What inspires you to write?
Inspiration comes from a variety of sources. Sometimes I’m inspired by a news report. I hear about a scandal or something interesting and then I ask, “What if…?” Sometimes it’s a book that triggers an idea, music, or a conversation. I get inspired too when I’m in a quiet place surrounded by nature.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
Stories, fiction, come to me easily, and I have the riches of words to frame them, to paint pictures, to dig from memories, and connect with someone. I’ve come to terms with my humanity years ago; I know for a fact that there is darkness and there is light. As human beings we make choices and the choices make us. This complexity of humanity is my canvas, I paint pictures with words.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Creatively I’m a bit more flexible. When I started as I writer I tend to stick to the original idea about the flow of the story. After a while, I realized that I could give the characters the freedom to be themselves, hence the story may follow a different trajectory.
What have you written so far?
I’ve written short stories for African Writer, Brittle Paper, Litro, Bella Naija, Kalahari Review, Nantygreens, and Bakwa. I’ve written four novels, namely, Kasali’s Africa, The Stuff of Love Songs, One Week In The Life of A Hypocrite, and The Night My Dead Girlfriend Called.
All the books are available on Amazon and other online stores as eBooks and paperbacks.
Do you work to an outline or plot sketch, or do you prefer to let a general idea guide your writing?
I usually have an outline, but there’s always that readiness in my mind to toss away portions of the sketch when I see that my characters have really come alive and would need the freedom to be their best outside the initial “box”.
How do you feel about indie/alternative vs. traditional publishing?
The Yoruba will say, “The sky is wide enough for every bird to fly without colliding”. Traditional publishers have been the pace-setters over the years, a bit of gatekeeping has helped in creating a culture of quality book production. Now we need room for more diverse stories, hence the need for indie/alternative publishing. Both models have their usefulness. It’s a win-win for readers and writers.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
They should build an audience through creative storytelling, they should connect with the potential readers creatively. It’s not something that can be taught, but there’s always something that makes people look forward to the product of a writer. Aspiring authors should be prepared for rejections, whether from agents and publishers or from readers. It’s good to be willing and ready to learn. It’s golden to be flexible.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
One Week In The Life of A Hypocrite is 7 chapters, presenting a weekday each in the life of the protagonist, Bosun Sanya, who encourages his fiancee to reveal her scandalous secrets in the name of pre-marital accountability while keeping his own dark secrets to himself.
Tell us more about your main character. What inspired you to develop this character?
Bosun Sanya has built a larger-than-life “good man” image on Twitter and in this mega-church where he plays “loyal assistant” to the charismatic Pastor Onyeachonam. I developed Bosun Santa after reading extensively about the likes of Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, and Jim Bakker, the American televangelists of those days. There are many preachers like Bosun Sanya and his principal, Pastor Onyeachonam in Africa, but the law (or lack of it) helps them get away with a lot of things.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
I love the lady, Kiki. She’s beautiful, smart, and talented. She’s a friend and an ex to the protagonist’s fiancee. I just love the fact that I know her and love what she stood for in the story.
Do you listen or talk to your characters?
If your book was made into a movie, who would you cast?
David Oyelowo would be Bosun Sanya, Wunmi Mosaku will be Titi, while Weruche Opia will be Kiki.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
I didn’t want to come across as deliberately trying to paint megachurches as a gathering of moneyed crooks, at the same time I had this burden of truth that will not be diluted.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
The fact that each character in the book is based on a real-life person. The fact that I could shock people with the truth about these hypocrites.
What role does research play in your writing?
Research is very vital. I typically write about what I know very well, but sometimes I would rather not assume, so I verify stuff and get details. Research is important.
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
Not as successful as I would have loved it to be. Please buy One Week In The Life of A Hypocrite and write reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and on your blogs.
What do you like to read in your free time?
If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?
What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?
You are only a writer if you consistently write things worth reading. Also, the page may be blank because you are looking for perfection. Don’t be afraid to start with imperfection. Once you get that confidence to begin a project, you will be amazed by how far you can go.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
A pop star, I guess.