Naija Stories has the Featured writer segment to celebrate our outstanding writers and their posts. The lastest instalment of Howyoudey’s A Naija, an Akata, and a Mother-in-Law Series got the most views in November so he was selected as the writer to feature for December. We use the featured interview opportunity to encourage our member writers to continue promoting their works on the site, and they are also rewarded with 10,000 NSpoints. Howyouudey was gracious enough to answer the following questions.
When and why did you begin writing?
Was slim pickings in college when it came to enjoyable books on the shelf. Had to choose between reading tomato cans for fun, or writing my own story. I chose the latter.
Is there an autobiographical element to the A Naija, an Akata, and a Mother-in-Law Series?
I plead the Fifth. Lol. Seriously, my home life is not as ruckus. Thank God.
Please tell us more about the story?
Some of my close Nigerian pals have friends or spouses that are of other nationalities. Very interesting marriages, I tell you. What with all the racial, marital, romantic, national, and cultural issues embedded in those unions. Compared to years ago, today Nigerians marry each other more for love than group affiliation. Fantastic. But as everyone in these arrangements can attest, there are ups and downs, and surviving the downs result, most of the time, in stronger unions and better human beings. I’m using this story to explore some of the issues in these unions. I’m hoping that Sunday, Kim, and Mrs. Afia (main characters in the story), and even I, learn from their struggles.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I like to get out of the way and allow the characters in my stories to tell the tale. Sometimes this style puts a bit of a burden on the reader to go hunt for more information. This can be good and bad. Good if you don’t like being told stuff; bad if you’re of “the more information the better” mindset. However, I’ve picked up a few things from my time here at Naijastories.com. I’ve learned that sometimes it doesn’t hurt to allow some authorial discretion through exposition.
What books have most influenced your life and or writing, the most?
The Bible, as far as how I live my life. Elmore Leonard has some influence on my writing. I learned from his writing that it’s okay to be authentic.
What books are you reading now?
AfroSF (the first African science fiction compilation) an e-book edited by Ivor Hartmann. I contributed a story to this anthology.
What are your current projects? Any New Year Resolutions for 2013?
Put more stories down on paper or computer. Cut down on the excuses.
Do you have writing as a career or see it as one?
If I can get off my lazy butt and put more pen to paper, I think I can make a career out of this.
Can you share a little about your writing with us?
I write ceaselessly – in my head, that is. The problem is putting it down on paper or computer. I usually pick an issue or a topic I’d like to tackle, pick characters that might drive the story, and then let it rip. This is the fun part because I never know how it would end. When the parameters of the story are established, then I put it down on paper. Sorry, I have to do the paper and pen thing first, or it’s a struggle.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding the time to write.
Who is your favorite author? Do you have a writing mentor?
I don’t have a favorite author, per se. But I enjoy reading Elmore Leonard and the usual suspects at NaijaStories.com – Oluwafunminiyi, Kelechi, TO, Afronuts, Chemo, Sueddi, the 3 Musketeers (una don due o. Raymond, wey your story?), Bubblinna, Berry Feistypen (whatever happened to her?), etc.
What do you think of the Nigerian publishing industry?
It’s finally showing signs of life, but they’re still copy, copy – like the publishing industry in the West, it’s elitist in its thinking – the bottom line or bust. I don’t blame them, though. No profit, no business. But NaijaStories.com has shown that you can innovate and still thrive.
A little support from the Nigerian government would help. Someday a Nigerian leader would emerge who gets it. She would promote the notion that a country gets more bang for its buck by promoting the country through the arts, than through fraudulent schemes like “rebranding” or any of its orphaned cousins the government had promoted in the past. For example, Nollywood has done more to introduce Nigeria to the outside world (okay we can argue quality later) in a few short years than fifty years of Embassy p.r. bullshit.
How do you see the role of online publishers including naijastories.com
When the history of the revival of the writing business in Nigeria is written, naijastories.com, if the historian is honest, will take up a chunk of that write-up. The first time I stumbled upon the site, I couldn’t believe it. It was, and still is, the most interesting interactive site on the Web. Period. And a good chunk of the kudos goes to Myne, the founder. Maybe she should run for the Nigerian Presidency, abi?
Naijastories.com brings democracy to the writing business. It brings to fore hidden talents in the country and around the world who just need a little encouragement and support.
What comments do you have about the reading culture in the country?
Nigerians like to read. Just check out this site. You just have to give them stories they can relate to. People used to say that Nigerians don’t like to watch movies, until Nollywood blew that fallacy into smithereens. If reading is seriously promoted in Nigeria, with the government’s backing, I think that the reading culture will go a long way. But the promotion must be DIFFERENT. Hire young folks to do the promoting. The pay-off is that they will do it differently and more effectively, and they may not steal the money. A country’s citizenry must read or it will die a slow death.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers
Thank you for supporting me.
Answer the following;
Ice cream or chocolate?
Ice cream. Butter Pecan.
Football or Basketball?
American football? Yes. Go Falcons!
Soccer (as it’s called in America?) Yes. Eagles.
Ebook or paperbacks?
Salty or sweet?
Beach or mountains?
Phone call or textmessage?
Early bird or night owl?
Pikin go make u be night owl, trust me.
Dog or cat?
Messy or neat?
Heroes or Villains?