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Monthly Archives: April 2014

Why in the world would you write a book about Nigeria?

Authors note: My third novel z2 is currently on blog tour through the fine folks at Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours. The post below is part of that tour and it appeared a few days ago on Always Jo Art, a fun blog about books, motherhood, and product give-aways. My thoughts were inspired by a post I wrote here back in 2012, three whole books ago. A lot has changed for me since then, but apparently other things haven’t changed much at all.

http://nollywoodonline.info/?p=5After I finished my first novel, x0, I was told that writing about Nigeria was a poor choice because it just isn’t a place that particularly interests many readers. Paris or London would have been better. I found this funny. Lots of novels take place in Paris and London and it seemed to me that the world didn’t need one more. Nigeria, on the other hand, has a plethora of rich stories to tell which are far less known, at least in Texas where I live.

I chose Nigeria originally because I wanted to write a tale of two very different women helping each other. About the same time that I started the book, I also started a new job exploring for oil in the Niger Delta and had the chance to work with many Nigerians. One day I asked my office mate, a Nigerian geologist, to describe to me how his tribe, the Igbo, were unique. He responded by telling me a legend about Igbo slaves coming to America. It startled me at first that he would even speak of such a thing, but in the end I was touched by both the moving story he told, and by the powerful way in that he told it. I tried to capture each of those when I retold this scene in x0.

95As I wrote, I discovered how much the fascinating details of a far off land appeal to me. That meant that I had to find a location for my second book, y1 that was even less well known. Once I found it, I was writing about the remote Pacific Island nation of Kiribati, exactly on the other side of the globe from my first story.

The plot of my third novel, z2, dictated that my characters not wander off too far from Texas, so instead I found a way to let my readers wander around in time. Although z2 never leaves North America, it includes visits to a Mayan village under siege in Guatemala and the camp of eighteenth-century lumberjacks on the coast of Belize.

image014No, I’m not done with my armchair travels yet. There are three more books in this collection and the one I’ve just finished, c3, takes place partly in the isolated Himalayan nation of Bhutan. The one I’m working on now is taking me to the far North, where I am learning fascinating things about Greenland and Iceland.

Why Nigeria? Why anywhere. Every spot on this earth is teeming with tales of its own and with great settings for new ones. These stories not only have the capacity to entertain us, but they can also give us new information and a fresh perspective.

 

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2014 in Nigeria

 

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Proud of doing nothing

Dalai7I’m pleased with myself this week. Not because I got a lot done, but because I didn’t. You see, I happen to be one of those people who suffer from too much will power. Like all things that others have and we want (curly hair/straight hair, big boobs/small boobs) will power is one of those grass is greener issues. Friends struggle with accomplishing their goals, while I make a list, prioritize it, and then charge my way through every day until I am exhausted and sometimes not particularly pleasant. Then I get up and do the same thing again. I do get a tremendous amount done, just ask anyone, but every so often I want to stop it all and have more fun.

So, this week, I pretty much didn’t do what I do. I did not meet my writing goals. I blew off an entire online course in geomechanics that I signed up for and probably would enjoy. (Maybe next time they offer it.) I didn’t post on a single blog (see how far behind I am on this one) and you don’t want to hear about the laundry and times I didn’t exercise.

What did I do? I spontaneously went to a concert and had a picnic on the lawn. Drank a bottle of wine. Yes the whole thing but it was over a few hours. Saw Arcade Fire and they were great. I got a pedicure, Skyped for way too long with my sister, and I’m going bowling tomorrow with my husband. I haven’t bowled in a decade. Way too busy for that kind of nonsense normally.

I don’t know what has gotten into me. Spring? It is finally hitting the Houston area. Full moon? Accomplishment fatigue? Guess it doesn’t matter. I had a great time and next week Ill go back to being me. I do like who I am, and I’ll get plenty done then.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2014 in writing

 

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