Lessons I learnt from my Mother - Bamidele Kehinde (Guest Author)

I met Bamidele Kehinde on Facebook and decide to conduct this interview after I found out about her first book titled, Lessons I learnt from my Mother. I loved the idea of wanting to honor one's parents through a book and had Bamidele answer the following questions for me. Bamidele describes herself as a full blooded Nigerian, and from Ekiti state – one of the states in the south-western part of Nigeria. After primary and secondary education in Oyo state, she later moved on to the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University in Osun state where she bagged a degree in History and International Relations and a Masters degree in Public Administration.

When did you start writing?
I started my writing career not very early enough but I must say at this point that my educational background in History really helped me when I later decided to start writing. My writing started as a favourite pastime when in 2008, I did not have a job after completing the voluntary service in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). I sent in articles to the Life magazine in the Sunday edition of the Guardian newspaper as frequently as I could. This was how my writing came into limelight. Presently, I work in Lagos as an Administrative Officer. I hope to still move onto (work in) the other sectors of the economy, travel out of Nigeria to other countries of choice and take my writing career to higher heights in life.

Why did you write this book?
This book came as an inspiration to me on a particular day when I was coming back home from work. I thought of how my mother had deposited so much in our family despite all odds. She died in March 2011 and it was a big shock on all of us. I then thought to myself that her life, the lessons that she taught us and her person must be put to writing. I then decided to go ahead to write about her because I wanted to honour her and at thesame time, I wanted the whole world to know about her. The book is an avenue for me to give people (especially mothers), the chance to emulate her good lifestyle.

Describe the special qualities of your mother.
Initially, before writing this book, I thought to myself that would this title catch attention at all as everyone can almost boast about his or her mother but on the other hand, I decided to go ahead with the book because of these reasons.
First, so many people poured in so much encomium before and during the burial ceremony. The people she worked with and even the church members of the church she attended could not but tell of how friendly she was to everyone. They also made mention of how she was mature in settling issues that could have torn people apart.
Another special quality she had was putting in her best in the upkeep of her family. This is not to say that my father was not the breadwinner but she knew very well how to turn the house into a home. This endeared her to many people as they wanted to learn from her.
She had this habit of giving so much so that she gave whether the person was richer than her or not. This is a special quality because not many people could do this and she also made sure that we learnt this too.
The other qualities are the lessons I mentioned in the book. And most of all, the fact that she helped my siblings and I to be the best we could be is one special quality of hers that I will never stop being proud of.
This is why people should go for this book especially, mothers.

What was your publishing journey like from thinking of the book idea to holding it in your hands?
The whole idea of the book as I said earlier came when I was going home from work on a particular day in 2011 (some months) after losing my mother in March 2011. More so, I wanted to put my writing skills to use as I have never authored a book before. So, first of all, I jotted down the lessons and then made an outline of what I wanted the chapters to look like.
As a result of this, I checked the internet for publishing companies both within Nigeria and outside. It was in the process that I came across iUniverse publishing company in the United States of America (USA). At first, I was sceptical about any company I came across online due to the various fraudulent activities that abound on internet but after making the necessary research/findings, I became convinced about going for one of the publishing packages in iUniverse. I decided to go for the self publishing package. This is an experience of a lifetime as I never expected that the company could give me so much autonomy on my manuscript.
All the staff that were assigned to me were very patient, cordial and efficient. They even helped me to make the payment of the publishing package easy even though I had to pay ‘through my nose’ as I put in all my savings. The publishing processes were not too tedious and I got the value for my money. Finally after about a month, my book was ready. The publishing was finished in September 2011 and I got my complimentary/sample copy on the 3rd of October, 2011.

Is the book divided into chapters, what are some of them?
Yes, the book is divided into chapters. ‘Lessons I learnt from my mother’ is a 72-page book divided into 9 chapters. Chapters 1 and 2 are a brief introduction and her biography respectively. Chapter 3 is the first lesson which is ‘Always put your family first’. Moving further into the book is the chapter 7 which is about ‘Sex Education – A lesson to be learnt early in life’. I think people should get this book in order to get the best of the book in the other chapters. Readers will surely get the value for their money.

What books have influenced your life the most?
I have come across many books in life. I can remember reading Mills & Boon as a teenager. I can also remember reading Silhouette, Shakespeare books, James Hadley Chase books e.t.c. But the books that have influenced me the most are the books written by Bishop T.D. Jakes(God’s Leading Lady), John C. Maxwell, Late Pastor Bimbo Odukoya, Heartsong Presents (various titles/authors), Jackie Mize (Supernatural Childbirth) and Joyce Meyer.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
If I had to choose, I would go for John C. Maxwell as a mentor because his writings/books are very down to earth and everyone can relate to them very easily. He is not ashamed to mention his flaws and how he has tried to work them out. Also, I have noticed that he makes much effort in learning from other people too, he never sees himself as an island of knowledge. I hope to learn more from him for as long as he’s still in the business of writing.

What books are you reading now?
Presently, I am reading ATTITUDE 101. This is a book written by John C. Maxwell, the American expert on leadership. This is sequel to his books on the topics like Relationship, Leadership, and Success e.t.c and how they influence the way people make it through in life. I hope to read more of the books from Francine Rivers, Myles Munroe and other Christian novelists.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
In a bid to learn more about writing especially from Nigerian authors, I came across Abimbola Nelson (Diary of a desperate Naija woman) in the Laterna bookshop at Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria. The book caught my attention as I briefly went through its pages. Other authors include Myne Whitman and Lara Daniels. These two have grasped my interest because they are females who have carved a niche for themselves in the industry and their works are very good reads.

What did you find particularly challenging when writing this book?
What I found most challenging about this book was making the outline of the whole book. I knew quite alright that I wanted to write a book in memory of my mother but it wasn’t easy arranging the chapters of the book. Also, another thing I found challenging was paying for the publishing package. The conversion rate of the Nigerian naira as opposed to the dollars was another challenge for me because the naira that I had to convert for payment seemed almost of very little value. This did not make me happy about my country’s currency.

Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I do not have any favourite author. I am more interested in many authors than having a favourite one because I believe that there are peculiar things that I can learn from each one of them. For instance, I would go for John C. Maxwell books on topics that relate to motivation and leadership. On books related to relationship and marriage, I would rather go for the books of Dr James Dobson. Wole Oguntokun is a columnist who writes for the Life magazine in the Sunday edition of the Guardian Newspaper – he is also one person I’ll love to meet. It is my belief that since there are many authors that their works strike my interest, then I can say that I do not have a favourite author.

What do you think of the Nigerian publishing industry?
The Nigerian publishing industry is an industry that has evolved over the years. By this I mean that so many things have taken place. Before, there weren’t many publishing companies but now, there are quite a number of indigenous companies. Also, awareness is being raised and seminars are being organised for budding authors by various publishing companies. This was not the case some 10 years ago. I think the industry is also producing more authors now unlike before when there were few authors who could only afford the exorbitant prices of the long established companies. The industry can only get better by the day.

What comments do you have about the reading culture in the country?
The reading culture has experienced a downward turn in Nigeria. It has gone so bad that there are but a few who really appreciate authors, their works and book reading generally. Many concerned bodies, civil societies and organisations have tried to raise the awareness of people towards reading but to no avail. For instance, it is very hard to come across a Nigerian reading newspapers or dailies in the bus/traffic on his way home from work unlike what we have in some foreign countries. Although it is not a strange sight to see men at newspaper stands discussing various topics of national interest, many of them hardly get to buy and take away the newspapers after perusing them at the news stand.
It is another sorry sight when one visits the libraries or book stores. You do not find buyers in the bookstores like you would find in the cloth boutiques or fashion stores. The presence of the internet has made matters worse in the sense that people would prefer to dub (copy and paste) the works of authors online rather than make their own purchases of such books. It is my hope that things will turn around for the better in this generation of ours. Wonders they say shall never end!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to those who buy your book?
I am using this opportunity to tell those who will buy my book that they will get a run for their money. Infact, the monetary value is of little importance compared to the intangible value that they are sure to get by reading the book. I know that a larger percentage of people who will buy my book are closer to their mothers so, this gives them a room to see their mums and what they have done in a new light. By reading this book, those who have not been good mothers will see motherhood as a blessing and will be willing to do things right. Those who have been good mothers will have evidence in the book and be able to use it to convince others. Even young girls can learn a whole lot from the book.
In summary, this book is a treasure that everyone who values motherhood and its attendant blessings must have because loving our parents especially our mothers, is something that is done the world over. Lay hold on this book and you’ll never regret you did!

Do you have an online presence e.g. facebook, blog, twitter or a website?
On facebook, you can get to my page and get more information about me by typing in ‘Kehinde Bamidele’. Or preferably, you can email me at chatwithbammy@yahoo.com. You can also find me on the LinkedIn network as ‘Kehinde Bamidele’. I welcome text messages and calls on my cell phone – +2348068903585.

Where can we buy the book, both in stores and online?
The book ‘Lessons I Learnt from my Mother’ is available on Amazon.com, eBay, Google and on  www.iuniverse.com. Very soon, the book will be available for sale in bookstores. Thank you!

Thank you Bamidele. :)