Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Author Speaks with Ola Awonubi

I'm celebrating St Valentine's day on this blog by interviewing Ankara Press authors. This is the second interview in the series. Enjoy!

Ola Nubi is an award-winning writer whose short stories have been featured in Story Time, Siren, Brittle Paper, Naijastories.com and various other publications and anthologies. Ola won first prize in the National Words of Colour competition and Wasafiri’s New Writing Prize for Fiction. She is currently working on a collection of short stories and a novel. Love’s Persuasion is her first journey into the world of romantic fiction

AA: Tell me the story of your journey to publication with Ankara Press.
OA: A writer friend informed me that a publishing house was looking for stories about romances set in Africa. I started work on a manuscript and began the process of mapping out the story and the characters, writing notes and setting it all out, working through several drafts and revising until publication.

AA: You also write fiction that is not in the romantic genre. Was there a difference in the writing process for this novel and other fiction projects you worked on in the past?
OA: If you look at my blog you will see from the kind of short stories I write that Love’s Persuasion is different from my usual stuff but when I was writing this I had to keep remember to show the romance developing and bring it to positive conclusion. I was glad that I also had to address some underlying issues in our society through the very popular medium of romance such as the class issue. The issue of women’s attainment and the issue of marriage at any cost.
The writing process was the same – working on the story and the characters, plot, voice and working with the editor to produce the final draft.

AA: Tell me about your top five all-time favourite romance novels.
OA: Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen
The Purple Hibiscus by Chiamanda Ngozi Adichie
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
The Fauna Trilogy by Denise Robbins
The Bride Price by Buchi Emecheta

AA: What is the best advice you’ve ever heard/read about writing?
OA: Engage the senses six senses when you write. Make the reader smell, taste and see as they read.
A short story is a snapshot so you do not have the luxury to flesh out your characters or settings like a novel. Get to the point.
Don’t add too many characters and the few you have - make memorable.
Make your beginning make me sit up and want to keep on reading.

AA: Without the benefit readers have of having access to her thought life, it would be easy to judge Ada’s relationship with Tony as an attempt on her part to climb the ladder without paying her dues. Do you think office romances are really worth the risk?
OA: Ada does make it clear throughout the book that despite her ambition she wants to make it in her profession through her hard work and not because she is dating her boss – this is one of the reasons she tries to fight the attraction initially.  Are offices romances worth the risk – work is meant to be a place where you are focused and not distracted in that vein – it does have its drawbacks but love can find you anywhere and if a person meets the love of their life at work – I wouldn’t say they should throw the chance away because they work in the same office.

AA: Ada and Tony spend some time apart; when they meet later on, the problems that drove them apart don’t carry as much power as they once did. How important do you think timing is in matters of love and romance?
OA: Timing is important in relationships because it allows time for people to evolve and mature and during the years Ada and Tony were apart they both had time to evaluate their lives, the relationship and their feelings for each other.  She needed to find out whether Tony was prepared to stand up for once in his life for what he believed in- for what he felt was worth fighting for.

AA: You are working on a novel, is it a romance?
OA: Yes. I’m about 9000K words at the moment. It’s a romance and that’s all I will say about it at the moment!
Buy Love’s Persuasion here. Follow Ola Nubi on twitter via @createandwrite.

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