Nightshade Crime Fiction Anthology: An Interview with Co-Editor, Elisha Oluyemi


Fiery Scribe Review presents an interview with Elisha Oluyemi, co-editor of the PROFWIC Crime Fiction Anthology, Vol 1, themed NIGHTSHADE.




Elisha Oluyemi is a Lagos-based writer and fiction manuscript editor from Nigeria. He’s the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Fiery Scribe Review, a literary magazine. He’s also the founder of Fiery Fiction Writers Alliance (FIFWA), an online writing community.

He has contributed short stories to literary journals including African Writer Magazine, Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, Sledgehammer Lit, Mystery Tribune, Adoxography, Fiction Niche, The Shallow Tales Review, Paracosm Literary Journal, Arts Lounge and a few others. He won the 1st runner-up prize at the Shuzia Writers’ Prose Competition, themed The Verdict, and has a psychological thriller upcoming in PROFWIC Crime Anthology Vol 1. 

Elisha is a Korean language addict and a big fan of classical music. You can connect with him on Twitter @ylisha_cs.


Interviewer: Stanley Umezulike (Founder, Prolific Fiction Writers Community)



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Elisha Oluyemi, an undergraduate student of English Language. I work as a fiction manuscript editor, ghostwriter and graphic designer. 

I’m strictly a fiction writer, and I’ve adopted mystery thrillers (crime and psychological) and literary fiction as my choice genres. I read and write only in those genres. When I approach writing, I become a pantser, since I believe strongly in the principle of exploration. I like to be surprised by my own work. Outlining rids me of the writing thrill. And as you may know, I’m a fan of seductive first lines.

Speaking of, I’m the founder of and editor-in-chief at Fiery Scribe Review, an international literary magazine. I’m also the founder of FIFWA, a fast-growing online writing community. 

I speak Korean as a foreign language. I speak it everyday—mostly in soliloquy. I’ve been learning for over four years now. Apart from writing, Korean is my world

Tell us briefly about your writing journey. When did you start writing?

Elisha: I first wrote during my early junior secondary school days—JSS 1, precisely. It was all thanks to our Principal’s emphasis on the essence of the Literary Club. We’d write stories and, with cardboard and A4 papers, make them into tiny books. It was fun, really. I didn’t write for a long time after then, until 2016 (almost six years later) when I wrote a play. I showed it to my brother, and he loved it. 2017, I delved into poetry and prose and began a novel I wouldn’t complete; and in 2019, I wrote a couple of short stories and another novel I really wanted to show the world. The word-count reached 17000 words in 2020, but the plot was too clichéd and it was fantasy-oriented, so I dumped it.

Y’know, I’d met you and had joined your writing community, PROFWIC, prior to my dumping the story. I was unhappy with your feedback back then--since you wanted me to consider writing in third person limited, rather than the omniscient which often pulled me in a mess of authorial intrusion and head-hopping. You also believed I was telling too much and my characters weren’t compelling. I was displeased that I’d have to rewrite and even abandon my beloved narrative POV. So, I compared stories and read a lot from writing blogs—at least to justify myself. Instead, my errors came glaring and I was poised to make things right. I watched a couple of crime-psychological drama series, and a seed was sown in me. A zeal so strong I abandoned every other shades of literature to focus on writing crime fiction and its associates. For me, that was the beginning of my writing career. It was in September 2020--just when I met you, Mr Stanley. (Smiles.) Since then, I’ve had my works featured in at least seventeen literary magazines. (Laughs.) I had to make this long, pardon me.

Who are your favourite authors? What do you like about their books?


Elisha: No author appeals better to me than Tess Gerritsen. I have a thing for James Patterson and You-Jeong Jeong as well, but it’s Gerritsen all the way.

Take her award-winning medical crime thriller, The Surgeon, for example; it deploys a good deal of forensic science in combating rare crimes—the way I like it. Gerritsen also gives a first-hand experience of the psychotic killer’s mind, so that you hear and live the wild and dark ruminations of their mind. And while you’re tight in the chest and throat, you still want to see more. More darkness. It’s like a spell. You know it when you experience it. Mephisto Club, The Apprentice, Body Double, Vanish, Die Again… they are all terrifying. Because, at least for the time it takes you to read, you are both the villain and the sleuth.

James Patterson’s books are damn intriguing, for sure. And I won’t forget how horrified Cross Country made me feel. You’d know by now that all I look out for in crime novels are lodged in the areas of hard forensic science, psychotic exploration of the villain/psychopath’s mind, and the terrific cat-and-rat chase.


Your story, Fire in the Maze, is featured in the upcoming book, Nightshade: PROFWIC Crime Fiction Anthology, Volume One. Fire in the Maze is quite a fascinating story. What inspired you to write the story? Tell us about the writing process as well.

Elisha: Thank you for the compliment, Mr Stanley. I didn’t start writing Fire in the Maze until three days to the deadline, when I wrote only a couple opening paragraphs. On the deadline day, I spent about 10 hours writing—including a long time pondering what exactly my villain would love to achieve. But it happened that I loved the idea of seeing villains exhibit their darkness from childhood. It makes them appear innocent while casting a foreboding darkness over the story whenever they appear. Y’know, you see them as a  ticking time-bomb. Ted Bundy was a jerk from childhood; I watched Mouse, a horrific psychological-crime thriller, and the villain’s darkness began from age ten. For a writer who’s intrigued by psychopathy, like me, there can’t be a better way to announce my villain.

I didn’t plan the beginning or the ending of Fire in the Maze—I’m a pantser, as you may know. In fact, every scene—ranging from Jenny’s manifesting in two persons to Jenny’s meeting Dave and his psychopath father, and even her eventual vengeance—came in unexpectedly, so that I hung on the edge till the end. I wanted Jenny to be innocent but dark (at least having some femme fatale’s disposition). And for me, nothing appeals better in mysteries than writing the story from a villain’s point of view.

We love this scene from your story:


It’s trapped within baked agents, coated over sticks. Matchsticks.

The child doesn’t know what they really are. He only sees the sticks arrayed in stacks. One beside another. One atop the other. So he plays with it. And maybe abandons it for some better fun. But the dark-coated phosphorus invites like candy atop a stick.

So on instinct, he returns to the box. Tugs so much at it so that they all pour out, falling like a pack of cards. 

Great opening for a psychological thriller. Tell us more about this scene.

Elisha: So after my villain, Jenny, finally told me what her crime fetish would be, I decided to start with her childhood. Since she loves fire, then let’s show her innocent mind in a foreboding way, I thought. 

What kind of fire would a child be exposed to (as innocently as possible)? Most likely the one she’s caught her mother making in the kitchen. And that’s likely from a matchstick. You’d notice that she handles the matchbox clumsily and she expresses a strong attachment to it (as children do an object of their curiosity). Candy atop a stick shows the attraction better, so that a sense of urgency is born. Children are eager to possess a thing of interest. Watch a baby cry when you take  his toy away. The candy-like depiction of the match-head--although a weird thing--casts an air of omen over her character.

The reader wants to know why a child isn’t attracted to other innocent things. It gets more fun when she attempts zealously to light the matchstick. She wouldn’t give up. It comes out pretty dark for a child’s character. Especially the point where her eyes widen in hunger for more fire. I like that the scene sets the stage for more darkness to come.


Jenny stood out in the story. Tell us more about her character.


Elisha: Most crime stories I’ve read tell the story from the protagonist’s point of view. But I’m one who loves an inversion. I like to spread the darkness across the story via the villain’s viewpoint. They express their thoughts, their fantasies, their view of this rotten world, and their vain hope to take over it or make the best of it their own way. (Laughs.) Jenny comes in like this, so, she steals the show. The story is about her. So, we see only her and are drawn into her world. She is interesting (especially her childhood and pre-teenage period). The way she innocently talks about her fetish to Doctor Barnes makes her more compelling as a child, I think--and even the fact that she sees herself as a different gender. I’d say, an exposition of Jenny’s character would take a long time to achieve.

Yes, she commits a crime. But due to the rocking back and forth of the narrative flow, her eventual motive is hidden from the reader. In the opening, when she takes a walk with Dave, her boyfriend,  we perceive some iniquity, but till the end, we don’t see where the story is bound to end. And that’s my joy. A strong Jenny’s character.


You are the founder and Editor-in-Chief at Fiery Scribe Review, an international literary magazine. You are also the founder of Fiery Fiction Writers Alliance (FIFWA). It’s obvious that you are passionate about helping writers share their message with the world. What inspired you to do this? What made you to take up this noble task?


Elisha: It’s one thing to be a writer; it’s another thing to be a writer’s writer.  Many of our novelists are writers’ writers. I mean, many other writers look up to them.

So, I thought, one way I can get the best of myself is by doing what many would naturally not do. I admired the job editors of literary magazines do, so I launched my own magazine, even though to many of my peers, it appeared as a playful attempt, even as I’m still young. But I don’t let that hold me back. I thought, if I could add to the list of top platforms where writers can release their voice and deepest ideas, I’d be one step to living fulfilled. Why? Writers from all over the world trust my magazine to publish their works. And they are always happy with the results. What can be a stronger drive? 

When I started writing, proper, in late 2020, I often left thorough and constructive feedback under works submitted for critiquing. It was a pleasure being able to get this done, even successfully. I thought, I could help more writers write better if I created my own writing community.  I wanted to make it all fun and engaging. It’s my passion, after all, and it was more fun having many more people who share my interest. This task for me is borne of unconditional love--one whose success I always sacrifice my convenience and pleasures.


What are your aspirations as a crime fiction/psychological thriller author? Where do you see yourself in the next five years on this path?

Elisha: I’m looking forward to publishing my first short story collection. It will be a manifestation of the crime, mystery and psychological genres--just the way I like it. It’s been difficult, but I hope to publish my first novel soon. I do believe it will rock the world. It’s outrageous saying this, but many novelists have done this with their début novels, so I can do it also. 

In five years, I see myself as one of the leading mystery writers in Nigeria and Africa. I also see myself grooming writers in the genre. I’ll establish a style and break conventions. We’ll be happy.


What are your aspirations for Fiery Scribe Review? Where do you see the literary magazine in the next five years?


Elisha: I hope to make Fiery Scribe Review a paying magazine. We’ll recruit poetry and prose readers around the world; make our response rate almost lightning-fast; and make the magazine appear among one of the best. We aren’t African-culture oriented like many African journals, so we want to be the best all-welcoming magazine from Africa.  


You are a busy young man. How do you find time to write?


Elisha: I actually don’t write all the time. But as for notes, I make them often, every day. While watching movies, I make notes, while reading, I also do,… even in the middle of work. It becomes easy when I have to write a full story, flash or short, since I already have a bank of ready ideas to work with. Those ideas are often represented with compelling first lines, so that once I open my bank, I see a stack of possibilities.

Most times, I write in the day--it takes me a full day to write a short story of at least 2000 words. I always have to put in efforts and listen to a lot of voices.  I’m unable to stick with a schedule because I have technical inhibitions, courtesy of the country’s poor infrastructure, and my busy schedule will always pose a distraction. So, I just capitalise on the little time I have to write.


Nightshade will be published on 6th May 2022 by Ifeadigo Publishing Company Limited. What was your experience working with the publishing firm?


Elisha: It’s been a wonderful experience, really. My story, I think, was reviewed by at least four readers, and they all contributed feedback to make my story better in the revision stage. It was pleasant having my story in such big focus. I also had to change my title into something as compelling as Fire in the Maze.We weren’t aware of a paid writing contract when we submitted our works for consideration, but we suddenly got the promise of a payment. That is little in comparison with the 65-days Marketing Strategy Blueprint IfeAdigo provided us all, even with Instagram-Live interviews and graphic and video designs to help us reach readers who would like to pre-order copies of the anthology. It was a wonderful experience working with the team. A real pleasant one. IfeAdigo to the world!


We observed that readers love reading your works. Any words for your readers?



Dear Reader,

I’m really saying a big ‘thank you’ to you. I always appreciate your time taken to read my words and explore the world of my characters. One may write a work and be confident in what they’ve written, but a reader’s positive feedback (even their little interest) can be much validation for a job well-done. My characters may be difficult and my storylines hazy, but I’m glad you find them appealing nonetheless. It’s a pleasure having the attention of you all.

I’m assuring you of more compelling contents--just the way we like it. Dark, wild, thrilling, reflective, illuminating, (Laughs.) Let’s be happy!


We understand that Nightshade is still available for preorder. Where can readers preorder the book?


You can preorder Nightshade using the following links:

Preorder on Amazon:

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Preorder ebook on Selar:

Preorder Paperback in Nigeria:

Preorder Paperback in Nigeria via Bank Transfer: ₦4000

Send ₦4000 to: (Ifeadigo Publishing Company Limited || 2038047730 -- First Bank)

(Send proof of payment to 07060745771 on Whatsapp.



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. 



Elisha Oluyemi is a Lagos-based writer and fiction manuscript editor from Nigeria. He’s the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Fiery Scribe Review, a literary magazine. He’s also the founder of Fiery Fiction Writers Alliance (FIFWA), an online writing community.

He has contributed short stories to literary journals including African Writer Magazine, Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, Sledgehammer Lit, Mystery Tribune, Adoxography, Fiction Niche, The Shallow Tales Review, Paracosm Literary Journal, Arts Lounge and a few others. He won the 1st runner-up prize at the Shuzia Writers’ Prose Competition, themed The Verdict, and has a psychological thriller upcoming in PROFWIC Crime Anthology Vol 1. 

Elisha is a Korean language addict and a big fan of classical music. You can connect with him on Twitter @ylisha_cs.


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