It is late in the week but I have a post for the letter “Q” in the Alphabet in Crime Fiction meme hosted by Kerrie Smith at her blog, Mysteries in
Paradise. I have chosen to profile Kwei Quartey.
His website provides the following background information:
Dr. Kwei Quartey was born in
and raised by a black American mother and a Ghanaian father, both of whom were university lecturers. Even though his professional writing career began after he became a physician, his desire to be a writer started at a very early age. Ghana
Kwei Quartey now lives in
. He writes early in the morning before setting out to work at HealthCare Partners, where he runs a wound care clinic. Pasadena, California
There is interesting Q and A on the website which includes the following about having parents in
who both taught at university: Ghana
Do you think the university environment as you grew up had a lot to do with your interest in writing?
Undoubtedly. Our house was a treasure trove of books. There were hundreds of books, both fiction and non-fiction, in all our bedrooms, the sitting room and the study – even the dining room. On Saturday mornings I liked to go down to the university bookshop, which was very well stocked, and spend hours browsing. Yes, I was your classic nerdy kid reading on a Saturday instead of out playing soccer.
as voraciously as I did inspired me to write my own “novels” when I was around eight to ten years old. I typed or hand-wrote them, and then stapled them together and bound them with illustrated cardboard covers. Reading
Later he provides a somewhat unexpected perspective, to me, on the supernatural and illness:
I have to add that as a doctor, I don’t scorn people’s attempts to explain suffering through the supernatural or the paranormal, because I don’t have all the answers either. There are still many, many diseases that are a mystery to the medical community, and in fact, even with advanced technology we still find ourselves at a loss as to what a particular patient has, and sometimes we never arrive at a diagnosis.
Jen’s Book Thoughts blog has a lengthy interview which includes:
Q: Your “day job” is that of a physician in
. What originally led you into medicine? Then what turned you to writing? Was it always a goal or did you wake up one morning and think, “I have a great plot idea; I need to start writing?” Pasadena, California
Kwei: I wanted to be a writer from the age of eight, long before wanting to become a doctor. As a kid, I wrote short stories and novelettes, stapling the pages together with brightly colored jackets. The books I was reading inspired me, and the process of story creation fascinated me. My interest in medicine took off around 12-years-old, and I became something of the “house doctor,” looking up any medical conditions that family or friends reported. During the time I was in medical school, I did no writing, but a year after I became an MD, I was feeling strangely unfulfilled, and I turned back to writing by first going to a creative writing course at UCLA-extension.
At the ImageNations blog which promotes African Literature there is another intriguing interview with Quartey. The following comes from that interview after his first book, Wife of the Gods, was written:
7. How far have you been received as an author, in
and abroad? And is you book available in Ghana ? Ghana
Reception has been gratifying and in many cases even better than I had hoped. The novel is not widely distributed in
and is therefore not available except perhaps in one or two bookstores. The reason for this is that only Random House owns the English language rights. For my next novel CHILDREN OF THE STREET, the English rights will be available to Ghanaian publishers, who can then print, publish and distribute the book in Ghana . Ghana
Quartey has given numerous good interviews of which the above are examples.
I read Wife of the Gods. I enjoyed reading about a setting, rural
, that is far from the mysteries of the Western world I usually read. I found the pace somewhat slow but was glad I read the book. “Darko” Ghana is a sleuth with strengths and flaws. He pushes past local officials seeking a convenient solution while at the same time exhibiting a frightening casual willingness to use violence. Dawson