The Pacific Northwest of America is a great place to live in summer but during the drizzling winter rains, I find myself dreaming of long, hot, Nigerian days and the red palm oil of Banga Soup. A self-confessed adrenaline junkie, I love theme park rides and my wildest ride yet would be the Simpsons at Universal studios, Hollywood. Or maybe it was that reverse bungee jump I did in Scotland, hmm...lol.
In addition to writing popular fiction to get people reading, I am passionate about using the internet and social media to promote the book industry and literacy levels in Nigeria. To this end, I facilitated a session, "Social Media and the Book Publishing Industry", for the Publisher's Forum at the 2010 Garden City Literary Festival, Port Harcourt, Nigeria. I'm also the founder and managing editor of Naija Stories, a critique website for aspiring Nigerian writers.
On Books and Writing
Are you a writer for real? Who is a real writer? LOL...well I’ve been writing since I was little. I did sciences all through and still kept on writing. Now it is my 9 – 5 and hopefully more people are reading me now and will be reading in future. I was very fulfilled when I held A Heart to Mend in my hands I can tell you.
What did you study in college? I studied Applied Biology for my first and Public Health Research for Masters. So what am I doing writing? Search me…LOL, the research comes in useful sha.
I always wonder how you manage to sit and write an entire story without throwing your laptop out the window. I have a big issue with over-editing my stuff. It’s both a fault and a blessing. I can't tell a short story unless I’m forced to. So it’s something I enjoy, writing long stories about people in my imagination. Now that I’ve made it my 9-, LOL. I edit a lot while writing so that at the end it’s minimal. Still I appreciate fresh eyes to help me proof and then I force myself to move to the next project. “A heart to Mend” took me about eight months.
Other than writing, what else do you enjoying doing? I watch a lot of TV and movies, listen to music, and chat with friends. I enjoy the outdoors with good weather and a long hike somewhere; beach, wood park, walking and hill climbing. I also love travelling, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures. Of course reading is the easiest and cheapest way of doing this and some of my best days are curled up with a book while it’s rain-drenched outside.
Who is your favourite author? I love various authors and cannot narrow it down. The names that stick are; M&B, Cartland, Rivers, Sheldon, Ludlum, Uris, Grisham, and Critchton. And in Africa; Pacestters, AWS, Nwapa, Emecheta, Ekwensi, and Achebe. Recently I read more by how I like the preview or reviews of a book than who wrote it. However, I always try to buy a Nigerian author each time I shop.
How did you decide to self-publish your book? I sent out the manuscript to about three publishers, but I always knew I might go the self publishing route. I’m not the literary author type that is more acceptable to mainstream publishers and the genre publishers may not be comfortable with the Nigerian setting. However, I wanted people to read my story and hope it leads to bigger things. I also own the rights and if a good offer comes in later, I will accept.
On Living in Seattle
How long have you lived in Seattle? I have lived here for going on a year now.
Is the weather in Seattle really always that nice or are those just good days: Most of the pictures were taken on bright and sunny days some as recent as last week. The weather in Seattle can be very fickle and temperamental. Summer was fantastic, over a month with no rain. Sunny skies but not run-out-screaming hot, except on two or so occasions. Now we’re in fall, it’s dry one minute and wet the next. It rains even when the sun is out. LOL, and it rains almost every other day.
As a writer, does all the art in the city inspire you or you don’t actively think about it: I don’t actively think about it. I love going to museums and art events but more to relax. What inspires my writing about the city is the sense of serenity. There are trees all over the place and beaches when the weather is nicer. These are the things that get my muse in the right mood.
What are the pros and cons of living there? One big pro of course was being able to join SO, LOL. OK, Seattle is a slow paced city which I prefer and the weather is manageable. It’s close to the Canada border and to California so easier to visit these places (I like travelling). The cons are that the weather can get depressing at times. It is three hours behind the rest of the country time-wise and 8hrs behind naija and UK, making it harder to call friends and family. It is also far from the South, Midwest and East coast, and very far from naija with more expensive flights.
THE GARDEN CITY LITERARY FESTIVAL
FANS OF A HEART TO MEND
AT THE KUOW RADIO STUDIOS SEATTLE
AT THE LOS ANGELES BLACK BOOK EXPO
AT THE ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA (RWA) BOOK FAIR, BELLEVUE
AT THE NIGERIA INDEPENDENCE EVENT SEATTLE