Our Featured Writer for the month of October is Marya Kudos. Her story, ‘Corporate Affairs series’ topped the Best of the Month board with the highest comments and views in the month of September. Let us not also forget the “Out of the Blue” series which has also been thrilling us for a while. To read more of her stories click HERE. Enjoy the interview below.

First of all I’d like to thank you for allowing me to be part of such a wonderful ”family” of writers. From day one I felt very much at home and part of something really special! And now to answer your questions:

I’m a qualified lawyer, and I studied Fine Arts as well, but writing has always been my one great passion. I always loved reading as a child and this in turn motivated me to write stuff of my own, usually close reproductions of my favourite stories – but in time I developed the ability to be original, thank goodness!

My inspiration for my writing comes from within, strangely enough! I used to write books mainly for my own reading pleasure; I created stories I would like to sit in a corner and personally enjoy like it was some grand best-seller. It used to freak my friends out because they couldn’t understand it! They’d say, but you wrote that! That’s just me, I guess. To be honest though, I recall how my classmates were always making a queue to read what ever story I was working on and this helped to greatly improve my writing because I always got instant feedback.

I think it wouldn’t be kind to say to a writer, ”you have a specific writing style”, so I won’t like to say I have! I do know though that I tend to consider the human angle in what ever I write; it doesn’t have to be pure reality and neither does it have to be a perfect fantasy: let it simply put me and my reader in a nice, happy place, and my work is done!

The genre in which I am most comfortable is romance, and it is a theme that does run through all of my work, not just most! I am widely read and I enjoy all kinds of books, but when it comes to writing I stick to what I know! The whole idea of love and how it happens between two people has always been a favourite subject matter of mine; and if I were to write a thriller or a detective story it would have to be tinged with some kind of romance because I can’t imagine a decent book without it!

I have read more books than I can remember, and wouldn’t like to say which in particular influenced me, though I enjoy reading all the great English classics and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte made a fantastic impression on me (I’ve read it at least four times!). Other writers I keep in my library are Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. I find more comfort in these books than most of the modern novelists, which I hope isn’t too lame of me! I do read the odd Grisham or what ever is fashionable to be reading at the time(even more lame, however I do always want to know what all the fuss is about).

I always, always wished I could write a true African classic, and have the utmost respect and admiration for Cyprian Ekwensi who wrote ”An African Night’s Entertainment”, and also for Chinua Achebe, Mabel Segun and Wole Soyinka. And so if I had to choose, I would consider any one of the above a worthy mentor, and would gladly sit and learn at their feet!

To be honest I am reading several books at the moment, and pick up which ever I consider suits my mood. In which case I am partly reading the unabridged version of The Arabian Nights, as well as Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I am also making serious headway with The Girl trilogy (Stieg Larsson) so you can imagine I’ve got my plate full!

As I mentioned earlier, for the now I am more interested in catching up on the classics, and so I can not honestly make any choices when it come to new authors, but from what I’ve read from Chimamanda Adichie I feel she has a lot to offer the writing/reading world.

It’s very challenging as a writer to find new and moving reasons to put pen to paper, or hand to keyboard. There was a time that I would glimpse some guy in the street or in my lecture hall, and his very demeanour would inspire the hero for my next book! I could build a whole story around an eye-catching individual and I always enjoyed watching people and wondering what character I could portray them in.

I hope this doesn’t sound so unbearably vain of me, but I am my favourite author! I still enjoy reading my own books more than any other, which is why I usually go to such pains to make them readable! I don’t do short stories and most of my work is in the range of hundreds of pages, so I just put my feet up and enjoy when ever I get the chance.

The Nigerian publishing industry is one huge untapped gold mine, and it’s a shame really. Nigeria has the largest pool of talented writers in the world in my opinion, and in the right hands, the publishing industry would boom. However the general economic atmosphere in the country is not helping writers get the outlets to publish that they deserve. I have read such fantastic stuff from other writers on this site and elsewhere; some are students or working at their nine-to-five’s, but have tons of unpublished work that would earn the writer a lot of money if it were to see print.

The reading culture in Nigeria has changed, of course, along with every thing else. In the good old days of Pacesetters we had a lot to keep us hooked. However I do have to say that the kids lucky enough to be brought up in affluent homes do have a healthy interest in reading, thanks to quality education, but it’s heartbreaking that the less privileged children do not have the luxury of cultivating such a pleasurable past time.

I would say I am already an “author”, as I have been published several times, how ever I am working on writing a book that would, to me, be worth its weight in printer’s ink, and only then would I truly claim that revered accolade of “author”.

In my free time (which is growing less and less every day), I enjoy listening to music and dancing my feet off; it relaxes me! Also, I make paintings or do the odd Sudoku puzzle.

To my readers, all I can say is thank you, because I simply can not stop being surprised that any one likes what I write except me! To think that what I started out writing for my own personal, selfish pleasure, can be of interest to others, makes me quite humble and glad.

Myne Whitman

I am a Nigerian writer, poet and blogger. My debut novel A Heart to Mend was self-published in 2009. I now have two books in print and work to use new and social media to promote aspiring writers, Nigerian books and reading. Myne Whitman is a name I coined myself while still in secondary school and is a play on the transliterated words of my maiden name. After a postgrad degree and a few years in Edinburgh, Scotland, I now live in the United States with my husband.

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