Antomyms of a Mirage - Atilola Moronfolu (Guest Author)
Atilola Moronfolu is a fellow blogger, and a writer and editor. She is a Nigerian, born, bred and buttered in Lagos. She studied Computer Engineering at the University of Lagos and just resigned her job as a Consultant in order to grow a career in writing and editing. I had a small interview with her about her first book, Antonyms of a Mirage, and what is the story behind. Enjoy...
Q: Tell us more about your own life, where are you originally from, what's your background?
My name is Atilola, as you already know. I have been able to grow my editing business through blogsville, as there are many upcoming writers looking for editors. I went into editing when I started publishing a neighbourhood magazine two years ago. When I realized that editing was something that made me happy, I then started taking short courses in editing, and developing myself along that line.
Q: When and why did you begin writing? Which is your favorite genre?
I used to write when I was in secondary school, but not fiction. I just used to write my experiences, disappointments, crushes, etc. I used to write them down in form of poetry and prose then, but I never thought I could call that ‘writing’. During my Youth Service, I started blogging. I started writing random stuffs at first, and then all of a sudden, it was like a floodgate of writing gift opened up. I couldn’t believe it. It was like magic. There were so many things I could do, but I never knew writing was one of them. So I exercised my newly discovered gift. The more I wrote, the better I got. I started dabbling into poetry and it even seemed cooler. Now, I write poetry, prose and drama. I don’t have a favourite genre. I don’t have a favourite anything. I just read whatever seems interesting.
Q: Do tell us more about Antonyms of a Mirage.
A: Antonyms of a Mirage is a collection of Drama, Prose and Poetry. It is divided into different personalities, due to the eclectic nature of the articles. It has comedy, tragedy, introspective articles, etc, all in it. It is a book about reality, because every article in it portrays what many people face in real life. In fact, that is one of the reasons it is titled Antonyms of a Mirage.
Q: Due to some personal pieces, do you realize the book could double as a memoir?
Well, I will not completely agree. There are 44 entries in the book. If you look at the Tags section, after the Table of Contents, the ‘It really happened’ tags are just 13 articles, in which some of them are not even my personal story. Out of 44 entries, only six of them are my story, while the rest are pseudo experiences and animation articles. So I don’t think the book can double as a memoir.
Q: I don't want to ask where you got your inspiration from. But why did you decide to share the collection now?
It was never my intention to publish a book, at least not now, and not even a collection. In an attempt not to sound too spiritual or spooky, let me just say it was an inspiration from God, and now was the time for the book to come out.
Q: Why did you decide to include the different genres (poetry, non-fiction and fiction) together rather having separate books for each?
Actually, it was my intention to write separate books for my articles. I wanted to have a book on comedy, another book on tragedy and another book on introspective articles. But sometime last year, I had a vision of this book, and how I was to piece it together. I did not oppose the vision because it was something different and refreshing.
Q: What was your publishing journey like, from writing these pieces to having them published?
Wow! It has been eye-opening. The writing part wasn’t really tasking, as it is a natural part of me. But when I decided to publish them, I had to get them ready for publishing and had to rewrite some pieces, which was quite tasking. Getting the cartoons ready was supposed to be a very easy thing, but ended up being the worst part of publishing the book due to the choice of people I chose to work with. The online awareness has been straightforward and interesting, I guess it is because I already had a strong online presence before the book was published. Also, bloggers have been very very supportive.
The bookshop runs was something else, but I thank God for favour, as the book is now in almost all the major bookstores in Lagos, which is my vicinity. As for those outside Nigeria, I guess amazon is not too far off.
Q: Do you have a specific writing style?
Now, this is a tough one. I don’t think I have a specific writing style, I am not sure though. This is the reason why different sections in my book had to be put under different characters. The truth is if I was not the writer of that book, and they told me that different people wrote those articles, I would have believed.
People that have seen me perform spoken word and watched me at book readings have said that my unique style lies in my humour, and the way I use humour to pass serious messages across.
Q: Do you intend to write more books? Will there be anthologies or like more regular books?
At this point, you must have suspected that I go with specific leadings and directions. I intend to publish more volumes of Antonyms of a Mirage in future. This is because reality never stops. Things will continue happening in life and I will continue writing about them, I just have to write. I wanted to publish a regular novel as my next book, I wrote about two pages and then stopped. This is because I don’t want to embark on a journey without being completely sure about God’s will concerning it and also, I don’t like doing something because everyone is doing it or expects me to do it. Right now, I am working on something else. Like Antonyms of a Mirage, it is also different from what we see in bookstores these days, so I will just keep it under the wraps for now.
Q: What books have most influenced your life most?
Enjoying a book is one thing, influencing my life is another. Let me say books like Talent is not enough, Today Matters, all by John Maxwell.
Q: What books are you reading now?
I am reading The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. It is a prelude to The Lord of the Rings collection. I am still on the first few pages, though
Q: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Do you have a writing mentor?
To answer in reverse… no! I don’t have a writing mentor but I have writers I respect. I love Francine Rivers, because the depth of research she carries out before writing is off the shizzle. I love Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, and John Grisham. I am not sure I have some particular new authors that have grasped my interest. The truth is that I am easily pleased, so I like most things I read.
Q: What are your current projects? Any goals for the next few years?
My current projects are the promotion of my book and getting another book ready. I am also growing my business.
Q: Who has supported you the most outside of family members?
I am someone that doesn’t really whine about support from people. If I want to do something, I will do it, whether I get the support or not. By the time I told my blog followers that I was writing a book, I had already finished the book then, but their encouragement was very refreshing. I really loved the positive comments that kept pouring in on my blog. But when it comes to the core support, one thing I learnt after my book came out is that support comes from where you least expect it.
Q: Was there anything you found particularly challenging while writing Antonyms of a Mirage?
The writing was easy, as it just flowed from the inside of me. The challenging part was when I had divide them into sections. Creating the characters was really challenging for me, but when I got the characters right, it was easy to throw the articles into the sections they belong.
Q: What do you do in addition to writing?
Aahhhh, loads! In fact, that is my nemesis, I do too many things. I edit for writers, I do spoken word and poetry recitals, I run my own business, and I make natural hair products. I thank God I have stopped consulting. At least, I can make space for other things.
Q: Please tell us where we can find you online, and the book for purchase.
I am always available on my blog, atilola.blogspot.com. My twitter handle is @hattylolla and my facebook page is Atilola Writes. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
The kindle version and paperback version of my book can be found on amazon.com. The paperback is also on createspace.com. This is to cater for the international market. For the Nigerian market, the book can be found in these bookshops.
1. Terra Kulture - Plot 1376, Tiamiyu Savage street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
2. Debonairs Bookstore - 294, Herbert Macaulay road, Sabo Yaba, Lagos
3. The Hub Media Store - Beside Genesis Deluxe Cinemas, Palms Shopping Mall, Lekki
4. Ebeano Bookstores - Ebeano Supermarket, Lekki Lagos.
5. Orange Academy - 3b, Adesoye street, Mende, Maryland, Lagos
6. Quintessence - Falomo shopping complex, Ikoyi Lagos
7. Ebeano Bookstores - Ebeano Supermarket, Ikota shopping complex, Ajah, Lagos.
8. Silverbird Lifestyle Media Store- Silverbird Galleria, Ahmadu Bello way, V.I, Lagos
9. Debonairs Online Bookstore