It’s been a very trying time, worldwide. I hope everyone is staying (home) safe and not allowing COVID-19 to get us down. Hopefully, all this chaos will subside sooner than later – let’s stay positive!
Anyone who frequents this book blog knows I admire the work of Ghanaian writer, Ayesha Harruna Attah. I’ve read (and reviewed) all of her books and I just really resonate with her writing – the subject matter, the writing style, the character-driven plots etc. In my annual post on New Books To Anticipate this year, I mentioned that she would be releasing a YA novel. Today, we are revealing the book cover of this new novel – The Deep Blue Between, which will be published by Pushkin Press in October 2020!
Check out the synopsis for The Deep Blue Between below:
A sudden, brutal slave raid tears twins Hassana and Vitória apart, taking them far away from each other. Hassana goes to Accra, where she builds a new family and finds a place for herself in the political world; Vitória goes to Salvador, Bahia where she lives and works with a Priestess, worshipping the gods of the motherland.
But no matter the different obstacles and adventures they encounter, the sisters never forget one another. They remain bound together by their dreams, and slowly their fates begin to draw them back together.
Rich in historical detail, this epic, moving novel evokes a time of great change in West Africa, when slavery has been abolished but colonialism is taking hold, through the lives of two bold young women who are shaping their changing society.
[Cover design by Helen Crawford-White]
A TEEN FEMINIST EPIC OF LOVE, COURAGE AND DETERMINATION
I connected with Ayesha for some insight into The Deep Blue Between. Enjoy our short book chat below, where she talks about the inspiration for her forthcoming novel and gives us a sneak-peek into the main characters!
(note – ‘AHA’ represents Ayesha Harruna Attah’s responses)
- The Deep Blue Between is your 4th forthcoming novel, congratulations on this achievement! The book cover is so vibrant and glorious. It feels like yesterday that your 3rd novel, The Hundred Wells of Salaga was published. What was your inspiration for this new novel and how long did it take you to write?
AHA: Thank you! The Hundred Wells of Salaga was the direct inspiration for The Deep Blue Between. This new novel follows twins Hassana and Vitória after they are separated in a human caravan – the same one which sent Aminah to Kintampo and then on to Salaga. Hassana and Vitória are Aminah’s little sisters! After writing The Hundred Wells of Salaga, I couldn’t let go of the girls and had to find out what happened next. Since I knew the sisters well – or at least what they were like at age nine – the story poured out of me and I was able to complete a first draft of the book in five months.
- From my knowledge of your previous novels, this is your first book in the (Young Adult) YA genre. Did this genre affect your approach in writing The Deep Blue Between? Does writing a YA novel target a specific audience?
AHA: Yes, it is my first YA book, but in my second novel Saturday’s Shadows, Kojo, one of the four protagonists, is a teenager. I had such a good time writing his character that I was excited for the chance to do so again, even if this time I was working with teenagers living in the 19th century. I let the girls guide me and just wrote the story. It was in rewriting that I started worrying about which parts might have been a stretch for a young adult reader.
Even though I wanted to write a book that teenage Ayesha would have loved to get lost in, I also know that when done well, even adults love YA!
- What was the best part about writing Hassana and Vitória’s dynamic?
AHA: I think it was the magic of their journeys. It almost felt as if I were a medium. All I had to do was allow my senses to be open to let their stories in. I also especially loved researching the worlds of Accra, Lagos, and Bahia in the 1890s.
- While reading Harmattan Rain, I saw bits of my life reflected in Sugri’s character and in The Hundred Wells of Salaga, Wurche’s character traits mirrored some of mine. How much of your personal life is seeped into The Deep Blue Between?
AHA: My family is filled with twins, so I tried to tap into that energy to write The Deep Blue Between; even my last name – Attah – means twin. Although Hassana and Vitória are so different, it’s inevitable that they both have parts of me. While I probably identify more with Vitória’s introversion, some of Hassana’s compulsions are totally mine!
- Why would you like readers to indulge in your forthcoming, The Deep Blue Between? What would you like us to take away from the story?
AHA: I really enjoyed working on The Deep Blue Between and I hope the reader feels that sense of joy and wonder that kept me going as I wrote. It’s a fantastic story about the connection between people, and the unseen things that are at work in this strange world of ours – the strength of community and the power of dreams.
Special thanks to Elise Jackson, Poppy Stimpson (of Pushkin Press) + the rest of the team at Pushkin Press and Ayesha Harruna Attah for this wonderful Cover Reveal collaboration!
Pre-order The Deep Blue Between on Amazon
P.S: GHANAIAN readers – stay tuned for a giveaway of The Deep Blue Between, soon!
Check out my thoughts on Ayesha Harruna Attah’s novels:
Harmattan Rain | Saturday’s Shadows | The Hundred Wells of Salaga
#ReadGhanaian🇬🇭 Book chat with Ayesha Harruna Attah