When and why did you begin writing?
I think I’ve always enjoyed writing. In school I loved Composition. I started writing very early, but I am not sure at what age. I love telling stories, and I have a very vivid imagination. I entered a writing competition in a children’s magazine called Apollo when I was 8 years old.
Who are your favourite authors of all time?
None that I can name an all time favourite, though there are many I like, admire and whose success I would love to emulate.
Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
So far, I have not put myself in character, but I write about issues close to my heart, issues that I’m knowledgeable about.
What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?
I do not think I`ve had any idea that falls into that category …yet…only time will tell.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Don`t copy anyone, to your own self be true, develop your style, there’s a reading audience for everyone.
What inspires you to write?
Life in general holds so much inspiration, everyday experiences, that is where I get my inspiration
Do you have a specific writing style?
My style has changed through time and life experiences. I guess I’m morphing and maturing, as one grows one changes and improves.
Do you have a major theme that runs through most of your work?
No, but I prefer to write Thriller, Suspense, Drama.
What books have most influenced your life most?
There are a few, I usually do not read a story more than once, but my all time favourite is the Bible, I have read start to finish more than twice.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Easily, I`d say, Jesus Christ is my most important mentor. Let me explain. He was an exquisite storyteller, he weaved tales and the ending of his stories was always unexpected. He was keen that those stories be written down for posterity. And the bible says ‘He is the author and finisher of our faith’, so indeed he was an author.
I adore Jeffery Archer. In a recent interview, Archer said “Storytellers are very rare, but they create a lot of envy”. Apparently he was told this by a famous Cambridge professor .He concluded by saying “The people who survive are storytellers”.
What books are you reading now?
Drawing Conclusions by Donna Leon, Left Neglected by Lisa Genova and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I just bought a collection of Pacesetters but I don’t know if I’ll read them again or just arrange them on the bookshelf and smile.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
She is probably not really new, but Sade Adeniran’s story is admirable. She self-published her first book ‘Imagine This’ and then went on to win the Commonwealth Prize for Best First Novel.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes, I can be difficult to stay faithful to the story because after the 22nd draft and umpteenth proofreading and editing sometimes the substance risks being edited out. I never change the story just to create a cliff-hanger.
Who is currently your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’m glad you qualify favourite with currently, as my influences have changed over the years. When I was a child it was Enid Blyton, then I subscribed to Penguin books and they sent me the entire C.S Lewis books (The Lord of the rings series) and I became captivated, I also discovered the Pacesetters and Achebe, Ekwensi, Anezi-Okoro (but they did not write often or quickly enough for my voracious appetite) then came Shakespeare and Chaucer when I got a bit older. I’ve widened my reading genre and most recently I’m loving P.D.James I like her expressions, her Englishness, her way with words and her inherent story-telling capabilities.
What do you think of the Nigerian publishing industry?
It is still growing, and with time, I believe it will do for Africa what Nollywood has done for the film industry .I’m optimistic.
What comments do you have about the reading culture in the country?
I find it irritating and amusing in equal measure when it is suggested that Nigerians are not leisure readers. Nigerians are voracious readers and are famished for the written word. We need more active libraries and retail outlets and local publishing printing to make reading an affordable pastime.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I am so grateful to those who read and enjoy the stories, especially those who take time to analyse them and give insightful feedback and constructive criticism. They inspire me to be the best I can be, and I am encouraged and spurred on when I read their comments. Thanks guys.