Jordan Ifueko discusses West African-inspired Raybearer

Each week, an accomplished published author takes over the YEM Twitter account for Thursday’s Twitter Takeover. Each week, the YA author will answer questions, tell stories, and give advice on our social media. This week author Jordan Ifueko will be taking over our Twitter account. She is the author of the new West African-inspired YA fantasy, Raybearer. Check out YEM’s interview with Jordan below:

Young Entertainment Mag: How did you first get involved in writing?

Jordan Ifueko: Like many writers, I started out as a voracious reader! I devoured every fairy tale I could get my tiny shea-buttered hands on. From the beginning, something about fiction let me exist authentically in ways other spaces wouldn’t.

YEM: So, how does it feel to have your debut novel Raybearer out in the world?

Jordan: Surreal! My life changed in so many ways, but also stayed the same, which is best, I think. Releasing during a pandemic was tough but made the support of family and friends so much more grounding.

YEM: Where did your inspiration for Raybearer come from?

Jordan: I often describe Raybearer as the sum of my tangle of cultural influences. There are loads of West African folklore, some Western fairy tale elements, & plenty of my own weird spice!

YEM: Are there any elements of Raybearer’s protagonist you relate to?

Jordan: Tarisai is driven both by a broader-world sense of justice and an incredibly personal need for love and security, a tension I’ve held inside myself for years. Her vulnerability takes courage that I had to learn too!

YEM: Tarisai was raised in isolation. How do you think isolation affects us all?

Jordan: I think whenever we are deprived of something integral, our most primal needs emerge, for good and ill. We quickly see how our convictions hold up under pressure, as well as who our real community is.

YEM: How have you been spending your time within the last few months?

Jordan: It’s been my debut season, so emails, interviews, IG Live sessions, and extra-large boba tea drinks (a crucial ingredient in this process). I’ve really been hankering to sink my teeth into several new projects tho 👀

YEM: What do you most want readers to take away from Raybearer?

Jordan: I don’t know about “most” but one idea I hope readers take away is that everyone’s story has intrinsic beauty—and that the first step to overcoming your demons is stop being ashamed of them and start addressing them.

YEM: Finally, any plans to continue writing YA novels? And more fantasy?

Jordan: Both YA & MG! So far, all my new projects are fantasy, though of different stripes. I love both the freedoms and the restraints that fantasy offers: a chance to invent new systems while examining universal problems.

Want to learn more about Raybearer?

To follow along with this week’s Twitter takeover, follow our Twitter account @YoungEntmag and follow the hashtag #YAAUTHORTAKEOVER.