Hey Sparkle Writers! Are your ready to be inspired by another writer? Our guest on today’s Writer Spotlight published her first book after being inspired by a story she wrote when she was eleven years old! Enjoy our interview with Ifeoma Ugboma.
Hello Ifeoma, please introduce yourself
Hello, I am Ifeoma Irene Ugboma, a beautiful (smirks) young woman from Bende L.G.A of Abia state. I am a Christian but of course I am open to any other religion around the globe. Ifeoma is a young writer, a student studying Radiography and Environmental Science & Resource Management at University of Uyo and National Open University respectively, certified health and safety supervisor, oil and gas document controller and first aid administrator although I am not yet practicing in these fields. My aim is to gather up these skills so that I can be eligible for any job in the labour market whenever I am ready.
I am a voracious reader but a reserved and lazy writer (laughs); literally lazy because most times when I want to write, something will just surface and I will postpone it. You know that kind of stuff but nonetheless writing is one of my hobbies. I love tourism and to top it all, Ifeoma loves singing.
You are a writer, girl child advocate, educator and peace advocate. How do you combine all these roles effortlessly?
Yes I am and I think I am doing well by God’s grace. I always tell friends and family members that there is no greater force that can drive one towards the path of success and accomplishment except passion.
I am passionate about the wellbeing of the girl child, writing, and peace advocacy and it’s something I see myself doing effortlessly because I love it and when you love something, doing it wouldn’t be a problem at all. I try to adjust my academic schedules so that my extra curricular activities can fit in and I thank God who has been giving me the strength and the support I need.
What do you love most about writing?
Writing makes me a psychologist and a creator. It is quite awesome for someone to create. So writing gives me the platform to be a psychologist and a creator. And the part I love most is how the characters you create in abstract exist in reality. This is the part where you read reviews from readers telling you, “This is/was my life story ” and sometimes, your readers merge their lives with that of your character and they live your book.
I love that writing gives you the ability to change something or someone with the writer’s abstract ideas
You published a book, ‘Echoes of Mercy.’ What inspired this story?
Echoes of Mercy is a story I wrote when I was 11 years old, being a lover of books and someone who loves to scribble stuff from a young age. There was this woman I knew back then, she came to the children department of Christ Ascension Church and cried to our head teacher to let the children pray for her because her marriage was at the verge of being destroyed. Our Sunday school teacher took some of us, the prayer warriors then to her house to pray for her. Even though I couldn’t understand every detail of her story, I knew that the husband wanted to leave her because she was too ‘churchy’. Her story struck my imagination. I wrote down moments with her in my diary then I grew with it. Even though I didn’t know what later happened in her life, that particular incident and my desire to let people out there know that God can still do wonders if you stick to Him was what inspired me and I tried to imagine how it all began in the life of that woman, the kind of man she was married to and how to deal with the husband if I was God and that was Echoes of Mercy.
How long did it take to finish writing, editing and publishing and what setbacks did you encounter while working on your book?
Eleven years old back then and now I am 22, so you can imagine. I decided to make that story into a book last year September. I wake up every morning to write down ideas and the best way to develop the story and when I was done, my publisher recommended an editor who did a great job and the book was out on December 30th 2017. So, it took me four months to develop the story and get it out there for people to read. Setbacks? Of course I had setbacks, from writing and trying to meet up with the deadline I had set for myself. There were times I had blocks. I ran out of words, the right words to express the emotions I needed the readers to feel. Then editing, I had to pay for that and he charged professionally regardless of the fact that this Ifeoma is a student. Then time was another setback. I wanted Echoes of Mercy to be out before December but fate is always a double edged sword. I thank God who made it a success
What three lessons did you learn about publishing in Nigeria while working on this project?
Honestly, I am super impressed. My publisher and the entire Words Rhymes and Rhythm team were awesome.
First is professionalism. He didn’t do any hasty work. He gave his professional advice on the cover page, on the about page and the rest. This will make every of their published work top-notch and that is absolutely fantastic.
Then transparency, they are transparent enough to make sure you get the value of whatever amount you are investing in your publishing work.
Lastly, they are united. They are in the quest to help young and aspiring writers to achieve their goals. That is to say they have been motivating people like us and that is fabulous
Echoes of Mercy is free on the OkadaBooks platform, why is it so?
It is free on Okada books because I wanted it to be in every heart. And with the testimonies lately, I think I have achieved that and I am hoping to get the message across to as many people as possible.
Who is your all-time favourite writer in Africa and why?
I love Chimamanda Adichie. That woman is an icon. I love her writing and lifestyle. I mean it is absolutely beautiful for one to remain true to her roots no matter the heights attained.
Since you have other roles, how do you fit writing into your schedule?
It is not always easy, especially when one has to manage two courses and other activities but writing is what I find myself doing even during lectures. I plan my days. When I know I am going to have a busy day, I write in the morning but other days with less activities, I write anytime of the day
Where can readers get a copy of your book?
It is available on Amazon and OkadaBooks. We are still working on getting the paperback available in book stores nationwide.
What’s your ultimate goal as a writer
My goal is to be able to solve real life problems with written words. I hope and pray for a moment where individuals out there see me and say “Ifeoma, your book changed my life,” “Ifeoma, your book made me who I am today” and so many other heart warming compliments. That will make me fulfilled as a writer