Nightshade Crime Fiction Anthology: An Interview with Co-Author, Chiedu Dieyi

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Fiery Scribe Review presents an interview with Chiedu Dieyi, one of the co-authors of the PROFWIC Crime Fiction Anthology, Vol 1, themed NIGHTSHADE.

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Chiedu Dieyi is a rare combination of a writer, an educator, and entrepreneur. His passion for writing led him to publish the novel Sambisa Crossroads (available in paperback) and a couple of others available on Okadabooks, including Room 16, The Blackmailer, and Blood Escape—all fast-paced crime thrillers.

His major genres are political thrillers, crime fiction, action thrillers, and mystery.

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Interviewer: Elisha Oluyemi (Editor-in-Chief, Fiery Scribe Review)

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Can you tell us a little more about yourself?   


Chiedu: My name is Chiedu Dieyi, and I'm an author as well as an educator. I’m a native of Delta State and a graduate of English/Literature from the University of Lagos State University. I currently work  as an educator with Busyminds School , Lagos.



What genre(s) do you write?


Chiedu:  I major in crime fiction, political and action thrillers. Sometimes I delve into mystery thrillers too because  I like the  sense of curiosity that spins through the reader's mind all through the plot.



Beautiful. I particularly love the sound of ‘thriller’--all shades of it. (Smiles.) How long does it take you to write a short story? 


Chiedu: It depends. I wouldn't say there is a set time frame. Although I do more full length novels, when I write short stories,  I can do it in a day. The editing and other aspects can run into weeks.

Good. What do you always aim to achieve when writing crime fiction? 


Chiedu: My goal is usually to  expose evil and delve into the dark mental world of the men and women behind crime. When you read my debut novel, SAMBISA CROSSROADS,  you get a glimpse of the fact that I'm always asking questions each time I hear of a crime in the media, and that is: what are their motives, what feeds their guts, what mindset do they have? These and more are the goals I usually aim to achieve each time I write crime fiction. Meanwhile making it entertaining and thrilling is also an important thrust.



Thrilling motivations, Chiedu… Speaking of, short stories differ greatly from novels in terms of length, depth, scope, and so on. Do you often make outlines for your short stories, or since it's of a very limited scope you just delve into the writing and see where it leads you? 


Chiedu: I delve straight into the story like an adventurer in search of a lost mine and allow the story to tell itself. I could never predict the outcomes even if I tried, because at some point, I lose control of the characters who now developed minds of their own and act independent of the author's original intent.



Anita’s Bullet is clearly a thrilling read, with the crazy ruin-the-vacation moment, the subsequent confrontation between Anita and the FCIID chief, Jackknife’s threat, and the fast-approaching climactic action. How did you feel during the writing process?  


Chiedu: I was very excited because the concept of Anita having her vacation interrupted was really unusual in comparison to what I've read in most crime thrillers. The element of surprise that dominated the sequence of events made it even more thrilling for me, because it transported me into their world, I could literally touch them.  



I must really say, Anita is a compelling character. I’ve read a few short crimes with female villains—of whom I think yours to be the most devious. For me, it’s even more interesting, the cliffhanger that throws a wilder air around her. How did you get the inspiration for Anita?  


Chiedu: My inspiration for Anita comes from the fact that we don't have too many female cops in our police force. Thus, the desire to break that paradigm made me think of the concept. For me, it was a cultural shift  to create a character like Anita.



For you, what makes a good short story? 


Chiedu: Three elements make a good story for me: 1. The conflict, 2. The characters 3. The motives. When there's depth in these three elements, boy, I won't drop that novel until I read the last bit. I like conflicts that have depth, clearly revealed in the first few pages and that keeps on eluding those trying to solve it. For characters, I love characters that are unusual, smart and who don't always  care about what you think of them. For motive, let the motif be realistic. Motives should pull the reader to develop empathy for a character.



Have you ever got a negative review? How did you respond to it? 


Chiedu: Yes, once. Funny enough, it came from one of my students. She critiqued  my choice of character name in one of my novels and also pointed out that I revealed too much detail in it.. And honestly, I learnt a lot from that feedback which helped me in my further works.



How thrilling do you find writing a villain as a central viewpoint character? 


Chiedu: Villains are to me, the major driving point of thrillers. To get your readers hooked to the last sentence, it is important to create powerful villains. I have read some thrillers that had weak villains, and honestly, I was put off. Smart and fearful villains give depth to the conflict and keep the reader on edge as they continue trying to figure out how the protagonist or hero would save the day. When the conflict is easy, it's because the villain is weak.



Your works are often set in Nigeria. Is it a thing of choice, or is it your story idea that always determines the setting?  


Chiedu: It's a thing of choice. I intentionally want to tell the Nigerian story so the world will know that we also have our story. That's the beautiful thing about literature. It serves as a preserver of culture and a people's worldview. People almost believe that it's only in the west these things happen, forgetting that they don't only happen here in Africa alone, but that in Nigeria in particular, we have the best stories anywhere in the world. I have sat and listened to people relay their stories to me, and after such sessions I'm always holding my breath.



Do you see crime fiction as complete without the active involvement of an investigative body? 


Chiedu: Surprisingly, yes. Crime fiction gets interesting when it is not  stereotyped  or  boxed into a pattern. You don't want to weigh down your work  with a trope and make it predictable.  I have a crime fiction that doesn’t have the involvement of an investigating agency and it was a thrilling read. Some stories revolve around individuals who found themselves in a crime they are trying to get out of,  only to find their hands in more crime in the process.



Do you have a work-in-progress—a novel you can’t wait to share with the world? 


Chiedu: Oh yes! I'm working on a series at the moment and the first of it will be due for a release before the end of the year. The writing process has been nothing short of fun, and while I have completed the second book in the series, I have drawn the basic concept and outlines for the third and fourth series. Readers won't be disappointed when they are released.



Interesting! I can’t wait to see that happen. What authors inspire you the most? 


Chiedu: Joel Rosenberg, my mentor in political thrillers; Hadley Chase, King of Crime fiction, Harlan Corben, mystery architect, Alexia Praks, Romance queen, Chimamanda Aduchie, Literary mother etc Funny enough, there is a balanced mixture of all these elements in my up-coming work.



Crime Fiction is quite less-explored in a country like Nigeria, where preference is given to literary fiction and other dominant genres like romance and family drama. However, the PROFWIC Crime Fiction Anthology has proven to be a huge success for crime writers like you who I’d regard as pacesetters. How do you feel about this?  


Chiedu:  I think we need to have a paradigm shift in this area. Let's be honest, there is a new generation of readers who are fed up with the popular trope. These readers are hungry for thrillers and stories that delve into the unknown world of suspense and mysteries. This is why I feel NIGHTSHADE couldn't have come at a better time. 



It’s great having you here, Mr Chiedu… Say, what one, two or three thing(s) would you ask a budding writer to do every day? 


Chiedu: Keep reading, keep  writing and keep learning how to do it better.




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NIGHTSHADE, PROFWIC Crime Fiction Anthology Vol. 1, the maiden edition of anthologies by the global writing community, Prolific Fiction Writers Community, features six intriguing crime fiction short stories that will leave you breathless. 

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MEET THE INTERVIEWEE:


Chiedu Dieyi is a rare combination of a writer, an educator, and entrepreneur. His passion for writing led him to publish the novel Sambisa Crossroads (available in paperback) and a couple of others available on Okadabooks, including Room 16, The Blackmailer, and Blood Escape—all fast-paced crime thrillers.


His major genres are political thrillers, crime fiction, action thrillers, and mystery.



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  1. Chiedu Dieyi is an amazing writer. I enjoy his books. Kudos

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