Deborah Falaye is a Nigerian Canadian young adult author. She grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, where she spent her time devouring African Literature, pestering her grandma for folktales, and tricking her grandfather into watching Passions every night. When she’s not writing about fierce Black girls with bad-ass magic, she can be found obsessing over all things reality TV. Deborah currently lives in Toronto with her husband and their partner-in-crime yorkie, Major. Blood Scion is her first novel.
Voyage: What was the inspiration behind your novel, Blood Scion? What made you want to tell this story?
Deborah Falaye: My Yoruba culture was the first spark of inspiration. I grew up listening to stories about the Orisha gods and goddesses from my grandmother, and I carried that fascination with me for years. So when I started drafting Blood Scion in 2012, I knew immediately that I wanted to ground it in that same culture and mythology, especially at a time when there weren’t any stories inspired by non-western mythology and settings. The second inspiration came in 2014, when hundreds of young girls were abducted from a school in Nigeria, which sparked the global hashtag campaign known as #BringBackOurGirls. It was truly heartbreaking for me to learn about the horrors these girls endured, and for months after that, I started researching about the child soldiers and the war on children—all of which inspired the world and conflict within Blood Scion.
V: When you write your stories, what is the one thing you hope readers will take away?
DF: I went into Blood Scion wanting every Black, African, Nigerian kid to see a true representation of themselves in the story. It was very important for me to have a Nigerian girl who looked like me front and center stage, to have her go on this incredibly powerful journey of self-discovery and growth, and for her to be the hero of her own story. Representation matters, and as a creator, I want to make sure that if any reader picks up my book, they would always leave the story feeling seen and celebrated.
V: What was the hardest scene of Blood Scion to write?
DF: I won’t go into too much detail to avoid spoilers, but there’s a moment in the story when Sloane gets a chance to save a fellow recruit from a very traumatic situation. The bond that was shared between both characters in that moment was so powerful and cathartic that I actually cried while writing the scene. It was definitely one of the most difficult parts of the book to write, but also one of my absolute favorites.
V: If you could tell your younger writer self anything, what would it be?
DF: I would tell her not to be afraid to chase her dreams. I know there’s a lot of uncertainty around publishing, and oftentimes, the fear of not making it can be so crippling for most writers that it deters them from writing. I struggled with this a lot in the beginning, but I think that is where perseverance comes into play. Keep going, write that story, because you never know where this journey will take you.
V: What are your writing must-haves?
DF: I can’t write without music, so my Spotify playlist is so important for me. I spend a lot of time curating my book’s playlist, and with Blood Scion specifically, I have over 400 songs that I’ve collected over the years. I find that the music helps me get in the right headspace to draft, so it’s definitely a necessity.