laster. I hope you enjoy reading it!
1. Which book or author inspired you to be an author?
I read so many different things growing up I'm not sure I could limit it to one! I read The Bluest Eye and Their Eyes Were Watching God. I read The Iliad and the Odyssey. I read Harry Potter, Hamlet, The Kite Runner, Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Antwone Fisher. I read A Song of Ice and Fire, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Nancy Drew, The Princess Bride, The Canterbury Tales and more. My family has a penchant for stories too in the oral tradition and from my aunts to my uncles to my parents and grandparents, I learned the art of drama and suspense! I think all of these stories served my imagination and increased my storytelling skills when I wrote Of Captivity & Kings, my debut novel.
2. What inspired you to write your book “Of Captivity and Kings”?
The reason I wrote this book is because I wanted to write a book about diverse characters I never see and history that is vastly unexplored. In the end, with all of these pieces in place and a love for historical plots, epic novels, and film told from multiple points of view with dynamic characters like Belle, Gladiator, and Game of Thrones, I wondered why more period films set in African countries and the Middle East were not out. It seemed a missed opportuniy to not tell stories of people from the rich array of ancient kingdoms that existed thousands of years ago. At the time, the movie Belle was in theaters. I loved how Ama Asante told the story and made it something special. Despite never having written a book (or a story longer than a couple of pages), I decided it was time to write my own. It began on the back of old receipt paper and turned into hundreds of pages of Of Captivity & Kings!
3. What is your favorite book from your childhood?
That is such a tough one! I adored Harry Potter when it came out while I was in High School and anticipated every single release. J.K. Rowling had such genius backstory that I lived for every discovery. How can you not be inspired once you realize the man you came to despise was protecting Harry the whole time? Severus Snape the hero. I have my parents to thank for my first Harry Potter gift and discovering the little boy under the stairs.
4. As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child, I wanted to be someone who helped those without a voice. A humanitarian. I was always "the new kid" who "talks funny." I was shy, but I spoke up when I needed to, I had friends in different social circles, and I loved to read. At a very young age I came to realize and still very much believe that when people say they "hate" a certain group of people in society what they really mean is "I don't know you." I want that to change and I hope to be a part of it.