As you may have guessed, I meet a lot of people online and some of them are writers. Folake Taylor is one of them. I saw her review of "In my dreams, it was Simpler" on Amazon and added her on Facebook. I later won her book in a giveaway. Since then, we've started a good relationship.
As part of this interview, she has agreed to give out an autographed copy of The Only way is Up to one of my readers. So first person to comment saying they want the book gets it. (restricted to US residents only and someone who hasn't won something here before. Sorry!)
- What inspires you to write?
Life. I am a great thinker and as I see things that cause me to ponder and go into deep thought, I get the urge to write about it. These are most commonly issues of injustice, love, relationships, marriage, gender roles, gender inequality and such.
- Do you have a specific writing style?
I am down to earth and to the point, if that counts as a style of writing.
- What are your current projects?
Presently, in addition to continued marketing of my debut book "The Only Way is Up", I am working on my first novel, a women's contemporary novel AKA chick lit, if I might say. I don't like to take life too seriously even while addressing very serious issues of our times. A good laugh is never out of style. I also run two blogs. A writers blog called "This 'n' That" and a blog for "The Only Way is Up" called "Empowering You".
- You're a practicing physician, do you see writing as a alternate career or will it remain part-time?
Writing is definitely an alternate career but only if I want it to be. I love medicine just as much if not more than I always have and the practice of it is fun for me on a daily basis. I love my job. I will continue to practice medicine for a very long time. There is a shortage of primary care doctors so I believe my services are needed. I love writing and to me, both writing and medicine go hand in hand. As long as I am of service to humanity, I'll be fulfilled. So, yes writing will remain part-time.
- Can you share a little about your writing routine?
I get inspired about something and I immediately start to make a note of the idea in it's rawest form. I do not like to write long hand. I usually either make a note on my blackberry or type directly into a word document if my laptop is handy. I am an organized person so for my non-fiction work, I started off with an outline of the chapters and the whole of the first chapter in one evening. I subsequently filled in the gap and was done with my rough draft in one month. I then went into edit mode, some research etc. My current project is a little different. I tried new things.
Terry McMillan had a challenge on her facebook fan page for writers after I had written my first one hundred or so pages over a few weeks really as a trial of fiction. Prior to then, I had never written any work of fiction. I have always written articles or narrative type pieces. I wrote the next three hundred pages in three weeks and finished the book's first draft. I also got sick afterwards however and will not be trying that again! For this, I did not have an outline or a full story in my head. As she suggested, I let the characters take on a life of their own and didn't think too far ahead of where I was taking them. I thought about it the night before and had a rough idea then put it in writing the next day. We'll see how it turns out when it's done. I have slowed down my pace however as there is only one of me!
- The Only Way is up is your first novel. Do you intend to write only Non-fiction?
I already touched on this so I won't bore you with a full explantion. I intend to write anything and everything. I will stretch myself. I will push myself to the limits. I have to admit that non-fiction does come more naturally to me however as it is what I have done all my life, informally.
- Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Marketing a self-published non-fiction book is challenging but I have enjoyed every step of the process and I feel like I have learnt a new trade. I love challenges. I learn more each day. And it may be surprising to some that the writing is the simplest part of an author's job. I was also erronously of the opinion that I had done something huge when I wrote the book. Little did I know it was the mere beginning.
The most challenging for me is perhaps the lack of time since I have another full-time job in addition to my domestic duties and the writing.
- When and why did you begin writing? When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I began writing professionally on memorial day weekend in 2009 to be precise. I have however written for fun all my life and in recent years, I have expressed myself more commonly on facebook.
When I was a teenager and I had several friends in boarding schools in Nigeria, I would write them very long letters with graphic descriptions of happenings back home and they found these so entertaining that they would read my letters with their friends who did not even know me. This was of course before emails became popular and we wrote and mailed actual letters to friends and family. These started of as "Dear Dolapo..." for instance and not "Hey girl" like nowadays. It was formal and structured and it really did form part of a foundation of being articulate. I suspect that my vocabulary then was more extensive than now unfortunately. What I would do to get aspects of those times back.
- What books have most influenced your life most?
Barack Obama's "Dreams From My Father" had an immense impact on me that I cannot explain. It changed me. And though I was raised to be a confident black woman who believed she could do anything, I had a renewed sense of the true meaning of going out on a limb and trying new things.
-Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Yes we are still talking about my president! I love his style, his humor, his intelligence, his wit and his directness. If you have not read his work, please start with "Dreams From My Father" and you will be glad you read it.
- Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? What books are you reading now?
I am currently reading "Apologize Apologize" by Elizabeth Kelly and it will take me forever and a day because I have yet to find a plot or storyline in it and I am on page 150 of 320. The prose is to die for however and I am reading it like a text book in the art of story-telling!
New authors that have grasped my interest include Myne Whitman and I just applaud her for doing something with "A Heart to Mend" that I have not seen any Nigerian do in recent years with fiction that is romance. I look forward to more excellent work from this prolific author. I recently read "In My Dreams It Was Simpler" by a group of Nigerian authors and they have me hooked on their blog for the season two.
I have also enjoyed "The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives" by Lola Soneyin. I just recently started reading fiction again as I had a close to ten year period in which I only read non-fiction. I guess I was trying to develop myself. Maybe? How else can I explain it? (Laughing).
- Are there other people that have inspired or supported your writing outside of family members?
I have a lot of supportive friends and even authors I have recently started to network with such as Myne Whitman, Pauline R. Evans and several authors I have come in contact with through social networking. It is important to surround oneself with positive and progressive people in the industry that are headed up just like you are but secure enough in themselves to not need to waste any energy pulling you down.
- Any last words? How can on reach you?
Thank you Myne for this interview. I can be reached at Ft@theonlywayisup.net
F. Taylor on facebook
@folaketaylor on twitter