I is for Interview - Paschal Obinna Ozoigbo

And today, my guest is Paschal Obinna Ozoigbo, Author of The Dust Must Settle. Enjoy...

1. Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Africans are where they are today, especially intellectually, as a result of the collective effort of the colonial administrators.

2. Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
Yes, I have one. Glittering Sword is the title. I have quite a lot of projects lined up. And I don't write just to win awards. I write to affect lives, and also to give a message from my satire. My banking job, which kept me extremely busy and therefore out of writing for close to 15 years, squeezed out all the youthfulness in me and made me sort of redundant as a writer. Nevertheless, at 39, I think I have practically nothing to lose. The late Sidney Sheldon, after all, started his writing career in his 50's, and today he is a celebrated writer, the most translated author in the whole world, according to The Guinness Book of World Records.

3. What inspired you to want to become a writer?
Naturally, I am a chronicler. It is a gift from God. Unfortunately, however, I cannot tell it. I can only pass it across in black-and-white. Whenever I read a novel, I always tell myself: but, boy, I can do better.

4. Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Seeing my brainchild finally in print form, well-bound, ready to be launched to the world through Amazon, the biggest online bookstore in the whole world, and Barnes &Noble. I have attended speaking engagements in Lagos and Abuja as a result, and offers have come from Hollywood, through my publishers, to get The Dust Must Settle from book to screen. I have had a good time speaking with the Africa Regional Chairperson for the The Commonwealth Prize, Ms. Ayeboah-Afari, and also with the Commonwealth Foundation in London. The Dust Must Settle got to them late as an entry for the 2011 Commonwealth Writers Prize. Ayeboah-Afari took her time to placate me, because I was really mad with the publishers in the US for submitting my entry so late, long after the deadline given. You see, in life, on must count it all joy, even when things seem to be going haywire. These therefore constitute my most rewarding experience since being published.

5. If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world.. which would it be?
Barbara Taylor-Bradford's Voice of the Heart.

6. What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
Cyprian Ekwensi's Jagua Nana's Daughter, which was made into a TV miniseries in the 80's or thereabouts by some Nigerian soap producer/director.

7. What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Don't write with winning an award at the back of your mind, otherwise when the awards seem not to be forthcoming, you may get frustrated and may stop writing as a result. It has thought me a bitter lesson. Write, just because you want to write. And I tell you, someone out there would see your work(s), fall in love with it(them), and find you--wherever you may be.



8. If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why?
NOW!!!! . . . In London. You see, literary London to me is the best in the world, irrespective of genre, irrespective of where you come from, irrespective of race.

9. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
London.

10. What is your favorite Quote?
Martin Luther King, Jnr's "I have a dream . . . "

11. When you were little, what did you want to be when you "grew up"?
A medical doctor. With a tremendous amount of passion.

12. If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why?
Djimon Hounsou, because he is African, and appears to be shy at times.

13. How did you know you should become an author?
Having read the works of the following Nigerian authors in the global market, as a teenager and as a full-fledged man now, I told myself that I can make it, too:
i. Chinua Achebe
ii. Flora Nwapa
iii. Buchi Emecheta
iv. Cyprian Ekwensi
v. Ifeoma Okoye
vi. Dillibe Onyeama
vii. Elechi Amadi
viii. Ben Okri
ix. Chimamanda N. Adichie
The list is endless . . . let me stop here.

14. Who are your favorite authors of all time?
1. Dickens
2. Sheldon
3. Ekwensi
4. Taylor-Bradford

15. Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
No. I create my characters by my imaginative powers. I don't even know myself to that extent.

16. What's the craziest writing idea you've had?
Writing about cities and/or countries I have never been to in person, and writing about my white characters. I think that is why Hollywood wants me to negotiate a deal with them through my publishers with regard to The Dust Must Settle. You see, I research these cities on the internet, and I see myself physically there, walking in their streets. And thank God for it; it saves the writer a lot of money, a lot of trouble with embarking on a research trip, a lot of risks and stress.

17. What's the best advice anyone has ever given you?
To reduce the rate at which I spend, and the rate at which I spank my kids whenever they do those petty things that kids do. Thanks to my wife, to whom I dedicated The Dust Must Settle.

To those who did not get it the first time, The Dust must Settle is available via Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and major bookstores in Nigeria and around the world.

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