Monday, November 8, 2010

Oyindamola Affinnih - Two gone, Still Counting (Guest Author)

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Tell us about yourself, a brief autobiography.

Oyindamola Halima Affinnih is a Lagosian. Born in 1982, Jan. 11. I started my schooling in Lagos State at Pampers Private School, then I went off to FGGC New-Bussa, Niger State, and got a degree in Mass communication at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye.

When and why did you begin writing?

I never thought I could be a writer. Yes I liked to read. I loved the feel of some great words strung together but for some reasons I was too lazy to be one. I saw writing notes as a complete bore and always had issues with my teachers cos I never kept notes. While doing a holiday job before getting into the college, sometime around 1999, I out of boredom put a short story together. I took it to True Tales Plaza {HINTS} and they felt it was good enough to publish. Somehow, I still felt it was a stroke of luck until I published another. And so I gave myself a chance. I did some other scripts for TV afterwards but never tried poetry {don’t think I’ll ever}. But I still love the power of prose more than any other aspect of literature.

What inspires you to write?

Deadlines! (Just joking). But I write very well when I’m under some kind of pressure. It flows faster when I’m pretty angry. But basically, the feedback I get from my previous works helps me to write better.

Tell us about two gone... still counting

I started writing it in 2008. Sometimes I have a theme and I build my story around it. Sometimes the theme unravels itself while writing the story. It’s amazing how different writers create their stories. Some do a chapter by chapter breakdown, some go with the flow. Of course, more often than not, I go with the flow. While writing two gone... still counting, the theme sprang up and I worked with it. I was so excited to see everything fall in place that I wrote half of the book in the space of two months and so I began submitting a query letter and the first three chapters to several agents. The rejection was huge, some polite, others, the standard rejection format. I guess that was what slowed the other half from coming. I left it for over a year before a friend inspired me to give self-publishing a shot. So there.

Do you have a major theme that runs through the book?

The theme of two gone... still counting centres on the veracity of our beliefs, how quick we are to condemn them as ‘superstitions’ when somehow we believe strongly in them. A lot of people in Nigeria believe when you trip on your left foot while going somewhere, it becomes some sort of ill luck as the whole day would be full of misfortune. I found it funny seeing religious people who clearly disregard such beliefs, flinch when such incidents occur. Some offer a sign of the cross while others whisper audhubillahi minashayta ni rajeem. To help them avert such evil. If you don’t believe tripping on your left foot means anything, why not let it just go?

What was your publishing journey like, from thinking of the book idea to holding it in your hands?

With a tricky theme like that, I believed- like every writer dreams- that publishing would be immediate, but dear me! It was either the theme wasn’t arresting enough, or there weren’t reading my queries because my spellings and my tenses were great. I didn’t think I would opt for self-publishing but I wanted more than anything to see my book in print and so I took a risk. I risk I believe will be worth it.
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