Our Author of the month for July 2020 is the beautiful Adesuwa Ehinome Iluobe.
I recently read Adesuwa’s collection of short stories, ‘The Farm and Other Stories’ and immediately curious about her writing and everything in-between.
Adesuwa Ehinome Iluobe studied law at the University of Abuja from 2004 – 2010. In 2011 she became a member of the Nigerian bar association. She further attended Ahmadu Bello University for her Master of Business Administration – MBA and Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration, General – MBA.
Adesuwa Ehinome Iluobe has a career as a HR personnel and Administrator, and is also a writer and editor who loves fiction and satires. She founded Satayaa Africa, a community that helps writers and readers succeed. You can follow their activities @satayaafrica on Instagram, Facebook and twitter or via their website – satayaa.com. She also recently launched her first book – The Farm. In addition to these, She is a fashion designer, She is constantly birthing new ideas and assisting businesses in strategizing.
Adesuwa was gracious enough to grant this online interview by answering 10 questions about her writing and life as an author.
So here we go….
- WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR COLLECTION OF STORIES – ‘THE FARM AND OTHER STORIES’?
Adesuwa: ‘The Farm and Other Stories’ are stories I had written in response to various competitions that I ended up not winning. They sat in my laptop for some time and I decided to challenge myself and publish them, to test readers’ reactions to my stories and style of writing. So, I did not write any of the stories with the intention to publish them as part of a collection, for instance the Farm was first written as a drama, in response to BBC’s call for scripts. I had to rewrite it into the form it is now when I decided to publish it. ‘The Farm and Other Stories’ will always be the signpost for when I took up the challenge to put myself out there. I remember the famous social media influencer Omojuwa Japheth challenging young Nigerians to do something worthwhile in 78 days (which was about same length of days Bigbrother aired around the time, that was 2017). I took the challenge and had my book launch on the 78th day. I let him know this after the launch and he supported by buying and giving out copies.
- HAVE YOU WRITTEN ANY OTHER BOOKS THAT ARE NOT YET PUBLISHED?
Adesuwa: Yes I have. I have completed my second book and looking to publish it as soon as I get a publisher for it. Its titled ‘When He Comes’ set in Southern Kaduna and was largely inspired by visit to Birnin Gwari (a town that’s largely hit by incessant attacks and killings) a day after an attack in 2017. It’s a story with many themes, with love underlying them all. I avoid talking about it in detail, so I do not give spoilers.
- WHAT IS THE MOST SURPRISING THING YOU DISCOVERED WHILE WRITING?
Adesuwa: It was overwhelming to learn that writing is a journey and that to succeed in it, one needs to focus on her or his ‘why’ to help fend off various forms of doubt in oneself and loss of inspiration that would definitely come. You cannot speed through the process, writing will humble you. Also, surprisingly I learned I enjoy receiving feedbacks on how to be a better writer, as against being defensive.
- IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF GOOD WRITING?
Adesuwa: First would be memorable characters, then great plots and resolutions. As much as we writers want to raise issues and themes, its important that we resolve them too. This in no way means that your readers would like how you resolve them.
- DO YOU VIEW WRITING AS A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE AND IF YES, HOW?
Adesuwa: Yes it is largely a spiritual practice for me, as a satirist, writing is a medium to show intricate sides of life that we do not pay attention to. Those of us into various arts have strong influences, because our attracts people from various backgrounds who will interpret them differently, so it puts some form of responsibility on us. As a Christian, I am also drawn to stories based on the love of God.
- WHAT WAS THE GREATEST CHALLENGE IN YOUR WRITING PROCESS AND HOW WERE YOU ABLE WRITE REGARDLESS?
Adesuwa: Its always daunting to ‘get – into – my – characters’. I always want to feel them and know them intimately, so I can give life them. So, yes characterization is major for me, though I do not see it as challenge but just part of writing.
- DO YOU HIDE ANY SECRETS IN YOUR STORIES THAT ONLY FEW PEOPLE WILL FIND?
Adesuwa: Yes, I do. Its my way of testing the extents to which readers’ connect with my stories and its refreshing when they get found out. It is fascinating to come across different readers with varying thought processes on same subjects.
- HOW DO YOU THINK BEING A WRITER HAS HELPED YOU AS A PERSON?
Adesuwa: I cannot talk about my development as a person and leave writing out. It has always been part of me, I graduated from writing and drawing comics to little pocket – books of stories so we go way back. Writing has helped me stay focused on issues and have a balanced approach to them. It has also sharpened my creative side especially the force of imagination and the belief that nothing is impossible.
- WHAT BOOKS HAVE FORTIFIED YOU AS A WRITER?
Adesuwa: Every book I have read by Francine Rivers has a way of causing deep paradigm shifts. I really wish I could meet her in real life. I read her books to learn writing techniques, for inspiration and enjoyment. Also, I love Jeffrey Archer’s style of writing, he is very good with movement.
- ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON ANYTHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOUR READERS?
Adesuwa: I founded Satayaa Africa in 2017 to help readers and writers succeed. I enjoy helping writers find their voice and style of writing. In 2018 we started a program themed Stories After School Hours (SASH) that aims to teach children in local communities to read and write their stories, because we believe that developmental issues are mostly considered from the view points of adults and authorities. Our studies show that not much consideration is paid to the viewpoints of children, in decision making yet they have very profound insights we keep missing out.
We have published two anthologies authored by children – United Hearts (2020) and Souls of a Kingdom (2019). We are currently working with children in a community called Kapwa in Lugbe Abuja to implement the SASH programme and we are enjoying the journey. We are also working with an organization called Creative Culture to set up mobile libraries in Government secondary schools. To engage with us our pages on Instagram are @satayaafrica and @storiesafterschoolhours, or send a mail to email@example.com
Special thanks to Adesuwa for granting this wonderful interview. I definitely found the responses very inspiring. I hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I did.
Do you have any more questions for the author?
Please ask away in the comment section and she will respond accordingly.
Have a great weekend!