Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for Interview - Paschal Obinna Ozoigbo

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And today, my guest is Paschal Obinna Ozoigbo, Author of The Dust Must Settle. Enjoy...

1. Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Africans are where they are today, especially intellectually, as a result of the collective effort of the colonial administrators.

2. Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
Yes, I have one. Glittering Sword is the title. I have quite a lot of projects lined up. And I don't write just to win awards. I write to affect lives, and also to give a message from my satire. My banking job, which kept me extremely busy and therefore out of writing for close to 15 years, squeezed out all the youthfulness in me and made me sort of redundant as a writer. Nevertheless, at 39, I think I have practically nothing to lose. The late Sidney Sheldon, after all, started his writing career in his 50's, and today he is a celebrated writer, the most translated author in the whole world, according to The Guinness Book of World Records.

3. What inspired you to want to become a writer?
Naturally, I am a chronicler. It is a gift from God. Unfortunately, however, I cannot tell it. I can only pass it across in black-and-white. Whenever I read a novel, I always tell myself: but, boy, I can do better.

4. Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Seeing my brainchild finally in print form, well-bound, ready to be launched to the world through Amazon, the biggest online bookstore in the whole world, and Barnes &Noble. I have attended speaking engagements in Lagos and Abuja as a result, and offers have come from Hollywood, through my publishers, to get The Dust Must Settle from book to screen. I have had a good time speaking with the Africa Regional Chairperson for the The Commonwealth Prize, Ms. Ayeboah-Afari, and also with the Commonwealth Foundation in London. The Dust Must Settle got to them late as an entry for the 2011 Commonwealth Writers Prize. Ayeboah-Afari took her time to placate me, because I was really mad with the publishers in the US for submitting my entry so late, long after the deadline given. You see, in life, on must count it all joy, even when things seem to be going haywire. These therefore constitute my most rewarding experience since being published.

5. If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world.. which would it be?
Barbara Taylor-Bradford's Voice of the Heart.

6. What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
Cyprian Ekwensi's Jagua Nana's Daughter, which was made into a TV miniseries in the 80's or thereabouts by some Nigerian soap producer/director.

7. What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Don't write with winning an award at the back of your mind, otherwise when the awards seem not to be forthcoming, you may get frustrated and may stop writing as a result. It has thought me a bitter lesson. Write, just because you want to write. And I tell you, someone out there would see your work(s), fall in love with it(them), and find you--wherever you may be.

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