Chinedu Achebe's first book, Blunted on Reality, follows the life of Obi Ifeanyi, a Nigerian born American who is coming of age after the historic election of Barack Obama. As Obi confronts challenges that impact his family, career, and romantic interests, he is forced to examine his past and present choices to define his future. Sound interesting?
Enjoy my interview with him on the journey so far.
When and Why did you begin writing?
I think that I have always thought about writing my whole life. But I didn’t feel like I had a compelling story to tell. It wasn’t until after the presidential election victory of Barack Obama did I start thinking about possibly writing about this moment in history and tying it to some experiences that I have come across in my life. I thought I would do a nonfiction story, but decided that writing a fictional account would allow me to be more creative and expansive of certain situations.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I didn’t feel like that until after writing the third chapter of my book, that is when I realized that I had actually developed a sustainable and interesting storyline.
What books have most influenced your life most?
I would have to say it would be No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe. The storyline of Obi Okonkwo was very intriguing to me on how he tried to balance his traditional roots in modern day 1950s Nigeria.
Chinua Achebe of Things Fall Apart, is one of the most famous writers in the world, are you related to him? Did sharing the same name with him encourage your writing?
I am not related to Chinua Achebe, but I do get asked the question a lot. Ironically, he and my mother are from the same village of Ogidi in Anambra State. I don’t think sharing the same last name as him encouraged my writing. I feel that every author gets his/her inspiration to write from within themselves and everyone is shaped by the times and experiences that are in front of them.
Are there other people that have inspired or supported your writing?
I would say that I have always liked the work of Spike Lee. In my opinion, he always used his movies as a way to inform and entertain his audiences about a particular social or political message he wanted to bring to the forefront. That was a method that I tried to use while writing my book.
- The Writing Life
What are your current projects?
At this time, I am not working on any new projects. I am doing some exploratory planning on writing a second book, but nothing is concrete right now. I know for the foreseeable future, I will be working on promoting and marketing Blunted on Reality.
What do you do and do you see writing as an alternate career or will it remain part time?
I currently am working in the accounting/finance industry. I think for the time being, writing will be something that I will do part time. But who knows what the future will hold for me in regards to my writing.
Can you share a little about your writing routine?
I don’t have a particular set routine in regards to my writing. I usually write some things down to give myself a framework to start from. After that happens, a lot of my ideas just start flowing from my brain to the laptop. I also like to listen to jazz and hip hop to help me mellow out as I write.
Is Blunted on Reality your first novel? Do you intend social and political issues to be a major theme that runs through most of your work?
Yes, this is my first novel. Yes I do. I feel that my writing gives me a platform to discuss these issues while still merging the everyday situations that people go through as well.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I would like to thank them in advance for reading my book. My hope is that everyone appreciates the perspectives of the characters and the topics that they are discussing and overall just enjoy the book.
Where can we find your books to buy?
Amazon and Barnes & Noble