It’s showtime for David Dada. I recently spoke with him about his debut novella, Many Happy Returns.
Tell me about your book.
Many Happy Returns is a coming-of-age story in which the main character, Lewis Oluwale Babatunde, also known as Tunde (tune-day), finds himself at a turning point in life after having just celebrated his eighteenth birthday. With high school graduation approaching, he realizes that life isn’t going as he had planned, and he’s forced to pivot. The book follows him on that journey.
Why did you decide to write it?
I’ve always loved reading, and after years of storing away things I read in different fiction and nonfiction books, a story of my own started to form in my head. It was only something I would think about occasionally at first, but it eventually grew to where I could relate to what Maya Angelou said about how “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” That’s when I made the commitment to actually put pen to paper.
Why did you decide to write for young readers?
Some of my favorite books that I still find myself thumbing through every so often fall within the middle grade reader or young-adult genre. However, throughout my writing process I honestly didn’t think of myself as specifically writing for young readers because I felt like the themes explored in the book would be relatable to people of any age.
What do you want readers to learn from the book?
One thing I hope readers take away from the book is that in life it’s ok to not have all the answers, and that the journey is just as important, if not more, than the destination.
Who is your favorite established author and why?
The honest answer would be that it’s too hard for me to pick a “favorite” author because I love so many, but in order to not dodge the question, my favorite right now is the late Walter Dean Myers. The reason is because I read my first book of his over 20 years ago, yet I still find something new to appreciate about his writing style whenever I pick up a book of his that I haven’t read yet. He’s the Denzel Washington of authors for me, in terms of how I can often know just by the fact that Denzel is in a movie that I’ll probably like it. The same is usually true for a book by Walter Dean Myers.
Who is your favorite new author and why?
I would say Nic Stone, though I understand that she’s published multiple books at this point. However, the first book I read of hers was Clean Getaway in 2020, and since then I’ve read Dear
Martin, Dear Justyce, Jackpot, and Fast Pitch, and I’ve loved all of them for different reasons. She’s pretty much on Denzel status with me too. A very close second would be Yaa Gyasi. Her two books Homegoing and Transcendent Kingdom are phenomenal.
What books have you read lately and loved?
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers and The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality by Mike Sielski
What’s next for you?
Right now, I’m just enjoying the moment of having the book out and getting to engage with readers. All I know for certain about what’s next is more reading. I have an ever-growing Amazon Wish List, and I’m also working through books that I currently have and want to finish.
Do you have anything you would like to add?
Not at the moment.
Use the Black Fiction Addiction affiliate link to purchase your copy of Many Happy Returns.
To learn more about David Dada, author of Many Happy Returns, visit his website (www.daviddadabhm.com) or connect with him on Instagram (instagram.com/daviddada_bhm).