Q: What kind of books do you write?

A: I write novels, poetry and plays thus I am a novelist, poet and playwright. I also have hundreds or published articles in Newspapers, Magazines and websites.

Q: What kind of writing are you most passionate about.

A:  I am passionate about novels and plays but poetry is most close to my heart. It warms up my blood. There is something so powerful in writing peotry. 

Q: In your novel your ability to combine humor and suspense sets your work apart. What first prompted you to inject comic relief into your books?

A:  I find it hard to write without introducing comedy into my work. Some of the inspiration that comes to me is comical in the first place. I love to write, pause and laugh alone in the middle of the night at some funny things I write. I believe also that even when we have a serious message to communicate; it goes down well when it is spiced from time to time with comic relief. Comedy is like the water that helps smoothly push down a mouthful of food.

Q: You have a real gift for creating a sense of place in your novels. What kind of research do you do?

A: Most of my writings are inspired by human interest stories and true life experiences either by me or others. In such a situation, there is genuine familiarity with locations and characters because most of the time my characters remind us all of someone we know or have heard of.

Q: A Place Of Fun and Evil was set in Cameroon. Where will your next story unfold?

A: I’m not sure yet. I think; anywhere inspiration leads me. I tend to have a thing for absurd and thrilling adventures. That is why my upcoming novels: ”The witch also Cries’ and ‘The Blind Boys and The Journalist’ are must read novels. You wouldn’t want to miss them.

Q: After a few books does it get easier or harder to come up with original ideas?

A: I don’t usually have trouble coming up with ideas. In fact I tend to have too many ideas that I cannot even bring to fruition. I get confused at times. I think that’s because my books are basically character driven. I come up with characters, and work to make them really convincing in their roles in my story. I want them to be original so they can always be remembered in unique ways. I desire to make my stories memorable like “A Place of Fun and Evil”.

Q: What inspires your story lines?

A: The absurd…the unusual and the unique. I love to touch on places where others haven’t gotten to or issues that other writers find a little uncomfortable to address. But my style is to use comic relief to ease my communication. I just can’t write without comic relief. I am myself passionate about comedy and love to laugh. This example is seen in “A Place of Fun and Evil”. I spent time laughing alone at times when a comic light bulb lit in my head…like in the scene when soldier-ants cause the little kids who went to still fruits run home taking off their clothes and when the dog chases them downhill as they run with their penises dangling from side to side.

Q: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing instead?

A: I have always loved writing and I’ve always loved Journalism but I am also passionate about Public relations and salesmanship. I wouldn’t mind though being a rich tycoon sitting on the beach with a glass of red wine with my close friends…hahahahaha (If wishes were horses…)

Q: Why do you think your books appeal to such a loyal audience?

A: My books are really thrilling and full of non-stop drama. They can be extremely funny too. I always compare them to an Indiana Jones movie full of continues drama and comedy. My novels remind readers of the little funny things they had forgotten…the lovely childhood memories. That is why people underestimate them at first but after reading, the phone starts ringing from satisfied readers. An example was this lady who while reading a funny scene in “A Place of Fun and Evil” unconsciously burst into serious laughter in the train. She was so carried away that she missed her stop.

Q: Who are your favorite authors?

A: Agatha Christie, James Hardly Chase, Chinua Achebe and a few others. I wouldn’t forget the greatness of Shakespeare.

Q. How do I get a book signed by you Larry Bate Takang?

A. If you order a copy, please email: labatak@gmail.com and put in the Subject Line: “Autograph”. If you have already bought or have a copy, write to me telling me where you are and you will be fed instructions.

Q: Are your books published in hardcover?

A: No, all my novels and books are published in paperback for now.

Q: Have you ever written, or want to write a screenplay based on one of your novels or plays?

A: I haven’t yet. I would love to though, but I prefer writing other stuff while some screenplay writer does that job.

Q. Do you have movie plans for your novels or plays? I think it can make a good African movie.

A: I have heard this from several people. I will love to have some in movie form. I have had some very low budget producers contact me already about “A Place of Fun and Evil”. The problem so far is that they like it very much but lack enough money for now to make a movie from this novel. I am hoping someone will assist me in that direction.

Q: How long does it usually take to write a novel?

A: It depends. I don’t write big novels, so I could take from four to eight months. it just depends on how inspiration flows and if you have the time. Since I write partime, it takes longer now. 

Q: Do you have upcoming works?

A: Indeed I have upcoming works. I am concluding work on the novel: “The Blind Boys and the Journalist”, “The Witch also cries”, “The Persecuted Child” etc. My most important projects at the moment are my personal magazine: “The African Celebrities Magazine” and my NGO to help young African writers. 

Q:Why did you start writing? Is it something you’ve done all your life, or was there one event that sparked your need to write?

A: I really just know that the inspiration kept coming. I started writing poetry. Many appreciated my poems then. When one of my University lecturers came looking for one of my poems I had just dramatized, it was a booster. It gave me more confidence and self-belief. From then, I wrote several things: Newspaper and Magazine articles; Plays on contract for some projects; edited readers and then novels, more plays and more poems.

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? What is your writing routine-where do you sit, when do you write, and what do you wear?

A: To be honest, I don’t follow rules. The only thing I do is to stop and write something when inspiration flows. At times I stop my car just to scribble down something or add something to my writings on my laptop. I also have the bad habit of working long and more at night. You see…Every writer has his or her style. I guess you just have to do what you are more comfortable doing. I love to work at night when others are asleep. That is me.

Q: Does it feel strange to get letters praising a book you wrote a decade ago?

A: Waow…That can be lovely. We write to communicate or entertain. It is the most satisfying thing for any writer when his or her work is appreciated. It would be a lie to say a writer does not feel good. But strange…at times yes. Sometimes you forget the details of your writings. When people appreciate it and tell you why, it feels strange sometimes especially when they see it from another light and even tell you about things you didn’t ever notice. Still it is satisfying to know your work is still being appreciated out there.

Q:How do you come up with names for your characters?

A: Tricky. For me I use regional names to localize a story. I don’t know about others but I change names several times to get ones that can be easily remembered, pronounced or ones that do not symbolically contradict that role or the whole story. For example you cannot want to talk about a character who symbolizes good and then name him Hitler. If you do, you will confuse your readers and take them off the exact role of your character. In short, instead of just letting people enjoy your story, you will be distracting them with unnecessary controversy.

Q:Is it possible to become a writer if you don’t like to read?

A: This is a tricky question. I think there are those who write more than read more. It is all based on persons. Some writers are selfish or lazy and do read only their works. But I would say, it pays to love to read for by reading you gain more knowledge. 

Thanks to the hundreds of people who’ve asked me these questions at book signings and by mail.