Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Folake Taylor - The Only Way is Up (Guest Author)

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As you may have guessed, I meet a lot of people online and some of them are writers. Folake Taylor is one of them. I saw her review of "In my dreams, it was Simpler" on Amazon and added her on Facebook. I later won her book in a giveaway. Since then, we've started a good relationship.

As part of this interview, she has agreed to give out an autographed copy of The Only way is Up to one of my readers. So first person to comment saying they want the book gets it. (restricted to US residents only and someone who hasn't won something here before. Sorry!)

- What inspires you to write?
Life. I am a great thinker and as I see things that cause me to ponder and go into deep thought, I get the urge to write about it. These are most commonly issues of injustice, love, relationships, marriage, gender roles, gender inequality and such.

- Do you have a specific writing style?
I am down to earth and to the point, if that counts as a style of writing.

- What are your current projects?
Presently, in addition to continued marketing of my debut book "The Only Way is Up", I am working on my first novel, a women's contemporary novel AKA chick lit, if I might say. I don't like to take life too seriously even while addressing very serious issues of our times. A good laugh is never out of style. I also run two blogs. A writers blog called "This 'n' That" and a blog for "The Only Way is Up" called "Empowering You".

- You're a practicing physician, do you see writing as a alternate career or will it remain part-time?
Writing is definitely an alternate career but only if I want it to be. I love medicine just as much if not more than I always have and the practice of it is fun for me on a daily basis. I love my job. I will continue to practice medicine for a very long time. There is a shortage of primary care doctors so I believe my services are needed. I love writing and to me, both writing and medicine go hand in hand. As long as I am of service to humanity, I'll be fulfilled. So, yes writing will remain part-time.

- Can you share a little about your writing routine?
I get inspired about something and I immediately start to make a note of the idea in it's rawest form. I do not like to write long hand. I usually either make a note on my blackberry or type directly into a word document if my laptop is handy. I am an organized person so for my non-fiction work, I started off with an outline of the chapters and the whole of the first chapter in one evening. I subsequently filled in the gap and was done with my rough draft in one month. I then went into edit mode, some research etc. My current project is a little different. I tried new things.

Terry McMillan had a challenge on her facebook fan page for writers after I had written my first one hundred or so pages over a few weeks really as a trial of fiction. Prior to then, I had never written any work of fiction. I have always written articles or narrative type pieces. I wrote the next three hundred pages in three weeks and finished the book's first draft. I also got sick afterwards however and will not be trying that again! For this, I did not have an outline or a full story in my head. As she suggested, I let the characters take on a life of their own and didn't think too far ahead of where I was taking them. I thought about it the night before and had a rough idea then put it in writing the next day. We'll see how it turns out when it's done. I have slowed down my pace however as there is only one of me!

- The Only Way is up is your first novel. Do you intend to write only Non-fiction?
I already touched on this so I won't bore you with a full explantion. I intend to write anything and everything. I will stretch myself. I will push myself to the limits. I have to admit that non-fiction does come more naturally to me however as it is what I have done all my life, informally.

- Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Marketing a self-published non-fiction book is challenging but I have enjoyed every step of the process and I feel like I have learnt a new trade. I love challenges. I learn more each day. And it may be surprising to some that the writing is the simplest part of an author's job. I was also erronously of the opinion that I had done something huge when I wrote the book. Little did I know it was the mere beginning.
The most challenging for me is perhaps the lack of time since I have another full-time job in addition to my domestic duties and the writing.

- When and why did you begin writing? When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I began writing professionally on memorial day weekend in 2009 to be precise. I have however written for fun all my life and in recent years, I have expressed myself more commonly on facebook.
When I was a teenager and I had several friends in boarding schools in Nigeria, I would write them very long letters with graphic descriptions of happenings back home and they found these so entertaining that they would read my letters with their friends who did not even know me. This was of course before emails became popular and we wrote and mailed actual letters to friends and family. These started of as "Dear Dolapo..." for instance and not "Hey girl" like nowadays. It was formal and structured and it really did form part of a foundation of being articulate. I suspect that my vocabulary then was more extensive than now unfortunately. What I would do to get aspects of those times back.

- What books have most influenced your life most?
Barack Obama's "Dreams From My Father" had an immense impact on me that I cannot explain. It changed me. And though I was raised to be a confident black woman who believed she could do anything, I had a renewed sense of the true meaning of going out on a limb and trying new things.

-Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Yes we are still talking about my president! I love his style, his humor, his intelligence, his wit and his directness. If you have not read his work, please start with "Dreams From My Father" and you will be glad you read it.

- Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? What books are you reading now?
I am currently reading "Apologize Apologize" by Elizabeth Kelly and it will take me forever and a day because I have yet to find a plot or storyline in it and I am on page 150 of 320. The prose is to die for however and I am reading it like a text book in the art of story-telling!

New authors that have grasped my interest include Myne Whitman and I just applaud her for doing something with "A Heart to Mend" that I have not seen any Nigerian do in recent years with fiction that is romance. I look forward to more excellent work from this prolific author. I recently read "In My Dreams It Was Simpler" by a group of Nigerian authors and they have me hooked on their blog for the season two.

I have also enjoyed "The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives" by Lola Soneyin. I just recently started reading fiction again as I had a close to ten year period in which I only read non-fiction. I guess I was trying to develop myself. Maybe? How else can I explain it? (Laughing).

- Are there other people that have inspired or supported your writing outside of family members?
I have a lot of supportive friends and even authors I have recently started to network with such as Myne Whitman, Pauline R. Evans and several authors I have come in contact with through social networking. It is important to surround oneself with positive and progressive people in the industry that are headed up just like you are but secure enough in themselves to not need to waste any energy pulling you down.

- Any last words? How can on reach you?
Thank you Myne for this interview. I can be reached at
F. Taylor on facebook
@folaketaylor on twitter

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Debate Tuesday - Can Kissing Be Considered Cheating?

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What do you think?

Last week I said that on convenient Tuesdays, I will think of a debate topic that should get us talking. Today it is about cheating. If you have any new ideas for us to discuss, let me have them after you've said your piece.

I got this debate topic from Vimbai at My So-called Life. She said in her post It Started with a Kiss

As far as I’m concerned, kissing is a gateway drug to other such preambling antics*...after all, we aren’t 12 years old! Seven seconds in heaven isn’t gonna cut it no more.

What I should have asked X was, if she found herself in the position of catching her significant other engaging in a round of tonsil-hockey with someone else, would her cool and “worldly” demeanour remain intact....or would she be singing Chris Brown’s “Deuces” with the rest of us.

And that is pretty much it. I agree with her. Kissing someone else when you're in another serious relationship is definitely cheating in my books. OK, we can rule out pecks on the cheek, or kisses between family. I mean open mouth affairs, teeth clashing, tongues duelling, you of those scenes in my novel or WIP that gets our bloods heated and pumping.

In fact, I will go further to say that some kinds of flirting will fall in as cheating too. You know when you like or admire someone. You start batting your eyelids, touching their hair or bodies and just getting into their personal space. That is the beginning of emotional and maybe even physical infidelity.

What do you think, can kissing be considered cheating?

Let's hear it in the comments.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Picture Weekend - The Animal Shelter

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Hi everyone, thanks so much for making it with me this far, one year into my blogging.


Do any of you have a cat or a dog? I hope you're treating them well sha.

Last weekend, Atala came up with this idea. He's been toying with getting a pet, a dog and a German Shepard in particular. I'm not big on animals living in the house, maybe a hamster or a fish I suggested. Anyway, he decided we go check out the animal shelter and see if any of the animals was calling our name. Calling our names? See me see wahala. OK o, we carried our kaya and went. Thank God none was calling HIS name, as for me, certainly no cat or dog will be calling my name in the forseeable future, lol. But the visit made me think about what brought the animals there in the first place, some even had battle wounds. Pity! At least the Humane Society is taking care of them and there were lots of people there willing to adopt.

Enjoy the pics my people and have a great weekend. Love you guys, Mwah!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Blogoversary! And the Winners Are...

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I have to admit that it's been great being here with you all. You have encouraged and inspired me. Made be proud to be part of this community. I hope we all achieve our dreams and help each other get to the top. Thanks to everybody who has been here all along, and to the new followers, you're very welcome too. I appreciate you all and your comments and feeback too, keep them coming.

According to, the fellowing people get free AHTM ebooks and $10 Amazon gift cards each.

1. Pinkapplecore
2. Shorty
3. Miss Natural
4. Malika Bourne
5. Honey91

For an extra, ZeL also gets a free eBook for being on top of the feedback list. Please send emails to to arrange your winnings, cheers!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blog Anniversary - One day to go

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The first posts on this blog were made HERE on the 13th of August 2009. I started out with excerpts of AHTM, then known as Not the End of the Road. I had no idea I would publish, until I found out after a few months that sharing the story online ruled out conventional publishers. I was also really encouraged by how all those who read it reacted, both good and bad. Their feedback led me to brush up my writing and to really polish the manuscript.

It has been a roller-coaster of a year and I can honestly say that Myne Whitman today is just because of this blog and everyone that supports me. So for my blog anniversary, I plan to do something special for the followers of my blog. From today on until August 13, 2010, you can enter my blog anniversary giveaway and also invite others to take part. You can copy the HTML under the button on the right and put on your sidebar.


Five lucky winners will each win an ebook copy of A Heart to Mend. All five will also get $10 gift cards on or


1. You must be a follower of Myne Whitman Writes.

2. Leave a comment starting with ENTRY and let me know what you'll like to see more of here on Myne Whitman Writes.

The winners will be selected via a widget which I will put up here on the blog on blog anniversary. I will also publish the names of the winners on August 13 and they will then have one week to email me so I can forward their prizes.

To have your name put in the draw more than once, you can do the following for extra points;

+1 if you are a Facebook fan (leave a comment on the page)
+1 for spreading the word (Twitter - @Myne_Whitman or Facebook @Myne Whitman)
+2 adding the giveaway button to your blog sidebar
+2 blog post on your blog.

Please leave the links to your extra entries through the last two ways so I can check them. Links will be verified for the extra entry.

Good luck to everyone!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Debate Tuesday - Principles or Expediency

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What would you do?

On the convenient Tuesdays, I will think of a debate topic that should get us talking. If you have any ideas, let me have them after your have said your piece. Now to principles and expediency. I had a great debate with Atala yesterday on this topic and you know me and debates, they are the food to my intellect. We took sides, doesn't really matter what you actually believe or will do in the situation.

We argued about whether people should stick with their principles when they find themselves in a tight spot or if they should just do what is easy and without fuss. Now this was our scenario.

The US has a policy for non-negotiation with terrorists. So what if a mad man went off half-cocked and stole a plane full of Americans and asked the president for something. Says he'll blow up the plane if his demands are not met. What should the President do?  If you were the president, what would you do if;

1. -said mad man want only $1 dollar (to be donated by you on media) funneled to his charity?

2. - said mad man wants the American flag redesigned by him?

3. -will you wait till terrorist kills first before meeting his demands? And how many acts of terrorism will you stand for before you crack or bend? For example he's killing the hostages one after the other.

4. Say he has 124 hostages, and just as many demands. Will you meet all the demands to free the hostages?

Of course this is all hypothetical. In real life, it my be someone wanting you to break your celibacy, circumstances forcing you to lie, etc.

I argued for principle, the hook being: WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE?

What about you?


picture from the web

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ngozi Achebe - Onaedo: The blacksmith's Daughter (Guest Author)

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I saw a book review on Bella Naija recently and was intrigued by the book cover and the fact that it was written by the niece of Chinua Achebe. The book is the tale of two women; Maxine, a modern American woman who is half-white and half-Nigerian and Onaedo, a Nigerian girl of the 16th century who gets sold into slavery. Maxine uses elements of the discovered diaries of Onaedo in writing essentially the book. So this is fiction within fiction. I have read the book and melikey. See the review soon on Naija Stories.

Since reading the review and then the book, I have come to know the author, who lives just about an hour away from me, more. Ngozi Achebe is a lovely lady, a practicing physician who also enjoys the writing life. She was kind enough to answer some questions for me and I look forward to meeting her too. Enjoy the interview below.

- What inspires you to write?
The need to share a story, the need to tell it and the hope that somebody is interested enough to come along with you on the journey.

- Do you have a specific writing style?
Not really but if I was pushed to describe it I would say a narrative and expository style.

- What are your current projects?
I’m finishing the original book I was writing before I decided to write Onaedo. It is a coming of age story that is set during the Nigerian/Biafran Civil war, and since I was one of the so called “Biafran Children” ,the generation that experienced it first hand, I feel its time to put something down on paper.

- You're a practicing physician, do you see writing as an alternate career or will it remain part-time?
I hope my writing will run a parallel path with my medicine. Medicine for me is almost a way of life since I’ve been a doctor for all of my adult life and I do love doing it. I’m very fortunate to now have the opportunity to do the two things I love the most – writing and medicine. Not many people are this lucky.

- Can you share a little about your writing routine?
My best time to write is late at night on the days I’m not doing hospital call. I love the solitude that descends on my house at that time. My mind has the time and space to wander.

- Onaedo is your first novel. Do you intend history to be a major theme that runs through most of your work?
I love ancient history but I do also intend to write of things that are more recent and current. My next book as I said earlier is going to be set in more recent times - in the sixties, seventies and eighties. However to put things in context, one must remember though that today is tomorrow’s history.

- Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Being able to concentrate and getting it done. Life gets in the way sometimes.

- When and why did you begin writing? When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have always written. I’ve always had a wild imagination which I think helps. My father, even though he was a scientist, an engineer, used to set writing competitions for my siblings and me and he would judge us and award prizes according to who told the most engaging story. I have stacks of manuscripts. Some I will hopefully work on and get published someday, others will not see the light of day. Am I a writer? I will leave that for others to judge.

- What books have most influenced your life most?
I can’t point to any particular book because I have read so many. I have talked before of how I grew up surrounded by books. Each one taught me a little something at each stage of my life.

- Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Aside from my uncle, Chinua Achebe whose powerful prose and humorous style still blows me away, I also like Flora Nwapa, John Munonye, Cyprain Ekwensi, Chukwuemeka Ike and some others from that era. A writer that I read more recently that I liked a lot is Khalid Husseini in The Kite Runner and A thousand Splendid Suns writing about Afghanistan; it made me sad. I also like The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. It was set 1950’s Congo. Of the more recent African writers, I like the young writers like Chimamanda Adichie, Sefi Atta, Adaobi Nwaubani and others – all super talented writers that are making us Nigerians all proud.

- If you had to choose, which writer would you say writes in about the same line or genre as your book?
I suppose somebody like James Michener for the way he goes back in time; Ken Follett, Margret Atwood and Phillipa Gregory. They all write historical fiction.

- Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? What books are you reading now?
There are always new authors and many that I like. I’m reading a rather funny book set in India called The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama. I have a job that can be emotionally draining sometimes so I like books that make me laugh.

- Chinua Achebe of Things Fall Apart fame is your uncle, you also mention another uncle who encouraged your love of reading. Are there other people that have inspired or supported your writing?
Mostly family. I’m very close to my sisters Adeze, Ifi and Chiko and respect their opinions because they are very discerning and critical in a helpful way. They usually read my first drafts and give a lot of good advice.

What do you think of the Nigerian publishing industry?
I have heard a lot of positive things about it. It seems the Nigerian literary scene is undergoing a renaissance of sorts. The Nigerian edition of my book, Onaedo, is going to be published by an up and coming publisher, Chinelo Iwenofu of AfricAgenda. From what I’ve seen so far she is doing a great job with trying to make the book available to the reading public in Nigeria. The Nigerian publication date is in November.

- What comments do you have about the reading culture in the country?
The reading and writing culture had always been strong until books became so expensive that reading is now a luxury. Nigerians have always liked to read and debate so this is a particularly sad state of affairs. I hope this book, Onaedo The Blacksmith’s Daughter, will reach a wide audience and stimulate discussion because it discusses an era in our history that is not talked about a lot – that is the beginning of Portuguese incursion into our lands.

- Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I thank you all for your tremendous support. I hope you continue to support my efforts.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Picture Saturday - Seattle Downtown

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Posts you may have missed this week. Two installments in my work in progress Floodtide of sweet Passion and Things Fall Apart. There's also my opinion and readers comments on whether Opposites Attract Feel free to leave comments. Coming up next week, my thought on Inception and a brand new book I finished last week, see you soon.

Meanwhile, enjoy the pics below. We drove into the city and caught some sights and an African American festival. If you look closely, you'll see a little baby dancing. She had her hair in buns and it was so cute. There was also a small exhibit on the AA history in the states, their inventions, KKK, so far and so on...

I appreciate you guys and I hope you all have a great day. Mwah!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Farafina Book Reviews @ Terra

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Most of you might already know that I partner with Farafina, the magazine and marketing/brand management of Kachifo publishing. They supported the contest I held over on Naija Stories with free books and their editors eyes for the judging. Naija Stories is a website where Nigerian writers can share their stories for feedback from other writers and readers and also a social network. Farafina Books is also about telling our stories so I think it's a great partnership.

In furtherance of promoting Nigerian reading culture and literature, Farafina organizes these monthly book reviews at TerraKulture in Lagos. Check it out if you're there.

The monthly Farafina book review will be happening again on Saturday, the 7th of August, 2010 at TerraKulture, Tiamiyu Savage, VI starting promptly at 3p.m. Join us as we review the Weaverbird collection, a collection of short stories by authors such as Tolu Ogunlesi and E.C Osondu and edited by Sarah Ladipo Manyika amongst others. Stories in the Weaverbird collection are lively, compelling and more importantly, they are reflective of the Nigerian political and cultural landscape. Come express your points of view, discuss the themes of the stories, or maybe get writing tips from our accomplished moderators: Tolu Ogunlesi, Ayo Arigbabu, and Tade Ipadeola. Who knows, you might even win a free book! You can't afford to miss this!

Find out more at

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Opposites attract. Really?

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I don't think so.

I am sure you have heard this saying at one time or the other that opposites attract. Well, I am tired of hearing it. The refrain gets most on my nerves in poorly scripted or acted romantic comedies. Now, I like watching rom-coms generally, and I don’t mind that one of the clichéd themes of the genre is love between two different personalities. When done right, like in When Sally Meets Harry, The Proposal, and Return to me, the theme really tugs on the heart strings. But when the not so good ones like The Ugly Truth and Leap Year push the agenda in my face, then it gets tiring. I saw The Accidental Husband on DVD last week, which went beyond the not so good to so not good.

The comedy bit got a few laughs from me but the romance aspect got me annoyed, it was so not convincing. Uma Thurman is a controlling radio talk show host and Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a free-spirited fireman and they meet after a “supposed” computer glitch gets them married. In the process of getting an annulment, sparks begin to fly. Like I do with most rom-coms, I give an estimate of how long I think the couple will stay together. I didn’t wait to finish watching this one, it was so bad that half-way through, I gave them only 2 weeks before they split. The movie producers seemed to realize that some of the audience may not be convinced of their flaky romance, so they tacked on an epilogue where the two major protagonists, now married, are still lovey-dovey. The lady is heavily pregnant and talks about how they do not sweat the small stuff. I’m still not convinced.

This brings me to the title of this article and begs the question; do opposites really attract? I’ll have to be honest here and say yes they do. This is the only reason it is even acceptable as a theme in romantic comedies and romance novels. There is research, from the psychological to the biological to the social, to bear out the theory. Women are attracted by the smell of men with a different gene pool than theirs. High-strung people want a partner who will act as a calming influence on their tempers and even the bad boy wants a nice girl to take home to mama. Analogies are given with the north and south poles of a magnet and the reason more people are heterosexual. Yeah, opposites do attract, but for how long?

Yes, opposites may attract during times of high sexual tension, like in dating, courtship and the early months of a marriage. However, opposites will certainly clash when it comes to differing personality traits, attitudes and values, especially in the long term.

To the writers and directors of romantic comedies, please allow the heroine to marry the conventional guy she has been dating happily for the five years. Forget the slacker she just met yesterday, with whom the only thing she has in common is a one night stand.

Note to self. Maybe this is an idea for my next book.

Note to you. What do you think?