Naija Stories has the Featured writer segment to celebrate our outstanding writers and their posts. Last month, Efadel wrote in defence of Oga at the Top, and that post got the most views – over 500, one of the few non-fiction pieces to do that. She is now 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. Check out Efadel’s portfolio, and her answers our usual questions below;
When and why did you begin writing?
I do not know exactly when I started writing or even reading. I have been crafting stories and arguing ideas for as long as I can remember. I am sure my early exposure to reading caused this. Writing was my own domain. It was therapeutic as well as a sanctuary for me. As I grew older, I paid better attention to my writing, and in the early 2000s, I became bold enough to share my writings more publicly.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Do I know the answer to this question? (Laughs) I know that some people comment on my use of accessible diction, and extensive comparisons. There is also a sense that my works border on being didactic. I think I am still finding my niche. I am still a learner!
What books have most influenced your life and/or writing the most?
The Bible, William Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets, books from the African Writers Series (especially the works of Ngugi wa Thiong’o – I started with Weep Not Child), Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Karen Kingsbury’s On Every Side, Francine Rivers books, Max Lucado’s books, Benny Hinn’s books, and Niyi Osundare’s poems. These books/authors informed my ideology and influenced most of my values.
What books are you reading now?
Currently, I am reading some books on Communication Theories, Walter Ong’s From Orality to Literacy (I am working on my M.Sc. dissertation), John Grisham’s King of Tort and Teju Cole’s Every Day is for the Thief. My reading taste is very eclectic though.
What are your current projects?
As I already mentioned, I am working on my M.Sc. dissertation. I am also taking nine other Masters courses and preparing for examinations for the term. The M.Sc. is the major project for now. Besides that though, I am working on a collection of poems, side by side an e-zine for young people. There are other writing projects too that will unfold as time goes by. Of course, I am thinking of how to make money too.
Do you have writing as a career or see it as one?
For now, writing is more of a hobby (I am yet to make money out of it), although, I aspire to make a career out of it in the near future.
Can you share a little about your writing with us?
For me, writing is how I communicate best. I think I pray better when I write my side of my conversation with God. I desire to inspire love and transformation through my writing. Often, an experience or feeling ignites the spark, and I write to purge myself. Other times, I identify a problem, question, hypothetical situation, experience, or idea that I think would make for a good piece, and even if there is no initial inspiration, I keep the idea somewhere in my head and ruminate on it; often, the spark comes after a nap or early evening’s sleep, and when I put pen to paper, or touch my keyboard, the words flow. There are times too, when I write to recreate my perspective or version of reality and the ideal. I have written some short stories, essays and poems. I have some drama ideas, and I am also working on two full length novels. Sometimes, I work on multiple projects, so when I am not in the mood for one, I can work on the other. I write to live. When I do not write, I fear that I will explode. You said “share a little” and I have said a lot (laughs). I just have to write.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Oh yes! TIME! I wish I had extra hours daily so I could attend to office and school work, and still have extra 12 hours to share between sleep and writing. As it is, I often steal “sleep time” or “hang-out time” to write. Another challenge for me has been the loss of some manuscripts and typescripts; I have learned the modern art of multiple back-ups the hard way.
Who is your favourite author?
My taste is eclectic. Asking me about my favourite author is just like asking a mother of many to choose a favourite child. In no particular order, add J.P. Clark, Sefi Atta, Jerry B. Jenkins, Fern Michaels, Amy Tan, Barbara Delinsky, Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robbs, John Maxwell, Joyce Meyer, and Stephen Covey to the authors I already mentioned. There are some authors that I have read once, and I would love to read again, for example, Sandra Kring, after reading Thank You for All Things; Paulo Coelho, after reading The Zahir.
Do you have a writing mentor?
Yes. I have a few guides. I am not walking alone (laughs).
What do you think of the Nigerian publishing industry?
I think it is frustrating. There is a lot of writing, but most works are self-published and mediocre. A professional editor would have been able to transform some of these works. Publishers do not promote their authors, yet they complain of profit. I think there is something wrong with the business model. I must commend the likes of Farafina and Cassava Republic, though. The publishing industry needs to be reinvented and proactive.
How do you see the role of online publishers including naijastories.com?
@ naijastories.com,* mwah*. Thank you for this interesting and engaging platform. The internet has changed the world as we knew it, and it has come to stay, no doubt. Online publishers are revolutionizing the publishing industry. This industry is an example of creativity and innovation. Even though I do not want E-books to completely replace traditional books, I cannot deny their efficiency and effectiveness. But there is the place of self-regulation, which this industry is prone to neglect. Everything is not “publishable”. Leave junk in the trash bin, where it belongs. There is also the sacrosanct place of the professional editor, even in this domain, which should not be undermined.
What comments do you have about the reading culture in the country?
It is not unusual to hear that Nigerians do not read, but I think that perspective is grossly exaggerated. More literate Nigerians read than are acknowledged. Maybe they do not read novels, but they what they are interested in. Some read sports magazines, some read fashion, and some read on FOREX (laughs). Someone is reading this interview. But there is still a substantial population that does not value reading, and it is telling on the state of our nation. People who had not read Achebe’s There Was a Country criticized it publicly! To me, that was sacrilegious. Reading should be ingrained in the educational system from nursery level. There should be competitions and incentives to promote reading at all levels. Maybe that will help the situation. Readers are thinkers, and thinkers solve problems. Besides, maybe if we read more, we will understand the human nature more, and we will learn how to be more tolerant. Maybe we will also learn to stop repeating the mistakes in history.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for making me this month’s featured writer. If you did not read, I would not have come close to being chosen. Writers are nothing without readers, and as a budding writer, I am grateful to all the readers on Naija Stories, who make writing fulfilling. Thank you. *Mwah* Readers, don’t stop being critical. Don’t accept trash, obscenity, profanity or sexism, not only here on the platform provided by Naija Stories, but generally. By the grace of God, I will unveil some of my writing projects soon. Please, be there for me when I call. I am EFADEL!
Answer the following:
Q. Ice cream or chocolate?
Q. Football or basketball?
Q. Ebook or paperbacks?
Q. Salty or sweet?
Q. Beach or mountains?
Q. Phone call or text message?
Q. Early bird or night owl?
A. Night owl
Q. Dog or cat?
Q. Messy or neat?
A. Somewhere in-between
Q. Heroes or Villains?