Author Interview: Edify Yakusak Author Of “The Curse Of Happiness”

I recently read “The Curse Of Happiness” by the author and I immediately fell in love with her story telling skills and writing style (check out my review on this book by clicking on “Book Reviews” on the Homepage Menu). I became curious as usual about the author and her inspiration for her book so I contacted her to request for an online interview. I was lucky enough to get through to her and was thrilled when she accepted my request to this interview.

EDIFY 2Edify Yakusak is a Lawyer. She is Bajju from Southern Kaduna, Kaduna State, Nigeria. She spends most of her time writing stories and screenplays. Her first book. After They Left, was adjudged as one on the top 10 fiction books in 2016 by the Channels Book Club.

 

Edify Yakusak has given us some insight into her life as a writer by answering 10 questions.

1. What were the early influences on your writing and how do they manifest in your work.

Edify: I grew up reading books from my Dad’s library: The Left Behind series, Frank Peretti and a whole lot of Christian fiction. I also had elder relatives who had a lot of romance and thriller novels. An author who I believe has influenced my writing was Jackie Collins. I thought her books were bold, fierce and unapologetic, it made me want write stories that were unafraid and unashamed.

2. What is the biggest surprise you experienced after becoming a writer?

Edify: I don’t know if this is a surprise or even a big one at that but there’s still a bias against African writers by Nigerians. Often, I’ve heard someone say, “I don’t like Nigerian books.” Then I’d ask, “Which one have you read recently?” And they won’t be able to answer, or they’d say “I only like the old ones written by the likes of Cyprian Ekwensi, Chinua Achebe or those published under African Writer Series.”

3. What tactics do you have when writing? (For example: outline or just write)

Edify: I always write an outline for everything I write. I hardly ever write as it comes. Before I write every story I brood over it. I get a lot of story ideas, but the ones I put to paper are the ones that refuse to leave my head. So I write an outline, then write the entire story on paper, before I type it on the computer.

4.  Which do you prefer? Pen or type writer or computer? Music or silence?

Edify: Pen then computer. What I listen too depends on what I am writing. Music sometimes acts like some sort of score that hangs over my thoughts and writing. When I’m writing a really sad scene, I listen to some sad core and it helps my process.

5. What books have fortified you as a writer?

Edify: The Joys of Motherhood by  Buchi Emecheta, Waiting for an Angel by Helon Habila. Books I read authored by Jackie Collins

6. What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in another genre?

Edify: I try not to categorize my books or my writing. I mean others can do it, but I don’t. I feel like if I do that, I’d put myself in a box. I want to write different stories that cut across all genres. I want to be guided by the story and stay true to it and not be restricted by writing within a genre.

7.  Have you written any other books that are not published?

Edify: Yes. Still don’t know what I am going to do with them. Lol

8. What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

Edify: Sometime in 2017, an older family friend, who worked with an NGO in Maiduguri who had read my first book, “After They Left” told me she met a woman that who dug her husband’s grave with her bare hands and buried him after he had been killed by Boko Haram, similar to what a character in my book had done. I think about that a lot.

9. Do consider yourself to be a successful writer? If so, why? If not, what would make you successful?

Edify: Yes. A while back, just before the release of my first book, I was anxious about how well I’ve done and if the book will be well received. Most times writers measure their success or otherwise based on two things: the number of copies sold and whether people have nice things to say about the book or not.

I didn’t want that to be my yardstick for measuring literary success. Selling a ton of books is great, but it’s much more than having a good book, there are other factors to consider like; location, marketing, distributing structures, financial situations and a whole lot. Especially in Nigeria where the literary infrastructure is still developing.  I also realized writing is a solitary vocation, and since it is bringing something out of nothing, or creating or transforming something that wasn’t there, there is that propensity to see every critique or take on your writing as an attack on the writer. I thought this was unhealthy. I needed to be able hear/read things people say about my work and not consider them as an attack on my person or creativity.

So I sat down and wrote what  a writer would look like to me and for me it is; the amount of time and discipline I have dedicated to my writing, it is whether I have done my very possible best for the story with what was available to me at that time, it is whether I stay true to the stories and characters, it is whether I have stayed true to myself. I have done all these so yes again, I am a successful writer.

10. Tell us something about yourself not many people know about?

Edify: Emmmm. I’m a good dancer?

Thank you Edify Yakusak for granting this interview.

I wish you the best in your journey as a writer and story teller.

Book Review: The Voyage Of Saints by Marvin Abe

*I received a copy of “The Voyage of Saints” from Masobe Books in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed reading this book especially when I got to know that it was based on a true story. It was always a welcome distraction to look forward to after a busy day. “The Voyage Of Saints” is well paced, engaging and many times It felt like I was watching a combination of a thriller and a romantic movie. This page turner turned out to be a heart wrenching emotional roller coaster ride and I loved every moment of it.

Michael has big dreams to sail on a big ship and travel the world. Despite all the road blocks thrown his way, he still finds himself on the path to be a sailor with his eyes on the ultimate prize to be Captain of a ship some day. It is on this journey fate brings beautiful Lami his way. Their love is one that is hard to believe still exists but yet believable as they go through life’s difficulties and challenges especially from external forces. Lami becomes Michael’s pillar and strength, she literally maps out how he would navigate towards achieving his goals and she ensures that he gets to the peak even at her own detriment. Michael on the other hand, is enchanted by her love for him and would do everything to please her so he marries her despite his family’s objections and it seems like this is happily ever after but as they say, even good things come to an end and life happens to this inseparable duo.

I found the characters in this book well developed and authentic especially the two main characters. My favorite character was Lami. I found her lovely, strong and selfless. Her love for Michael one of a kind and her optimism infectious. I had to pause many times and wonder on how large a heart she had and the length she was willing to go for the love of her life. She was really a saint. I also admired Michael’s zeal and tenacity although his stubbornness sometimes infuriated me.

I enjoyed the way the story built up from the beginning with its little twists and the plot was well thought out. I particularly loved the part of the book that just had letters Lami and Michael wrote each other at the times they were apart. It was quite romantic and expressive of their love and commitment to their marriage and dreams for each other. One key lesson I have learnt from this story is that we have no control of what the future will throw at us. We can have the best plans, dreams and aspirations, we can work hard to achieve them, but we can never know what the future has in store for us. Therefore, we can only pray for God’s will in our lives and trust him totally, believing that He only gives us what is best for us even when we may not understand our circumstances.

I didn’t like the parts of the story where they visited native doctors and seers. Even if this did not affect the story or plot, I was frustrated at the characters as they went from one herbalist to another and I got tired of the cycle of events. Unfortunately it was their reality at the time and it seemed like they had no choice.

Overall, it was an interesting read and I wish I got a happy ending but it is what it is. I recommend it to everyone but I advise you to hold your tissue close.

Rating: 4 Stars

Expected Publication Date: December 14th, 2019 by Masobe Books

Pages: 334

Genre: Fiction (Historical)

Purchase @ www.masobebooks.com

The Author: Marvin Abe is an experienced Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the Maritime and Oil and Gas industries, which has earned him wide industry acclaim and recognition in the areas he has served. He has an MBA in shipping and logistics from Middlesex University, London, UK and a post graduate diploma in Maritime Operations and Management from City University, London, UK. The Voyage Of Saints is his first book.

Author Interview: In Conversation With Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

BBTBTAdaobi Tricia Nwaubani , an award winning author, Journalist and essayist launched her debut Young adult novel “Buried Beneath The Baobab Tree” on Sunday, 17th November, 2019 at Café One by Sterling. This event was made possible by  Café One by Sterling in partnership with Masobe Books who are the publishers of the Nigerian Edition of this book. I was honored to moderate the event and having read and reviewed this book, I was excited to be in conversation with the author as I was armed with so many questions to ask.

The event was well attended by the book community in Lagos and it was a very enlightening session as the author threw more light on her work as a journalist where she had spent time in North Eastern Nigeria covering stories on the Boko Haram Terrorist attacks.

Here are some of the highlights of the event and responses to some questions that the author was asked.

adaobi 2Question: Tell us the amount of research that went into writing this book.

Tricia: There was no need for a research. The story in this book was based on my work as a journalist. I was in Chibok two weeks after the Chibok girls were abducted and made numerous trips to Chibok and other places in the north east covering this story which entailed interviewing dozens of girls and their families. My book is journalism masquerading as fiction.

Question: Why did you choose to make your protagonist nameless in your story?

Tricia: There was so much focus on the abduction of the Chibok girls and understandably so because of the international focus on these girls. However, the Chibok girls are just a fraction of the girls that have been abducted by Boko Haram. There were girls who had been abducted before the Chibok girls kidnap and others after them. We are talking about thousands and thousands of human beings so I couldn’t base my story on the Chibok girls alone. I couldn’t honestly write a story and ignore all the other girls. I wanted to represent all the people who were abducted by Boko Haram and that was why I made my main character nameless. She represents the Chibok girls and all the other girls who were abducted by Boko Haram.

Question: What was the experience like writing this book compared to writing your first book, “I Do Not Come To You By Chance”.

Tricia: They are completely different. While writing my first book, I had a lot of fun as I set out to write a humorous story. I found my characters quite funny and laughed a lot while writing it but with this book it was almost the opposite. I cried while writing some parts especially towards the end of the book.

Question: Knowing that this has been a controversial topic of some sort, have you received any critisims on this book?

Tricia: Yes but mostly my articles on the subject. I have written about women and girls who have voluntarily returned to their captors and that has been criticized because most people only want to see the abducted girls in a certain light. They want the girls to be seen as people who are suffering and traumatized because if they are seen otherwise, it may affect funding from international NGOs or donors who are committed to helping these girls. However, journalism has to represent reality which is what I have done. I have also been criticized about writing stories on some of the Boko Haram captors who claimed they were never raped by the Boko Haram since they were married to them before they engaged in any sexual activity and to them this doesn’t qualify as rape. However, most people insist it is rape as majority of these girls were underaged when they were abducted but the reality is the “victims” don’t believe that they were raped. This does not mean that some girls were not raped by their captors.

Question: You are the first contemporary African writer to launch a global career while fully domiciled in your home country. How did you do it and what advice can you give young aspiring writers?

Tricia: I followed the process. I researched on how to get published internationally and most of this information I found on google. I guess because I was determined to have an international career it drove me to learn about all the necessary steps to take like getting an agent and others. However, things don’t happen in a day so it’s takes time. This is the same with my career as a journalist, 99% of the people I write for I haven’t met them. You need to be determined and consistent, find out what kind of stories people want and pitch those stories. You may get some nos’ but if you are consistent the “yes” will come.

Question: What do you prefer to write? Fiction or Non Fiction

Tricia: Non Fiction

Adaobi 3There were also questions from the audience and the event ended with a book signing by the author.

I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and hope that it is a first of many to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Benefits of Reading Fiction: 5 Facts You should Know

I have always been an advocate of reading fiction whether you are young or old. It has always been a pleasurable pastime and a means to escape the real world since I was a young child. I have also learnt so much about people, places, personalities, food, etc. from reading fiction which has made learning easier and more enjoyable.

A lot of people see reading fiction as a waste of time and this stems from the notion that there are no benefits when you read fiction. They have been raised to see reading from an academic point of view where you are rewarded for reading. This is why you find most adults reading more non-fiction titles as they expect to learn one new concept or the other from them and don’t feel they would get the same rewards from reading fiction.

Unknown to most, fiction has quite a number of benefits that may even outweigh reading non-fiction and academic books. Research has shown that reading fiction plays an important role in our lives and wellbeing and here are 5 facts that may change your mind.

 

  1. Mental Stimulation : Reading fiction is a work out for your brain. Science tells us that it exercises your brain and improves your memory. It has been said to help reduce the risk of dementia and depression. It helps focus your energy, improves your concentration and sharpens your analytical skills. Reading fiction also plays an important role in building brain networks in children that will serve long term as they transition from speaking to reading. Children whose parents often read to them at home showed significantly greater activation of the brain’s left hemisphere. The left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for speech and the integration of sound with visual imagination and the development of this is key in children.

 

2. Empathy and Emotional Intelligence: Reading fiction allows you to feel and live another person’s life, therefore it increases your empathy and your ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes. Research has shown that people who read fiction performed better on tests measuring empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence. These are skills that come handy when you are trying to read someone’s body language or gauge what they might be thinking. This has been attributed to the fact that literary fiction often leaves more to the imagination, encouraging readers to make inferences about characters and be sensitive to emotional nuance and complexity.

 

3. Reduce Stress:

reading for stress reduction

 

4.  Expands Knowledge and Vocabulary: Fiction expands your mind and vocabulary as it enlightens, educates, entertains and inspires you on new things, people, places, cultures, ideologies and belief systems. You will usually encounter unfamiliar words which will cause you to stop and find out what it means which adds a new word to your vocabulary. The most interesting part of this is that it make learning enjoyable as it does not come with the pressures that academic learning brings. Reading also improves your writing skills as most good writers are usually voracious readers of fiction. Reading fiction will also help to improve your conversational skills as you will encounter a lot of this in fictional stories.

 

5. Pleasure: A Survey of 1,500 adults in the UK revealed that 76% of them said that reading fiction improves their lives and helps to make them feel good. This is the foremost reason why I read. It relaxes me and helps me escape from what is going on around me. This helps me to be calm and happy.

I encourage both young and old people alike to inculcate the habit of reading fiction and have the pleasure of all the benefits that it brings. My advise for those who are new to reading fiction will be:

  1. Start small by reading for about 10 minutes a day and increase as time goes on.
  2. Try audio books if you have been used to passing time on social media or games on your phone.
  3. Join a book club to where you will have people to encourage you.
  4. Borrow books from a library so you don’t spend too much money in purchasing books.
  5. Read book reviews and recommendations on book blogs and websites to have an idea of what may interest you.

I hope this will encourage you all to read more fiction titles in the future.Good luck!

Book Review: The Curse Of Happiness by Edify Yakusak

“I can’t believe I have lived my life for thirty years distracted by arrogant thoughts, subdued by things that do not matter, so much so that my existential dread has had to be activated by a maniac kidnapping me and feeding me fat. I think of all the times I was happy and profound guilt portends over me. I can’t believe I was so peaceful, calm and had the nerve to ask You for silly things. Just last week, I was thinking about how I needed to change my car. See how disgustingly happy I was. Look at me now…….Look at me now……” – Edify Yakusak in The Curse of Happiness

This book is surely a box full of pleasant surprises. I must confess the cover doesn’t do it justice and based on that I had mentally relegated it to the back of the long queue of books on my TBR but by a stroke of luck I picked it up and I was hooked.

“The Curse Of Happiness” is a collection of  8 short stories which mostly depict the ‘dark’ side of things when ordinary people are faced with challenging circumstances.

From the first story, “Baby, Blue, Joy”  which is about a woman who has been waiting for years to have a baby and after she is blessed with her bundle of joy, struggles with postpartum depression, to the last one, “What Is Mine, Is Yours” where a man who mostly works offshore, graciously allows his cousin who has accommodation issues to live in his house especially when he is hardly around. He returns home to find that he is a stranger and a suspected burglar in his own home. The author cleverly tells these realistic but unsettling tales about how and where everyday people tend to find themselves (physically, mentally and socially) when faced with trauma, illness, pain, fear and fate. I would describe her writing as vivid, shocking but fluid and I am already a fan.

My favorites are “Baby, Blue, Joy”, “A Little Kindness” , “Spinning In Circles”, “A Cold Star” and “What Is Mine , Is Yours”. All the stories are dark and in some cases quite scary to me. Naturally, it should be hard for me to say that I loved them but I did. I was pulled into this whirlwind of emotions that I can not fully explain, keeping me at the edge of my bed and making me let out screams that made my husband give concerned looks in my direction. My heart broke many times but I still had the nerve to continue reading on until I got to the last page.

My least favorite was “The Visitation” because I couldn’t really relate to the story. However, it was still a good read.

As a mother, I was particularly moved by the first story which is about a woman with postpartum depression and the fact that in our society, people don’t recognize or acknowledge that most new mothers go through this phase. I am glad that the author has written about this (although this was extreme in my opinion) and can only hope that this would trigger conversations in this respect.

I loved this book. It was a good read and a quick one too. I love the author’s imagination and her portrayal of emotions and events. They all seemed so real and personal therefore,  I highly recommend it to everyone but be prepared to hold your breath most of the way.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Published: 2019 by Kurdan Publishing

Pages: 174

Genre: Short Story Collection

Purchase from @rovingheights @thebookdealerng and @thebookmarket_ng on Instagram or Twitter

The Author: Edify Yakusak is a Lawyer. She is Bajju from Southern Kaduna, Kaduna State, Nigeria. She spends most of her time writing stories and screenplays. Her first book. After They Left, was adjudged as one on the top 10 fiction books in 2016 by the Channels Book Club.

Book Event: In Conversation With Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

Award winning author, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani will be speaking about her new book “Buried Beneath The Baobab Tree” published in Nigeria by Masobebooks.

360e9e06-64c1-4071-8e4f-b3d824081b91I will be moderating this event and formally invite you all to be there.

The details of the event are as follows:

Date: Sunday, November 17, 2019

Time: 4pm to 6pm

Venue: Cafe One by sterling, Lennox Mall, Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos state, Nigeria.

Registration: Register for free via this link https://www.eventbrite.com/e/in-conversation-with-adaobi-tricia-nwaubani-tickets-80042955635

The Author: Adaobi Tricia Obinne Nwaubani (born in 1976) is a Nigerian novelist, humorist, essayist and journalist. Her debut novel, I Do Not Come to you by Chance, won the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (Africa), a Betty Trask First Book award,and was named by the Washington Post as one of the Best Books of 2009. Nwaubani is the first contemporary African writer on the global stage to have got an international book deal while still living in her home country. Her Second Novel titled “Buried Beneath The Baobab Tree”  has won the RAVEN award for excellence in Arts and Entertainment and the 2019 YALSA Best Fiction Award for Young adults.

Save The Date and see you there!

Book Review: If You Keep Digging By Keletso Mopai Review by Guest Contributor: Aisha Musa

“Growing Caterpillar, “Tell me “, “he said”, What is this thing about time? Why is it better to be late than early? People are always saying, we must wait. What are they waiting for? “Well, “I said, feeling myself being led by Giovanni into deep and dangerous water, I guess people waiting order to make sure of what they feel”. – Keletso Mopai in Giovanni’s Room – If You Keep Digging.

This anthology of 15 short stories reflect the challenges of sexuality, traditional beliefs and family dynamics  that affect the youths in South Africa.

The story of “Professor Banda Not Unique” is an issue that is currently being spoken about more openly and victims are finding the courage to speak out.

“Skinned” highlights the challenges albinos face in the society and it is a relief that someone is talking about this discrimination which is not often spoken about or discussed.

“Growing Caterpillars” and “Becoming a God” border around relationships and struggles of disclosure, acceptance and expectations by family, the concept of beauty and what tradition accepts.

“Letty”, “Blood of Filth” and “Madness” are stories that highlight the unspoken abuse in families, the power of forgiveness and open disclosure of silenced emotions.

“Fourteen” and “Becoming a God” are based on African spirituality and after life. This one, I didn’t quite enjoy although as Africans, these traditional beliefs are a reality in our communities.

It was interesting to see how the author connected some of the stories (Papa’s name and Monkeys), however, the book would have been a more enjoyable read if the author provided a glossary for all the Afrikaans words used in the book. This made it difficult for me to really connect with some of the stories. Also some of the titles did not capture the essence of the story told and this kept me guessing what the author was trying relay through these titles.

This book was a good read but will not make it on my top list. I understand that the stories are a reflection of current realities but I would have loved it if a ‘happy story’ was thrown into the sea of sad stories. In life there will always be challenges but there are also happy moments too. I wish some of those happy moments were captured here.

I recommend this book mostly to South Africans and people interested in their history and current challenges.

Rating: 3 Stars

Published: May 1st, 2019 by Jacana Media

Pages: 172

Genre: Short Story Collection

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/ifyoukeepdigging

The Author: Keletso Mopai is a South African storyteller whose work has been published in various highly regarded journals and listed for short story prizes. She majored in geology and chemistry, and has a Bachelor of Science honours degree in geology. ‘If You Keep Digging’ is her debut book.

 

Aisha MusaGuest Contributor: Aisha Musa
Aisha is a devout Nigerian Muslim, Geoscientist and mother. She loves reading both fiction and non-fiction books in her spare time, going on field expeditions and interacting with like – minds. She is an emerging voice for women’s development and empowerment especially in third world countries and strives to be a dependable role model to career women and mothers alike. She lives in Lagos, Nigeria with her family.

Book Review: I Do Not Come To You by Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

“Good mothers know all about patience. They know about lugging the promise of a baby around for nine whole months, about the effort of pushing and puffing until a head pops; they know about being pinned to a spot, wincing as gums make contact with sore nipples; they know about keeping a vigil over a cot all night, praying that the doctor’s medicine will work; they know that even when patience seems to be at an end, more is required. Always more.” – Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani in I Do Not Come To You By Chance

I read IDNCTYBC when it was first published in 2009 and I rated it as one of my best reads ever. You can then imagine my excitement when I saw this new catchy cover. I just had to read it again!

IDNCTYBC is an highly engaging satirical and humorous story which focuses on the infamous internet email scams carried out by Nigerians popularly known as 419 amongst other themes. The protagonist Kingsley, is a young man who is a graduate of chemical engineering and is yet to be gainfully employed after two years out of university. Kingsley has been well brought up by his well educated, conservative but yet poor parents who have expectations that he will soon land a good job in an oil company and assist with the education of his younger siblings and their welfare. Bad times turn worse as he is jilted by the love of his life Ola who can’t wait anymore for him to be financially equipped to marry her and his father becomes critically ill. Their only hope is his uncle, Boniface a.k.a. “Cash daddy” who is a well known 419er but had lived with the family when he was younger. Cash daddy provides for their needs and offers kingsley a job and with no other choice left kingsley is sucked into a new world of email scams, fast cars, girls, money, trips abroad and lots more. The story is told from the eyes of Kingsley who comes off as a very funny and mischievous lad with his unapologetically Nigerian English that drives home his points. Some of my favorite quotes from him are:

“He often referred to the female gender in plural form, as if they did not exist except in batches.”

“There were many possible explanations for the atrocious traffic in Lagos—population explosion, insufficient mass transit, tokunbo vehicles going kaput, potholes in the roads, undisciplined drivers, random police checkpoints, and fuel queues. But in Cash Daddy’s opinion, the go-slow started whenever the devil and his wives were on their way to the market. I think he was right.”

As someone who likes to find humor even in the worst of situations, this book did justice in that department. Adaobi has successfully crafted a realistic tale that shows the activities carried out by 419ers while addressing other current issues prevalent in our country such as poverty, corruption in government, dilapidated social amenities and health facilities, and lots more. Dismissing stereotypes, this story also shows another angle contrary to the popular narrative that all 419ers are ruthless men who swindle “innocent” foreigners. It has painted a picture that  shows that they are compassionate people who most often than not, take care of their families, friends and communities by paying school fees, funding businesses, building roads and amenities in their communities that the government should have otherwise provided and the foreigners as mostly greedy people who want to get rich quick without working hard.

My favorite character is “Cash Daddy” with his uncouth mannerisms, his colorful speech always laced with proverbs and his overblown opinion of himself. He was such an entertainer without meaning to be and a generous soul despite his fraudulent means. My favorite quote by him is:

“Relatives are the cause of hip disease”

This book is a must read! After this re-read, it still remains in my ‘best reads of all time’ list. I highly recommend this book for your enjoyment and amusement. So go out there, get a copy and have fun!

Rating: 4 Stars

Expected Publication Date: November 17th, 2019 by Masobe Books

Pages: 403

Genre: Fiction (Satire)

Purchase @ www.masobebooks.com/IDNCTYBC

or www.amazon.com/IDNCTYBC

The Author: Adaobi Tricia Obinne Nwaubani (born in 1976) is a Nigerian novelist, humorist, essayist and journalist. Her debut novel, I Do Not Come to you by Chance, won the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (Africa), a Betty Trask First Book award,and was named by the Washington Post as one of the Best Books of 2009. Nwaubani is the first contemporary African writer on the global stage to have got an international book deal while still living in her home country.

Author Interview: Bisi Adjapon, Author “Of Women And Frogs”

After reading “Of Women and Frogs” earlier this year (check out my review via this link- www.rovingbookwormng.com/ofwomenandfrogs ), I became curious about the author and  her inspiration for this story among other things. This led me to request an online interview from her and I was elated when she obliged me.

Bisi Adjapon 3

Bisi Adjapon holds degrees in French and Spanish and has worked in several embassies, taught and managed projects in Costa Rica, Mexico, South Africa and Ghana. Until recently, she was a language instructor in the Diplomatic Language School in Virginia. Currently, she divides her time between Ghana and America. When not working, she plays tennis and loves to eat chocolate.

Bisi has given us a sneak peak into her world of being a published writer with answers to these 10 questions below.

1.WHEN DID YOU START WRITING?

Bisi’s Response: I’ve been writing all my life, probably since age seven.

2. WHAT IS THE MOST SURPRISING THING YOU DISCOVERED WHILE WRITING?

Bisi’s Response: Writing is like creating a movie in your head and describing it on paper. It gets easy when you set it up in your head and watch it as you’re writing.

3. IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF GOOD WRITING?

Bisi’s Response: The reader must feel like a fly on the wall, seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and feeling every action, every emotion. Whatever helps you achieve that constitutes good writing. There are no rules.

4. WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR RECENTLY PUBLISHED BOOK – OF WOMEN AND FROGS?

Bisi’s Response: I was preoccupied with how society judges women when it comes to sex. It started off as a fun project.

5. DO ANY OF THE CHARACTERS HOLD A SPECIAL PLACE IN YOUR HEART? IF YES, WHO?

Bisi’s Response: Esi, my protagonist. I wish I had been like her as a child and more.

6. WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TITLE?

Bisi’s Response: I’ll leave it to the reader to draw his or her own conclusion. Suffice to say it’s not your Disney girl falls for a frog who turns out to be a prince.

7. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART AND LEAST FAVORITE PART OF THE PUBLISHING PROCESS?

Bisi’s Response: I loved editing and polishing the manuscript, plus the production process: cover design, proofreading, typesetting, etc.  My editor and I worked very well together. The printing and release process gripped me with anxiety because my editor, also the managing editor, was on leave and I felt lost. Combined with delays at Lagos harbor, it was stressful. We had to wait for months. I became depressed.  We had run out of the initial promotional copies and were beset with demand from readers.

8. WHAT ONE THING WILL YOU GIVE UP TO BECOME A BETTER WRITER?

Bisi’s Response: Whatsapping and checking social media in the morning instead of writing.

9. HOW DO YOU HANDLE LITERARY CRITICISM?

Bisi’s Response: It doesn’t bother me one bit. Reading is subjective. I hate some works that others love and vice-versa. I have the utmost respect for readers. They are entitled to their reactions and preferences.

10. ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON ANYTHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOUR READERS?

Bisi’s Response:: I am, but I’m keeping it close to my chest for now. It’s a surprise, even to me, and I love it. I hope my fans will too.

*Special thanks to Bisi Adjapon for granting this interview.

November 2019: 10 Best New Book Releases

We are slowing but surely winding up the year and we still have some amazing reads to look up to before the new year.

November is promising a mix of books for everyone from fantasy to romance, historical fiction, mystery, etc.

Looking for something fresh to read this month? Check out these 10 titles highly rated by reviewers and you may find that read that will thrill you.

 

BBTBT

1. Buried Beneath The Baobab Tree By Adaobi Trisha Nwaubani

Expected Publication Date: November 17, 2019 by Masobe Books

Pages: 337

Genre: Fiction/Non-Fiction

Purchase @ www.masobebooks.com

Publisher’s Blurb: On April 14, 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls. Some managed to escape. Many are still missing. A new pair of shoes, a university degree, a husband—these are the things that a girl dreams of in a Nigerian village. A girl who works hard in school and to help her family. A girl with a future as bright as live coals in the dark. And with a government scholarship right around the corner, everyone—her mother, her five brothers, her best friend, her teachers—can see that these dreams aren’t too far out of reach. Even if the voices on Papa’s radio tell more fearful news than tales to tell by moonlight. But the girl’s dreams turn to nightmares when her village is attacked by Boko Haram, a terrorist group, in the middle of the night. Kidnapped, she is taken with other girls and women into the forest where she is forced to follow her captors’ radical beliefs and watch as her best friend slowly accepts everything she’s been told. Still, the girl defends her existence. As impossible as escape may seem, her life—her future—is hers to fight for.

 

I do not come to you by chance

2. I do Not Come To You By Chance By Adaobi Trisha Nwaubani

Expected Publication Date: November 17, 2019 by Masobe Books

Pages: 337

Genre: Fiction/Non-Fiction

Purchase @ www.masobebooks.com

Publisher’s Blurb: Being the opara of the family, Kingsley Ibe is entitled to certain privileges–a piece of meat in his egusi soup, a party to celebrate his graduation from university. As first son, he has responsibilities, too. But times are bad in Nigeria, and life is hard. Unable to find work, Kingsley cannot take on the duty of training his younger siblings, nor can he provide his parents with financial peace in their retirement. And then there is Ola. Dear, sweet Ola, the sugar in Kingsley’s tea. It does not seem to matter that he loves her deeply; he cannot afford her bride price. It hasn’t always been like this. For much of his young life, Kingsley believed that education was everything, that through wisdom, all things were possible. Now he worries that without a “long-leg”–someone who knows someone who can help him–his degrees will do nothing but adorn the walls of his parents’ low-rent house. And when a tragedy befalls his family, Kingsley learns the hardest lesson of all: education may be the language of success in Nigeria, but it’s money that does the talking. Unconditional family support may be the way in Nigeria, but when Kingsley turns to his Uncle Boniface for help, he learns that charity may come with strings attached. Boniface–aka Cash Daddy–is an exuberant character who suffers from elephantiasis of the pocket. He’s also rumored to run a successful empire of email scams. But he can help. With Cash Daddy’s intervention, Kingsley and his family can be as safe as a tortoise in its shell. It’s up to Kingsley now to reconcile his passion for knowledge with his hunger for money, and to fully assume his role of first son. But can he do it without being drawn into this outlandish mileu?

 

the mother i could have been

3. The Mother I Could Have Been by Kerry Fisher

Expected Publication Date: November 22, 2019 by Book

Pages: 310

Genre: Fiction

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/themothericouldhavebeen

Publisher’s Blurb: As a child, Vicky Hall never had the sort of family she wanted. The least important person in her new step-family, ignored by her mother in favour of her two younger half-siblings, Vicky was always an afterthought. Sitting alone at her graduation ceremony at the age of twenty-one, she vows to create her own family and her own life, one which is full of the love and attention she has always craved.
When Vicky meets William and falls pregnant in Greece that summer, it isn’t planned. But the two of them believe they can make it work, showering their child with the love which they believe should be enough. But when her son Theo is two, Vicky leaves him in the care of her mother-in-law, walks out of her front door and drives to a hotel where she takes a room for the night. She doesn’t return.

 

 

the innocents

4. The Innocents by Michael Crummey

Expected Publication Date: November 12, 2019 by Doubleday

Pages: 304

Genre: Fiction

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/theinnocents

Publisher’s Blurb: A brother and sister are orphaned in an isolated cove on Newfoundland’s northern coastline. Their home is a stretch of rocky shore governed by the feral ocean, by a relentless pendulum of abundance and murderous scarcity. Still children with only the barest notion of the outside world, they have nothing but the family’s boat and the little knowledge passed on haphazardly by their mother and father to keep them.
Muddling though the severe round of the seasons, through years of meagre catches and storms and ravaging illness, it is their fierce loyalty to each other that motivates and sustains them. But as seasons pass and they wade deeper into the mystery of their own natures, even that loyalty will be tested.
The Innocents is richly imagined and compulsively readable, a riveting story of hardship and survival, and an unflinching exploration of the bond between brother and sister. By turns electrifying and heartbreaking, it is a testament to the bounty and barbarity of the world, to the wonders and strangeness of our individual selves.

 

the queen of nothing

5. The Queen Of Nothing by Holly Black

Expected Publication Date: November 19, 2019 by Little, Black

Pages: 320

Genre: Fantasy/ young adult

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/thequeenofnothing

Publisher’s Blurb: Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power. Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.  Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics. And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity… From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.

 

the family upstairs

 

6. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Expected Publication Date: November 7, 2019 by Atria Books

Pages: 352

Genre: Fiction/Mystery

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/thefamilyupstairs

Publisher’s Blurb: Be careful who you let in.
Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am. She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them. Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone. In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

 

on swift horses

7. On Swift Horses by Shannon Pufahl

Expected Publication Date: November 5, 2019 by Riverhead

Pages: 320

Genre: Historical fiction

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/onswifthorses

Publisher’s Blurb: Muriel is newly married and restless, transplanted from her rural Kansas hometown to life in a dusty bungalow in San Diego. The air is rich with the tang of salt and citrus, but the limits of her new life seem to be closing in: She misses her freethinking mother, dead before Muriel’s nineteenth birthday, and her sly, itinerant brother-in-law, Julius, who made the world feel bigger than she had imagined. And so she begins slipping off to the Del Mar racetrack, to bet and eavesdrop, learning the language of horses and risk. Meanwhile, Julius is testing his fate in Las Vegas, working at a local casino where tourists watch atomic tests from the roof, and falling in love with Henry, a young card cheat. When Henry is eventually discovered and run out of town, Julius takes off to search for him in the plazas and dives of Tijuana, trading one city of dangerous illusions for another. On Swift Horses is a debut of astonishing power: a story of love and luck, of two people trying to find their place in a country that is coming apart even as it promised them everything.

 

the bromance bookclub

8. The Bromance Book Club By Lyssa Kay Adams

Expected Publication Date: November 5, 2019 by Berkley

Pages: 352

Genre: Fiction

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/thebromancebookclub

Publisher’s Blurb: Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. Welcome to the Bromance Book Club. Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

 

dirty letters

9. Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland

Expected Publication Date: November 5, 2019 by Montlak Romance

Pages: 300

Genre: Fiction/Romance

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/dirtyletters

Publisher’s Blurb: Griffin Quinn was my childhood pen pal, the British boy who couldn’t have been more different from me. Over the years, through hundreds of letters, we became best friends, sharing our deepest, darkest secrets and forming a connection I never thought could break. Until one day it did. Then, out of the blue, a new letter arrived. A scathing one—one with eight years of pent-up anger. I had no choice but to finally come clean as to why I stopped writing. Griffin forgave me, and somehow we were able to rekindle our childhood connection. Only now we were adults, and that connection had grown to a spark. Our letters quickly went from fun to flirty to downright dirty, revealing our wildest fantasies. So it only made sense that we would take our relationship to the next level and see each other in person. Only Griff didn’t want to meet. He asked that I trust him and said it was for the best. But I wanted more—more Griff, in the flesh—so I took a big chance and went looking for him. People have done crazier things for love. But what I found could change everything.

 

the definitive guide to self care

10. The More Or Less Definitive Guide To Self – Care By Anna Borges

Publication Date: November 1, 2019 by The Experiment

Pages: 240

Genre: Non-Fiction

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/themoreorlessdefinitiveguide

Publisher’s Blurb: “For most of us,” writes Anna Borges, “self-care is a wide spectrum of decisions and actions that soothe and fortify us against all the shit we deal with.” You may already practice some form of self-care, whether it’s taking an extra-long shower after a stressful day, splurging on a ~fancy~ dinner, or choosing Netflix over that friend-of-a-friend’s birthday party. But when life gets so overwhelming that you want to stay in bed, some more radical care is crucial to maintain your sanity. The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care is here to help you exist in the world. Borges gathers over 200 tips, activities, and stories (from experts and everyday people alike) into an A-to-Z list—from asking for help and burning negative thoughts to the importance of touch and catching some Zzz’s. Make any day a little more OK with new skills in your self-care toolkit—and energy to show up for yourself.