Naija Stories has the Featured writer segment to celebrate our outstanding writers and their posts. Apart from the contest entries and featured series, Topazo’s narrative non-fiction, What do Men Want, got the most views in January so he was selected as the writer to feature for this month. We use the featured interview opportunity to encourage our writer members to continue promoting their works on the site and outside, and they are also rewarded with 10,000 NSpoints. Thank you, Topazo, for answering our usual questions;
Q. When and why did you begin writing?
A. I would say my first year in the university. While in SS3, my school magazine was revived and when i read the articles written by my peers, i thought to myself that i could do it too. You see i was very shy then and wouldn’t think of putting my work out there for people to see. So my earliest writings were safely hidden in a file i created for it. I had a friend then that loved writing too and i shared some of my writings with him and he loved it and encouraged me. My earliest writing were mostly narrative non fiction. Due to academic pressures, there was a lull in my writing although i wrote a few articles that were published. But it was in 2010 after NYSC that i picked it up fully again and made a commitment to always write at least one article/story per month and put it on my facebook page. That was when i started writing fiction and poems too.
Q. Tell us more about you and what inspired What do Men want?
A. I’m a simple guy, shy and reserved but i am coming out of my shell more.
I was inspired to write “what do men want” while taking a stroll. I was thinking about an article i read on facebook some weeks before then, that was addressing females and saying the reason why guys don’t put a ring on their fingers is because they have been performing “wifely” duties while still a girlfriend. It adviced them to stop doing those things and they would get their boyfriends proposing to them in no time. I didn’t quite agree with it when i read it but pushed it aside then. The thought came back and on weighing the two sides and from interactions with several guys i knew it wasnt true. On getting home i scribbled my thoughts down and “what do men want” was birthed.
Q. Do you have a specific writing style?
A. Not really. I write as i’m inspired. Though i have no flair for poetry, i still dabble into it, and i’m not doing too badly(i think).
Q. What books have most influenced your life and or writing, the most?
A. Lots of books have. I will say the bible and books by Ted Dekker have influenced me most. My writing have been influenced mostly by Max Lucado, Francine Rivers, Jeffery Archer and a host of others.
Q. What books are you reading now?
A. Currently reading “Enitan” by Yemisi Moweta, the e-book.
Q. What are your current projects? Any New Year Resolutions for 2013?
A. Well….working on a collection of short stories. Then toying with some new ideas.
New year resolution…hmm…write more and dedicate more time to writing. Hope to get published this year too
Q. Do you have writing as a career or see it as one?
A. In the nearest future yes.
Q. Can you share a little about your writing with us?
A. I write as i am inspired. The inspiration could come from anything: a scene in a movie, a message in church, a thought while in the shower or while taking a walk. I want to influence people positively with my writings. I believe words are the most powerful tools in the world and can be used to mold, build, inspire or to destroy. I want to inspire people, edify and impact positively on their lives.
Q. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
A. A lot. Being disciplined to start and finish a story; i have so many unfinished works that i have no idea what i had in mind at starting. Also, overcoming the inertia to start writing; there are several ideas that have been in my head for years waiting to be put down. Then, research for my ideas is another major challenge. There can be no good writing without adequate research. That is why till date i have limited myself to short stories.
Q. Who is your favorite author? Do you have a writing mentor?
A. Favourite author would be….(thinking) Ken Follet. His “pillars of the earth” is my all time favourite. A close second is Francine Rivers, her book “redeeming love” is one of the books that i have read like three times and still want to read again. Then there is Jeffery Archer, Nora Robert, Iris Johanssen….femi osofisan’s “midnight hotel” is the best drama i have read, i laughed all through. There are a host of others.
Writing mentor…..i would pick Max Lucado and Francine Rivers. The way they bring bible stories and truths alive is something i would like to be able to do.
Q. What do you think of the Nigerian publishing industry?
A. Publishing in Nigeria is under developed and there is a long way to go.
Q. How do you see the role of online publishers including naijastories.com
A. In this era where everything is becoming electronic, online publishing is becoming more relevant and prominent. Naijastories is doing a wonderful job, affording upcoming writers the opportunity to develop themselves and to be showcased.
Q. What comments do you have about the reading culture in the country?
A. Nigerians read contrary to popular belief. Although most people don’t have the culture of keeping a library or having book clubs.
Q.Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
A. Thank you for your support, comments and criticisms, it means a lot.
Answer the following shorts;
Q. Ice cream or chocolate?
A. Ice cream
Q. Football or Basketball?
Q. Ebook or paperbacks?
Q. Salty or sweet?
Q. Beach or mountains?
Q. Phone call or textmessage?
A text message
Q. Early bird or night owl?
A. Night owl
Q. Dog or cat?
Q. Messy or neat?
Q. Heroes or Villains?