Welcome to our monthly feature for authors.
The author for the month of February 2022 is Bina Idonije, author of ‘Bridges are for Burning’. I have read and reviewed her book on this blog and you can check out my review (in “Book Reviews) to see if it’s something you may be interested to read.
Today’s interview will give us a sneak-peek into Bina’s life as a published author. I hope you enjoy reading her answers to these ten questions but first let’s begin with an introduction of the author.
So here we go…..
Bina’s earliest memory of writing dates back to the eighties, when she was about six or seven and she wrote a book she titled “Johnny the scalawag” which was written and illustrated by her with pencil, and she stuck its seven or eight pages together with water gum to create a bounded prose work.
Today she is a lawyer by training, whose random interests, when she is not being a legal professional, include drooling over plant species, hosting friends for drinks at her home, and spending meditative time at the beach while listening transcendentally to music from eras past. She resides in the chaotic coastal city of Lagos, Nigeria, with her husband and three children.
‘Bridges are for Burning’ is her debut novel.
Connect with Bina on her social media handles @binaidonije
How did you get started as a writer?
Bina: I started writing from as far back as I can remember, but my clearest memories are from the age of 6 or 7. I had a very active imagination as a child and would regale my younger sister with stories that spilled to my tongue before they finished forming in my brain … I needed more outlets to distill the stories that were incessantly orbiting my young head than my audience of one could contain and that’s how writing became my happy place.
What were the early influences on your writing and how do they manifest in your work?
Bina: My early influences were Enid Blyton; Mills & Boon; and Harold Robbins. I think they manifest in my work in terms of my style of writing… my vocabulary range (with its traces of archaic grammar) is probably rooted in Enid Blyton, and the romance-themed genre in M&B; the somewhat brazen sensual innuendoes in Harold Robbins.
What was the inspiration for your recently published debut novel ‘Bridges are for Burning’?
Bina: I wanted to write a story that explored the “textured” and layered nature of relationships between people – whether that be between, friends, spouses, lovers, siblings or even professional relationships. There’s so much I unpacked with the help of the various characters in my book. Bridges are for burning is fundamentally an introspection of the unspoken elements of human relationships told in prose form.
How has the experience been since your debut was released early this month?
Bina: Exhilarating. The Scripture says “The desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul” … and I can attest to this.
What was the greatest challenge in your writing process and how were you able to write regardless?
Bina: The greatest challenge for me was finding the time to write while working full time on a tasking and demanding day-job with (shocker!) no more than 24 hours in a day at my disposal.
Which do you prefer when you write? – Outline or just write? Pen or type writer or computer? Music or silence?
Bina: Outline AND just write – I do a mix of both. The outline helps to put a strawman in place and “just writing” does the rest of the work for me – often I find myself abandoning the outline as the writing charts a course of its own.
I type on my computer. And I have to write in ABSOLUTE silence, so I often chase my kids away when I am in the zone. Which is why my 10-year-old has begged me not to write another book … a wish which unfortunately I cannot fulfil.
What is the biggest surprise you experienced after becoming a writer?
Bina: Just how many people respond to me and say they have also nursed a dream of writing a book. So many people would love to write but they are burdened by lethargy and procrastinations. I hope by my becoming published I inspire more people to chase their dreams in this regard.
How do you combine your job as a corporate executive, wife, and mother with your writing?
Bina: By compartmentalizing. When I am on my day job, I am there a 100% and the writer in me docks until I am done. As for being a wife, luckily, I have a VERY understanding husband so he understands when I have to put in the work on weekends and afterhours to write. My kids are also very understanding of this (except my last born… because he is a last born) … when I am not writing or working, they know without a shadow of doubt that they have my undivided attention. In summary, I practice being present with whatever I have in hand in the moment – whether I am “wifing”, “momming”, “corporate executiving”, or writing.
What was your favorite and least favorite part of the publishing process of your book?
Bina: Favorite part: hearing readers refer to and relate with the characters that lived amorphously in my head for so long. It’s such a great feeling … it’s akin to a type of birth…bringing those characters to life.
Least favorite part: Having to deal with the part that isn’t artistic… marketing & promotions… alas, they are very necessary.
Do you have anything cooking in the oven we should be looking forward to reading in the near future?
Bina: Yes! I am already on my second book … I’ll give you a hint… someone dies and the reader has to guess who killed them. But typical of me it would be sandwiched in a stack of love, lies, deceit and raunchiness.
I hope you enjoyed reading the author’s responses as much as I did.
If you still have any more questions for Bina, you can fire on in the comments and she will respond to you.
Have a good one and happy new week!
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