Questions; frequently asked.
How do you say your name?
Ko (like "coke") - So (like "so what?") - Ko (like "coke")
What does it mean?
Stay healthy and strong. It's from Nigeria. I'm not Nigerian.
How did you...
My parents gave it to me for good luck. I'm adopted--needed some major medical procedures when I was adopted. No, I don't know my biological parents.
Where are you from?
Maryland. But my family is from D.C., & all my friends live there & I work there so...D.C.
What do you do?
I work for Rock the Vote--a youth voting rights & political power mobilization non-profit--as their digital media associate. I basically spend a lot of time grumbling about the news and crafting emails, tweets, blog posts, etc.
How do you have time to write?
I (sadly) write sometimes during the work day, when I can on the metro on my phone, super late at night (I don't sleep more than 3-4 hours a night during the week), etc. Not mornings though. I'm a bitch in the morning.
How long have you been writing?
I started seriously writing in 2013, but wasn't really ready to query until 2014. But I've been writing off and on in some capacity since I could write. I have written short stories and such since 2000, though.
I was born on November 1991. And yes, I'm a Scorpio, the best sign ever.
Speaking of "query ready" how many novels have you written?
The one in 2014, then another in 2014 (at the end), then this one in 2015. I wrote 1 other that was just 'meh' so we don't count that. So 3...ish?
What got you into writing?
I wanted to tell stories. I know, boring. I also wanted to write gay main characters who weren't all about being gay. I loved, for example, Rainbow Boys, but I wanted to have LGBT main characters in stories like The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc. So I wrote them.
So your main character is gay?
Yep. And they always will be. And diverse in some aspect--for example, in this novel my main characters boyfriend is Brazilian. One my WIPs, my MC is African American, and his boyfriend Cuban. I like exploring cultures.
So it seems you like science fiction and fantasy?
Mhm. My first MS was that. And a lot of my ideas were. A mentor during a contest on twitter actually suggested I try thrillers, so I did.
And is that your current novel?
Actually A KISS OF BLOOD AND GUNPOWDER, my project that got me my agent, is a historical novel.
Why historical fiction?
I'm obsessed with female driven period pieces. Seriously. It's a problem. If a book is in a period of the past and focuses on the (overdone) story of a female finding her way in an oppressive society, and a backdrop of war. Sign me up. My novel has some elements of that, but I wanted to modernize it, make a gay character, and talk about a topic never discussed.
Are you going to continue with historical fiction?
Maybe. I write everything. I am always fascinated by war (or similar conflicts) though, and the stress it puts on humanity; how it can bring out the worst/best of people, and how they bring themselves back to center...or dont. So my novels will always focus on that, in some way. The human experience is important to me, so focusing on its manifestation--whether that's in a war, a space-ship, a high school, or a political office--will always be my center.
So, about your historical--was it hard to get an agent?
I don't want to say it was harder than anyone else, but it's a unique novel, about a unique time, with a unique way written. To put it into perspective...I did 3 major edits (practically 3 different stories) queried over 250 agents (including revisions), and spent about 25 months on it before I got my agent. It took me that long to get an agent. Some people do it faster, some slower.
Any advice for a young/new writer?
Query widely. Write what makes you question & think. Don't be afraid to start a new work, and go where your mind goes. Make friends in the community & don't be afraid to ask for help. Be brave, even brazen, and sometimes--just sometimes--break the rules. It can pay off. And most of all, never stop & have fun. Also, learn to love the revisions. That's where I truly found I fell in love and understood my MCs the most.
And now the fun questions...
Favorite city you've visited & top place you want to visit?
Dublin, & Amsterdam (or Mumbai)
Girl crush & boy crush?
Favorite Book? Movie? Band?
DC - Wonder Woman (or Zatanna), Marvel - Emma Frost
Are you friendly to random tweets?
Of course! @kosokojackson. Hit me up.