Meji: The story behind the story
The journey to Meji began almost thirty years ago. Not long after I decided to educate myself on African history, traditions and cultures, I came up with the idea to share the knowledge I gained in a way that would be interesting and entertaining. I began writing the novel, and I was almost halfway done when I realized what I was writing was basically my version of Shaka Zulu. You see, back then the only African culture I could find any substantial information on was Zulu culture, and that was mostly centered around the British army defeat at the battle of Isandlwana. That, coupled with an artist I commissioned leaving the state with a significant portion of my African reference books dampened my enthusiasm for the project.
Fast forward twelve years later. I had decided I was going to give this writing thing a serious go. I pulled out my collection of notes and pages and chose Meji to be my first project. Since my first attempt I had gathered much more information and a broader knowledge of various African cultures. The storyline based on Zulu culture became the story of one of the main characters, Ndoro. The second main character, Obaseki, was based on my research into various West African cultures. Other concepts became part of the story, mixing together to form the story that exists today.
Meji was meant to be a number of things. First and foremost, it is an origin story. Many African cultures and cultures throughout the world have a story that tells how they came to be. Meji is that story for a culture that I never named. It is the story the oral storytellers of this culture would share with you, a tale that all children of this culture would hear growing up, a historical chronicle sung or expressed poetically by this unknown cultures geseres, jelis or whatever word you choose to use. I've been told by other authors and readers that Meji contains so much detail that it could easily have been a trilogy, but that was never my intention.
Meji was also meant to answer a question of leadership. In a culture where the leader was meant to be spiritually and secularly adept, how is such mastery achieved in the span of one lifetime? If you've read the novel, you know my answer. If you haven't, consider the question a mini-spoiler.
Though written as a continuous novel, I initially released Meji as two separate books on the advice of friends with experience in self-publishing. Two years ago I released Meji Special Edition, offering the story of the fateful twins the way it was meant to be experienced. It's available from MVmedia at a special price in celebration of Sword and Soul month. If you've been wondering what this epic fantasy is all about, today is a great day to find out. Sword and Soul Forever!