Author Interview: Olunosen Louisa Ibhaze “The Aproko Storyteller”

Olunosen Louisa Ibhaze is a Nigerian author who is known for her upbeat and witty storytelling style. Her novel ‘Authentic Mama’ which I read earlier in this year (Follow the link to read my review – https://rovingbookwormng.com/2019/03/18/book-review-authentic-mama-by-olunosen-louisa-ibhaze/) with it’s colorful characters is one that has stayed with me for a while. I have been curious to know more about this author and was elated when she honored my request to have this interview.

Ibhaze has answered 10 questions that gives us an insight into her life as an author/storyteller. I hope you will enjoy reading about her as much as I did.

louisa 2Bio: Olunosen Louisa Ibhaze was born and raised in Nigeria. She holds B.Sc in Sociology and Anthropology from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Anambra State. She has an MSc in Medical Sociology from the Royal Holloway University of London and another MSc in Globalization and Development from the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London. Her writing is influenced by her spirituality, women’s experiences and her passion for her local cultures and tradition. Some of her earlier publications have appeared on the World Pulse Project, Naija Stories and the Voices Project, She enjoys travelling and photography.

1. WHY DO YOU WRITE?
Answer: There are “Aproko” stories that need to be told and if I can’t find such unique stories or genres on the bookshelves in stores, I believe it is my duty to write them! This is why I like to refer to myself as the Aproko story teller. I enjoy writing about the people often overlooked and unapologetically judged , the mistresses, the low-lives, the transactional sex worker, the zobo seller, the money lender and all kinds of interesting characters that are staples in every society.

2. IF YOU DIDN’T WRITE, WHAT OTHER CREATIVE THING WOULD YOU DO?
Answer: Photography
3. HAS PUBLISHING YOUR FIRST BOOK CHANGED YOUR STYLE OF WRITING? IF YES, WHY?
Answer: Yes and No. Yes because it’s helped me understand that the is a niche for the “Aproko Storytelling style” and there are people interested in reading about the realities of the society’s lower crust and No because it’s a style that comes easily to me and that’s my voice.
4. IF YOU COULD SPEND TIME WITH A CHARACTER FROM YOUR BOOK (AUTHENTIC MAMA), WHOM WOULD IT BE?
Answer: Iye Baby of course. She is a kind woman with a good heart who is hilariously imperfect and beautifully flawed.
5. DO YOU TRY TO BE MORE ORIGINAL OR DELIVER TO READERS WHAT THEY WANT?
Answer: Nothing beats originality. I am as “authentic” as we all come and I have long come to terms with the fact some writing styles don’t appeal to all readers and that’s okay. What important to me is that my work finds its way into the hands of the “right” readers.
6. DOES WRITING ENERGISE OR EXHAUST YOU?
Answer: 50/50. Writing is a lonely activity, there are those days I am so full of inspiration and can write for hours and then there are days , I just want to take a break especially when I get stuck with an idea or creating a flow. I am my worst critic when it comes to developing my manuscript, I read it silently and then I read it aloud !

7. WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR ARTISTIC PROCESS?
Answer: Separating my emotions from my writing. When I have a lot on my mind, I feel I am not in my element to write.
8. WHAT ONE THING WILL YOU GIVE UP TO BECOME A BETTER WRITER?
Answer: Procrastination.
9. WHAT ARE THE COMMON TRAPS FOR ASPIRING WRITERS AND WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO THEM?
Answer: The expectation of overnight fame and making money! My advice to aspiring writers is , write from the heart because you love writing and it is a passion. Write what you know about or do proper research because this gives your story authenticity. Also, do not expect to become famous or make money over night. When Authentic Mama officially came out, I thought my biggest supporters would be only my family and friends , but to m surprise I got support from people I didn’t even think of. What is important is having the right support and the right audience. Just trust the process.

10. DO YOU HAVE ANY BOOK COOKING IN THE OVEN FOR YOUR FANS? IF YES, WHEN WILL IT BE PUBLISHED?
Answer: Oh yes I do and It was due last year but I have had an interesting year and just trying to finish up the manuscript now. My publisher has been extremely patient and understanding.

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