On writing the book
In 1987, I read a brief blurb in the Los Angeles Times about the head of the Parks Department in the north London borough of Brent who had been unexpectedly contacted by elders of the Fanti kingdom in Ghana. To his great surprise, he learned he was the heir to the throne after the death of his people’s king. “We’re a very poor tribe,” he said. “All we’ve got is our culture and it’s important that we keep that intact.”
His words resonated deeply within me and over the next twenty years I developed a number of fictional story lines based on that basic premise for a feature film but was never successful in moving the project forward.
After undergoing open heart surgery in 2009, I decided I no longer wanted to spend my time writing and producing television shows for network executives but pour my creative energy into writing for myself. I thought about a lifetime of ideas, treatments and screenplays that might be source material for an engrossing novel.
I came across my old treatment originally named “The King of Tanga” and knew this was the story I wanted to explore. And so, shortly after my new lease on life, I sat down to write. I thought the project would take me no longer than six months. It took me three years. I became completely obsessed with the story—lived, ate and breathed it. It was the most intense creative experience of my life. Looking back at that magical time, I can honestly say I have no idea how I did it. To quote iconic author Chinua Achebe, I didn’t write the book. The book wrote me.