#WriterSpotlight – “The depth of poetry isn’t necessarily in big words but in the mastery of stringing words together to make art.” Femi Peters

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Hello Femi Peters, please introduce yourself

I’m a man of many parts but a single core, Jesus. I’m a writer, blogger, author, and an entrepreneur. I value relationships. I am married and a serial father.

When and why did you start writing?

I started writing way back in secondary school. I remember helping classmates and friends draft love letters to their crushes and girlfriends. Then I wrote a couple of short stories in the university. I took a shine to it when I started blogging in 2007. I write because I believe a have a message to communicate.

Permit us if we are wrong but you recently entered the writing scene with the introduction of your book ‘Notes to My God’. How has the reaction been?

The reactions started with my first blog that has the same name as my debut book. It pointed that I was solving problems, that my poems were needed. The reactions from the book has been astounding, humbling and has spurred me to write more.

We hear it took 10 years to put this book together. Why did it take you so long?

Well most of the poems came between 2006-2009 but other factors came into play. I had to overcome self doubt and other people’s opinions. I had to journey from getting a publisher to self publish amongst other factors.

We know you are a blogger, when did you start blogging and what’s the biggest lesson blogging has taught you?

I started blogging in 2007. I learnt a lot of lessons, the biggest of them is that I am a solution to someone’s need. Consistent writing betters your gift. Blogging opens you up to a wider audience for a myriad of purposes of which critiquing is one.

Poetry can be therapeutic. Has it been that to you?

Poetry is beautiful in many ways. It is therapeutic for me in the sense that birthing a poem sometimes stems from a prevailing thought and I could start as a quest and end with result.

What’s your take on writing poetry that is becoming relatable as opposed to what poetry used to be? Words many people couldn’t understand because it was too ‘deep’

There are different types of poetry, different kinds of expression. The depth of poetry isn’t necessarily in big words but in the mastery of stringing words together to make art, art that convey a message.

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What do you think in your own words make a good poem?

For me what makes a good poem is one that is fluid, rhythmic, memorable and stoking.

What has putting together Notes to My God book taught you?

It has taught me go after my dreams, that my gift was given to be shared and that God is waiting at the point of our use.

Are there plans to release another book soon?

Yes, I’m working on a couple of books actually and one of them should be ready for early 2018

What challenges did you think you were not prepared for in the process of putting this book together?

For one I was hoping I would remain behind the scene and churn out the work but I find that I have to be out there speaking for the book as we are Siamese twins of some sort.

Where can readers get your book?

It’s available at Glendora, Ikeja City Mall, Patabah bookstores, Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Mall,  Jumia.com.ng and the Kindle edition is available on Amazon.com

What’s your advice to writers who have been working on a project for long and are getting tired?

It’s never too late to put it out there, stop procrastinating. The world needs to hear your voice. Your book is the solution someone is waiting for.

 

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#WriterSpotlight – “Your craft is your strongest voice in the midst of unending unrest.” Todimu Ikuyinminu

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Sparkle Writers, are you ready for today’s #WriterSpotlight? Our guest, Todimu Ikuyinminu. is a writer, poet, thespian and … a wack poet! Yeah, we asked him why he calls himself that. Find out why as you enjoy his interview with us. 

Hello please introduce yourself.

I am ‘Todimu George Ikuyinminu which is clipped as T. G. ‘Yinminu, a postgraduate degree holder of English from the English Department of the prestigious University of Ilorin. I am a professional creative, content developer and thespian who has led at different capacities and performed brilliantly well. However, I remain trainable and always open to knowledge acquisition.

Your IG handle is ‘The Wack Poet’ what inspired the title?

About theWACKpoet, erm… each time I am asked to explain why I chose this moniker, of all the more pleasant ones I could have adopted, I laugh at myself. The reason is because, in all honesty, I did not spend time to consider the choice of it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I actually thought about it but I am saying I did not realise that one day someone will ask me the rationale behind it. Well, there are two reasons for the choice of this moniker.

The first is the literal meaning of it, “the wack poet”. I have always been a shy fellow and it took a lot of time, and comments from readers, for me to be confident about my craft. Hence, I surmised that if I accept my own weakness(es) before the public spells them out to me, it will be easy for me to distance myself from the negative vibes that may come. However, ever since I summoned courage to exhibit my content, I have not received “bad feedback”. On the other axis, theWACKpoet is an acronym. It is a simple sentence, so to speak, it is simply saying: The Witty, Astute, Calm and Knowledgeable Poet. On a general note, I feel all creative writers must possess at  least one of the qualities coded in the meaning of “theWACKpoet”. A few people get this even without knowing what theWACKpoet means.

You are a creative writer, poet, public speaker, dramatist, artistic director, how do you combine all these?

First off, let me align myself with these words of the renowned poet of blessed memory, Maya Angelou who said, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

I hope you will agree with me that all these ‘shades’ of my ventures listed above revolve round the humanities; which is my educational background. They all revolve around entertainment and creative output, therefore to me, if I am writing (a speech, a lecture, a poem, a play, a dialogue) for instance, I am also indirectly preparing content for the stage; the audience; the readers; the viewers; the participants, as the case may be. For me it is always like “using one stone to kill five birds”.

However, I am able to combine all these because I feel that man is best at whatever he is talented/skilled at and loves to do. It is like being a roadside mechanic in Nigeria. A roadside mechanic in Nigeria can repair a Renault car this minute and work on a Mercedes Benz car the next minute. I hope the analogy is clear. So, in short, every venture I am engaged in indirectly helps become better at the other ventures. For instance, acting on stage gives me more confidence to face the crowd when I’m speaking at an event. Being a creative writer gives me more insight into creative/artistic directing thus as I imagine and block scenarios, I represent them to the best of my knowledge on stage and with the actors.

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In your bio we see that you have a bias for poetry, why is this so?

At a point in my growth, I never thought I was capable of writing poetry. My creative impulse started when I was in Junior Secondary School, and at that time I used to write short plays in a 60-leaves exercise book. I would give the books to a few of my classmates, mostly females, they would read and then recommend it to their friends. Then, I came about one of my neighbour’s poem, Dr. Gbenga Owojori (Ph.D a scientist) when I was in SS3. I took the poem and “edited” it. I enjoyed “editing” the poem so I decide to write one myself. It was an exciting experience. And that was how I started writing poems in exercise books hidden under my clothes in my wardrobe.

I recently got to know that writing poetry is hereditary for me because my late paternal grandmother used to write poems, and I also have a younger brother who has also been captured by the loving, soothing, and peacefully troublesome embrace of poetry.

The bias for poetry is inexplicable really, poetry is something I can do even under pressure. It is an attraction that is as easy as breathing in and out for me.

Your poetry house Aranbada hosts a poetry festival, please tell us more about it.

Let me say something brief about Aranbada Poetry House (APH) before I talk on Aranbada Poetry Festival as it will shed light on the question asked. Aranbada Poetry House is founded solely based on the need to create a platform that encourage creative arts, and creative writing, in the new generation of African (Nigerian) writers/artistes. The youth of today face many silent problems, these border on the scarcity of genuine art materials that will inspire and guide their creative ability. Aranbada Poetry House, seeks to ignite the passion for art and creativity in this generation of youths who are lured by the fantasies of the modern world to the detriment of the arts, creativity and its tendencies.

Aranbada Poetry Festival is just one of the platforms APH is offering, others include Aranbada Poetry Series (Poetry Anthology), Aranbada Poetry Magazine (poetry events, poets features), Aranbada Poetry Tutors’ Campaign, and Aranbada Poetry 1/2Hour set to kick off soon. Aranbada Poetry Festival (APFest) is a biennial art event. APFest is open to all artists, and the only criteria to partake is for the person to be an artist. APFest is more of a breeding platform for artists to interact with one another and meet mentors. Interestingly, the coming edition will, as planned, have great artistes like Professor Femi Osofisan, Professor Olu Obafemi, Professor Tanure Ojaide, Olulu and other established artists in attendance.

With the right funding, the vision of APFest is to be a national art event.

How was the reaction to the first edition?

The first edition was a huge success. It had many emerging artists in attendance and an audience strength of about 160. The first edition was held in honour of Professsor Olu Obafemi, my mentor and the President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, thus it received widespread acceptance from scholars in the academia so much that some lecturers in the host university partook as performers at the event.

You are quite outspoken on social media how has this helped improve your writing skill?

Social media, a place where anybody can be somebody. Unfortunately, I am not really as outspoken on social media as I am in person. However, one cannot underestimate the power of the social media in the 21st century clime, my presence on social media has affected my writing immensely. As a budding writer, there was a time I could not summarise my thoughts, I would write poems and I won’t stop until I literally left no room to probe the creative interpretation of the reader but when I got exposed to the social media, I had to start compacting my writing hence I got better at the use of stylistic poetic devices.

Social media also affords one the opportunity of freely accessing the works of other writers. For instance, recently, I decided to study the works of @desolape on Instagram and soon enough I composed a poem in the same fascination she has, but not in the same style she employs though.

Also there is the role of poetry prompts that circulate on social media. This at least challenges one to practice more.

Many believe writing is not financially rewarding what’s your take on this

Without mincing words, writing is not a venture that one should expect much reward from, which is quite discouraging for many emerging writers. When you sit to analyse the rate at which young people dabble into the entertainment industry just because of the fame and perceived fortune that comes with it nowadays, one would want to almost conclude that there will not be young creative writers in the nearest future, and same applies to the sciences. All the impressionable minds are running to the entertainment industry to make watery music which further destroys all sanity and decorum that the typical African society treasures.

As much as I am of the opinion that writing should not be about the financial reward but be a purgative enterprise that seeks to help shape our society better through the codification of reasonable heartfelt expressions and perceptions that will inspire the reader(s), I am not against getting some financial reward for it. It is quite disheartening that the Nigerian system has no established structure to boost the intellectual industry, thus many intellectuals lose focus and are made to diversify. I have come to the conclusion that indeed there are many creative artists in Nigeria that can mentor and raise more for the future but the mentors do not have time to do so because even the mentors are busy chasing their daily bread not to mention the fate of the mentee.

What’s the one thing you wish every creative could hear

Your craft is your strongest voice in the midst of unending unrest. Stand by it, guard it, groom it and most of all, use it. Stay true to it, it will set you free even if the world is not ready for freedom. Mind you, the leaders of today are those who have stayed true to their voice, the future already started the very day you were matured enough to think about your future.

What’s your ultimate dream as a writer?

I am sure every writer’s dream will be to be successful and renowned, yes we all want that, probably win a Laurette, or a prize. However, my ultimate dream as a writer has always been to be a writer that inspires emerging writers. It is like being a pastor who has raised many “spiritual sons”, or a Commandant who has raised many combatants ready to take on the battle field and conquer the world.

The ultimate dream is to sit in the nearest future, look back and count my blessings; the many writers that would have picked the ultimate pen because “if T. G. ‘Yinminu can do it, I can do it too”.

 

 

 

#WriterSpotlight – “With a few words carefully strung together, a broken spirit is uplifted.” Olamide Oti

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She’s a lady of few but powerful words! Olamide Oti speaks from a place of wisdom and this interveiw is a must read. This is #WriterSpotlight. Enjoy!

Hello Olamide. Can you please describe yourself in a few words?

Passionate

When did you discover that you had a passion for writing and why did you decide to follow this passion?

I discovered my passion for writing in 2013, few months after I made a decision to follow Jesus. I would say I was compelled to follow this passion because for the longest time I had always wondered what I was good at doing and once I found it I could not let go.

Can you tell us what you love most about writing?

Words are beautiful and powerful. With a few words carefully strung together, a broken spirit is uplifted.

In what ways have you grown as a writer and poet since you started writing?

I have grown in the way that I express myself, discovering my style and not trying to be like anyone else.

Shine 100% Which author/ poet (dead or alive) would love to spend a day with if given a chance and why?

Jackie Hill Perry. I love her heart and the fact that she’s a complete woman.

When you are struggling to find inspiration, can you share some of the things that you do find that inspiration to write?

I get quiet before God, I remind myself that the words come from my Father’s heart, I watch spoken word videos and I read as well.

What will you say has been your biggest achievement as a writer so far?

I would say it’s keeping my eyes on purpose.

Where would you like writing to take you in the future?

To the place where I write about the future of nations. To the gathering of Kings and Queens.

What advice do you have for people who know that they have a message to share but fear keeps holding them back?

Dive into the perfect love of your Father where fear loses its hold on you.

 

#WriterSpotlight – “I love the impact I get to make on so many lives. ” Kikelomo Woleosho

kikelomo-woleosho-6.jpgIf you know Kikelomo Woleosho from social media the way we do, then you must know two things about her- she’s a simple and beautiful woman. But that’s not all about her. She’s the Founder of the brand that takes the most breathtaking pictures of babies, Red 19. Today she talks to us about her book, “Kikelomo” and why she wrote so freely and opened herself up to readers. Enjoy. 

Hello Kikelomo, please introduce yourself.

Kikelomo is a passionate photographer who specilises in Children, Maternity and Family photography and currently runs RED19photography.

She has taught photography to over 300 adults and teenagers. She is a graduate of Chemistry Education from Lagos State University and a recipient of the World Bank scholarship for women in business.

She strongly advocates for the protection of children. She recently released her experience with sexual abuse in her free book KIKELOMO to educate people. She is the convener of Sexducate, a sexual education event.

You shared a very sensitive matter in your book, Kikelomo, what inspired you to do this?

KIKELOMO is a memoir of my experience with child sexual abuse and the struggles that followed suit. I realised that abuse usually does not stay in the past. It has a way of crawling in the future of the victim and if not properly dealt with, can destroy them.

I knew that sharing my own story will further open the eyes of parents to the effects of sexual abuse on the children so they can put more effort in protecting their children. It will help abused persons understand the effects abuse is presently having on them and the steps they can take to ensure they have the victory.

What was the writing process like for you and was there a point when you said ‘Oh No! I really can’t do this anymore’ and closed the manuscript?

The writing process was smooth initially. I was surprised about the amount of information I remembered. Then I started having relapse into masturbation and I couldn’t control my thoughts as they were running too wild. From seeking therapy, I found out that the writing was triggering old wounds and awakening me sexually. I put a stop to the writing for a while. I was not sure I would go back to it sooner than I did because I didn’t want to go back to the issues I had overcome.

Some months after I stopped, the Holy Spirit instructed me to go back to the book. He said children are being abused daily and I should not hold back from writing.

It was then I knew that the book was not my idea but GOD’s idea and I needed to see it to the end even if it means I will relapse till I finish. Interestingly, I was able to manage my body better during the completion of the book.

 

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What has the reaction been like since you released the book?

I have been getting great feedback. Testimonies from abused persons. It just suddenly seemed like everyone had been abused as a child. Parents say they now understand the need to protect their children better.

One of the first things we loved about the book was the cover design. There’s something pure about it, why did you decide to use your face for the book cover?

The cover design was shown to me by the Spirit of God. I asked Him to show me what He had in mind since the book was His idea and He did. I worked with the designer through the design prayerfully and with description till he was able to produce what I was shown. I also asked my online community what they thought about different designs similar to the final cover and they made suggestions. As soon as I posted the last cover, everyone went for it.

The cover is DIVINE. What advice would you give to writers who are having issues deciding what kind of design to go with for their book cover?

My only advice is to pray. That’s the only place I get inspiration from.

There is a common belief that getting a book published is expensive because of the different elements it involves. Is this really the reality?

KIKELOMO is my first book. I paid for different stages when I got there. The stages I could do myself, I did. I am still learning the realities there in publishing.

What advice do you have for a writer who really wants to get published but is low on funds?

Do as many things as you can by yourself. Maximize relationships around you. This is a reason why you must read Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people” and Herb Cohen’s “You can negotiate anything.” You can take the option of printing only on demand.

What do you love most about being an author?

The impact I get to make into so many lives.

Your book is free of charge! Something a number of people can’t wrap their head around, why did you make that decision?

The book KIKELOMO is not my book. It is for God. He wrote the script years before I was born and placed me into the story to take the lead role. I know the book is a solution and not a profit making scheme and He confirms it to me daily from the responses I receive every time.

How can readers get a copy of your book?

The book KIKELOMO is free on www.okadabooks.com. Signup on the site. Search for the book. Download, read and kindly send me feedback. 

 

 

 

#WriterSpotlight – “I have a story to tell in a way nobody else can say it.” Oyesiji Oyedolapo

 

md4We have a musician and writer in the Hub today! Who’s excited? Oyesiji Oyedolapo is a bundle of skills. As a musician and writer, he is setting loose his creativity in the most simple ways.  

Hello Oyedolapo, please introduce yourself

I am Oyesiji Oyedolapo, a native of Oyo State and a graduate of Sociology and Anthropology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, State of Osun. I just finished my postgraduate program from the same institution and department, specialized in Criminology. I write inspirational articles, poems and songs. I’m passionate about what I do. I love God and His people. I’m a fan of creative albeit simple write-up and I see writing as a gift God blessed me with.

How did you discover your love for writing?

I have always kept a diary since I was little but I wasn’t bold enough to share it with people. I’m the reserved type so I try to capture my thoughts and pen down my imaginations even the awkward ones. I use my mind a lot. Smiles.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get my inspiration from God and everything around me.

We know that apart from writing you are a singer. Do music and writing have anything in common?

Yes, I believe they do. Music entails giving rhythms to words. So I believe a lot of deep and creative efforts must be geared towards the two. A good musician should strive to be a good writer, that way it will help in letting the story out the same way it was conceived.

Did you face any challenges in your journey and how were you able to overcome them?

I had fears at first and it almost crippled my writing. It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that I write well; that was the beginning of my freedom.

What do you love most about what you do?

The ability to bring people into my world, that’s amazing. I call it walking people through the architecture of my mind.

As a creative person, what are some of your frustrations with the way art is viewed in Nigeria?

The good thing is the awareness for art is getting stronger and I believe in years to come it would have gotten much better. So, let’s stay with the positives for now. 

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Creative people are more often than not taken for granted because people do not understand the amount of time and effort they put in their work. What do you think can be done to change this?

Lol. Yes, you are right, especially those whose write-ups seem simple. With time people will come to appreciate it. The writer must keep on writing and setting loose the creativity.

What is the most important lesson writing has taught you?

That I have a story to tell in a way nobody else can say it.

What advice do you have for people who know that they have a message to share but fear keeps holding them back?

Break out of the fear. The world needs to hear that story locked up in your imaginations. It is beautiful and you are beautiful.

 

 

 

 

#WriterSpotlight – “When you have a story that is so compelling you owe it to the world to share with the world.” Osayi Lasisi

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Hello Sparkle Writers, its Thursday and time to meet another amazing writer. Today’s guest is a writer, marketing strategist and author. We can’t wait to reveal all we learnt from her interview. 

Hello Osayi. Can you please describe yourself in a few words?

Hello. I am a passionate Marketing Strategist who is particularly excited about what we can accomplish with digital marketing. You can find out more about me and connect with me – OsayiLasisi.com or youngishpro.com

At what point did you decide you wanted to become an author and why?

Being a writer is about getting your message out, and sharing your passions with the world. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. As a matter of fact, even before I was writing I spent my free time amusing my family members with stories and tall tales. By the way, writing and publishing a book is an excellent marketing strategy for anyone who wants to be seen as an expert.

Your book ‘Your First Virtual Summit’ became an Amazon bestseller. How were you able to achieve this?

Well the first book I published on Amazon was “Impossible is Stupid.” I learned everything I needed to do with that process, and so every book I have written since then has been pretty simple. The main thing is coming up with the idea and then sharing your passion with others.

Let’s talk about getting published. What difficulties did you face and how were you able to overcome them?

Getting published is getting easier and easier now.

Whenever people ask me about how to get published I just ask them if they have anything that they are passionate about, and if they are willing to do the work to share that message with others.

If you’re willing to do the work – writing, editing, publicizing – then it won’t be as difficult as it seems.

The hardest part is coming up with the idea that you are willing to do all the work that you need to do to create a successful book.

There is a common belief that getting a book published is expensive because of the different elements it involves. Is this really the reality?

Publishing a book can be expensive.

It depends on who the audience (potential reader) is, and how you plan to get it to them.

If you will be going digital, then there are so many options that don’t need you to invest too much. But if you need hard copies of the book then you have the option of getting a publisher or self-publishing – and that’s where someone has to pay for printing the hardcopy of the book (you or your publisher).

What advice do you have for a writer who really wants to get published but is low on funds?

When there’s a will, there’s a way.

Write something compelling.

Write a story that resonates with people.

And you will find a way to get it published.

Can you tell us what you love most about being an author?

The main thing I love about being an author is the opportunity to share my ideas and the thoughts in my head with the world. My second favourite thing is having the opportunity to establish myself and my clients as experts.

What is the most important lesson writing has taught you?

I’ve learned to appreciate reading – because I know it was someone, just like me, who chose to sacrifice their time so that they can leave a little bit of themselves behind, by sharing their thoughts with the rest of the world.

Which author (dead or alive) would love to spend a day with if given a chance?

Hmmm that’s a great question. I would probably want to spend some time with Seth Godin because his books about marketing, and life are quite insightful. But I probably wouldn’t want to spend too much time with any of the authors I admire because sometimes it’s easy to build people up in your mind and then get disappointed when you find out that they are just normal human beings.

What advice do you have for people who know that they have a message to share but fear keeps holding them back?

Well first thing is that I believe everyone, every single person has a message to share. With that said I would recommend that you read the book the War of Art, because it will help you to realize that every single book you’ve read came from someone who was equally afraid. And my final recommendation would be that when you have a story that is so compelling that you can’t sleep without thinking about it, and you just keep thinking and thinking about it, then you owe it to the world to share with the world, because it means that we need it, we need you.

#WriterSpotlight – “With words you can build, you can give hope, you can ignite and you can destroy too.” Aderonke Moyinlorun

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She may be young but what she has achieved is incredible. Author of eight books, publisher and speaker, Aderonke  Moyinlorun is our guest on today’s #WriterSpotlight. Enjoy. 

Hello Aderonke. Can you please describe yourself in a few words?

My name is Aderonke Moyinlorun. I’m a writer, a publisher and a motivational speaker. I’m also the CEO of Starling Empire which birthed Starling Books and Starling Films.

At what point did you decide you wanted to become an author and why?

I knew I wanted to become an author since I was a child. I started writing short stories and poems when I was eight years old. I would write stories in all my school notebooks and I’d get in trouble with my teachers but it never stopped me. I’ve always known I wanted to write. I was born to do this.

You are a one-time best seller on Amazon. What book achieved this feat and how were you able to achieve this?

Yea, my book ‘When Love Hurts’ was an amazon eBook bestseller. I wish I could tell you exactly how I achieved this, but honestly, it was a bunch of different things that I did. The most important is that the story sold itself. It was my first attempt at romance story and if there’s anything reviewers say about my romance stories, it’s that they are emotionally intense, and heart wrenching. So I think the story sold itself as did every book I wrote after it.

Besides that, I did a lot of marketing. I gave out a lot of free copies. I approached well known book bloggers and asked them to read and review my book. And I did some few paid adverts. I also have the best and most supportive readers. I had a Ronke team on social media which consist of ten of my loyal readers  and their goal was to repost and share everything about the book. In exchange for their support, they are always the first to read my next book.

You have authored eight books! This is no mean feat. How were you able to achieve this?

By being disciplined, dedicated, persistence and patient. And also thanks to the fact that I never run out of stories to write. There’s always a story in my head all the time. But I do a lot of things and run a lot of businesses, I only have little time to write. If not, I would have more books than that.

Let’s talk about getting published. Why did you decide to float your independent publishing company Starling Book?

Honestly, there are more than one reasons why I chose to start Starling Books. First is I believe that my destiny is in my hands. That I can do just about anything if I put my mind to it. That I can be whoever I want to be if I work hard at it. That I can touch the skies if I’m willing to take the leap. More than anything else, this is why I like making things happen for me instead of relying on anybody else or any organisation. 

Second was that I had approached one or two publishing company and they rejected my manuscript because they thought I was too young and I didn’t have a lot of readers yet. They didn’t give me an opportunity, so I created the opportunity for myself. That was how I started Starling Books. I was barely 20 years old when I started.

What difficulties did you face in getting this company to start off and how were you able to overcome them?

I had a lot of difficulties. I was entering an unknown territory. I knew how to write but publishing was a whole different ball game entirely. I made a lot of mistakes. I did a lot of research and I had to learn on the job. One major difficulty that I faced was marketing. I was able to overcome this by always coming up with a new idea to market. And I realized that marketing is a continuous process. You are never done. But really, I’m glad I was able to get better at this publishing thing. 

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There is a common belief that getting a book published is expensive because of the different elements it involves. Is this really the reality?

I would say Yes and No. Maybe in the past, it was expensive. But presently, things keep getting better and I know they will continue to get better. We can publish a book as an e-book and people can read on phones and laptops. Last time I checked it cost zero Naira to publish an e-book, both on Amazon and Okadabooks. And e-book sales are really encouraging.

Getting a book in print used to be very expensive because you are required to have hundreds of thousands of Naira to print one thousand copies. But these days, there are print-on-demand printing companies everywhere. If you need to distribute fifty copies and fifty copies is all you have money to print, you can order the fifty copies. If you have money for another ten copies, you can order again at another time.

So, really, in my opinion, things are getting better. You just have to know where to look and have access to the right information.

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What advice do you have for a writer who really wants to get published but is low on funds?

Start with eBooks. It is completely free to publish an eBook. Don’t stop trying to get your books in print either. Work hard. Save. Approach people for sponsorship if you have to. Contact publishers. Good publishers don’t ask you for money to publish your books. They pay you to publish your books. Just keep trying. It will happen for you.

Can you tell us what you love most about being an author?

What I love most most about being an author is the opportunity to touch people’s lives and make a difference. I’m amazed by the number of people that send me messages everyday about how my books touch them. I find a sense of fulfillment in that.

What is the most important lesson writing has taught you?

Writing has taught me that words are powerful. With words you can build, you can give hope, you can ignite and you can destroy too. So I’m extra careful how I use words.

What do you love about The Sparkle Writer’s Hub?

What I love most about The Sparkle Writer’s Hub is the blog posts, especially posts that revolves around creativity and getting inspiration to keep writing.

Which author (dead or alive) would love to spend a day with if given a chance?

Aderonke Moyinlorun. Yea, I’m full of myself like that. LOL

What advice do you have for people who know that they have a message to share but fear keeps holding them back?

What you are afraid to do is a clear indication of what you need to do. Do it now.

#WriterSpotlight – “Start where you are, a small focus group, your social media pages, blog etc. Do not let fear hinder you.” Morenike Vincent

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We are extremely honoured to feature the amazing Morenike Vincent on today’s edition of #WriterSpotlight. She’s an accountant, writer and first time author! If you are thinking of publishing your book soon, here’s yet another writer you can learn from. Her tips are so practical. Enjoy! 

Who is Morenike Vincent?

My name is Morenike, I am a lover of God and people, a wife,a sister, daughter, friend. I love to help people to be  awake to the lives they have been called of God to live. I am a Chartered Accountant currently working as an Auditor.

I am the founder of She’s Connected Family Life network, a platform for ladies who desire to establish God’s design for family here on earth, growing together to mirror the phenomenal woman in Proverbs 31.

I have a heart to prepare the next generation for life and living, an evangelist of academic and life excellence, hence the book and platform Academic Excellence.

Since you have a 9-5 and run a ministry, how do you find time to write?

Well for me, writing is not a hobby, it more like I must give expression to what God has put in my heart via writing. Some days words come to my heart and so I just write on my notepad or on my phone. But really and truly, you will create time for what is important to you.

Congratulations on the release of Academic Excellence. Take us through the journey of writing and publishing it.

Thank you. For me it is a huge honor God chose me to bring forth this book through, I was just the vessel. In 2016 May I felt in my heart that I should organise an online seminar for teenagers and young adults so I told my friend Raquel, we designed a flier and shared on social media for 5 days before the event and to my outermost surprise, over 170 teenagers and young adults, Edu consultants participated in the 3 hour WhatsApp seminar on Academic Excellence.  When we were almost done, I told them if they stayed on the group I will share for the next 30days (throughout the month of June) on Academic Excellence. It was a very demanding move for me because I really don’t remember ever doing anything consistently for 2weeks let alone 30days! But by God’s grace I did it. Some days I would be so tired from work and on one day, I didn’t post till a few minutes to midnight. It was truly a stretching experience for me and very fulfilling because the teenagers learnt a lot and were inspired. The daily posting on the WhatsApp group throughout June 2016 formed the core content for the Book.

So from June 2016 to the eventual release of the book May 28 (the anniversary of their first seminar) I updated the content of the days, I reached out to people to share their story, one of which was Bimbo Oyeyi, a lady who I had told in 2010 that I would write a book on academic excellence and share her story.

From editing, to book design, to deciding to self-publish, to printing runs, publicity, for a first time author it was truly an experience, but one I am grateful for and thank God I have a very supportive husband who is my major driver, he kept me on my toes especially with deadlines and milestones.

Since the book was released, what has been the reaction so far?

I am truly thankful as all the teenagers who came for my book launch got the book for free courtesy some generous people. The feedback from people who have read it have been heart-warming and fulfilling. You see my dream is to put the book in the hands of every teenager and young adult in Nigeria because I believe it will help, not just to improve academic performance, but also self-leadership and life in general.

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It took you about eight years to write, what kept the dream going?

GOD! See it was not by my might.  I was a 300 level student in Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and I was in the academic committee for my department fellowship. I used to write articles and counsel my class mates on academic excellence and mindsets toward academics generally. Then one day, as I was writing yet another article, I heard in my heart, “This will form pages of a devotional”. I got two notebooks to get started, but it just did not happen, till today, those two notebooks are still with me, they attest to the faithfulness of God. At every phase in my life, from graduation, to NYSC, to workplace, to marriage, I knew that one day I will write a book on Academic Excellence. Initially the title I had was “Ruling and reigning in the Academic domain”. There were many days I cried, because I felt I had let God down by not writing. But “in the fullness of time” the avenue was open to write and today we have the book. When I think about it all, I still am teary-eyed. It’s more than a book for me, it is a testament of the faithfulness of God. And yes! Your dreams are valid.

What lessons has writing this book taught you?

This experience taught me a number of things, one of which is to lean on God through every twist or turn, so make Him your source. Another is if you demand excellence, you will get it, so do not compromise. Then, deadlines and follow up, this is not a strong area for me, so my husband was so helpful here, helping me realize that once one deadline is not met, it affects other things. I learnt that many people are on the other side of my obedience and so I must be quick to obey God and do so completely. I picked many other life lessons on this journey.

Is there any chance of you leaving accounting to do writing full time?

Well I cannot say for now, as God leads, I follow. For now He’s given me the grace to do both, so why don’t I enjoy it and maximize it.

What do you love most about being a writer?

I usually tell people that I do not consider myself a writer, because it’s not for pleasure. I believe I must write, because God wants to reach people and my writing and speaking give Him expression.

There is this one time I can vividly remember, I wanted to do something, but then felt a block, I tried to fight it, but then I just picked my phone and words began to flow. It was like I felt the words form in my heart and I needed to give expression. So I obeyed, and I sent it out to my contacts on Blackberry Messenger. Immediately I received a message saying, “Oh God, Reni thank you, thank you so much. I so needed that.” For me this is fulfilling.

The book is loaded with special content: study plan, Q/A with a lecturer, academic excellence nuggets, devotional content, academic excellence stories. Why N1, 000? Don’t you plan to profit from its sales?

Yes it’s a loaded book, it’s 150 pages. I see the book as gift to the next generation. I decided to focus on value and not profit. My heart prays that it reaches the hands of the intended users (every teenager and young adult). I also needed to look at my target audience. Why will I write a book that my audience cannot afford to buy? It’s not to make a name as an author, but to impact lives. I believe the book will do that.

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What do you say to parents wondering why they should buy your book for their teenager?

“The greatest impact we can make is to invest in the lives of they to whom we will pass the life baton to. Think posterity.” You will have no regrets getting this book for your teenager. In fact, do not just stop there. Look for more teenagers around you, schools around you and even your Alma Mater, and put this book in the hands of every teenager in your sphere of influence. The book was written from my heart, and will transform your teenager, that I am sure.

What advice do you have for someone who has a story to tell but is afraid to write it in a book?

Well, you really do not need to write a book honestly, if you do not feel in your heart to do so. But by all means, just start. You really do not know how many lives are hinged to yours. One thing I know is God doesn’t waste pain, especially when you commit it all to Him. Start where you are, a small focus group, your social media pages, blog etc. Do not let fear hinder you.

How can readers get copies of this book?

The primary sales point is over my website.

And we deliver nationwide. The book is also available at

We are working to activate other bookstores and contact persons.

The book is also available in E-book version on

We are working on other online platforms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#WriterSpotlight – “I am a silent type, I talk, but not serious talk. My writing speaks for me.” Bankole Wright

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Welcome to another #WriterSpotlight on The Sparkle Writer’s Hub. Bankole Wright is a writer and editor and we are glad to feature him today. We hope you learn a thing or two from his interview. 

Hello Bankole. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

Hello. Ok I am Bankole Wright, a graduate of Lagos State University where I studied English, majored in Literature. I am a writer, a book editor and a growing academic. I have a deep passion for teaching and writing. I love talking literature and creative writing, I love the fact that I create stories, both those that exist and those that don’t.

How did your journey as a writer begin?

Writing started at age 14, then I used to write juvenile love poems which usually ended in dustbins. I wrote songs as well. I just wrote because that was where I found fulfillment and joy. Growing up, I became conscious of my ability to create stories, and the fulfillment I derived from writing. Then I took writing more seriously, I began to write poems for several poetry sites such as Poetrysoup. I also wrote stories and articles at naija stories. I wrote at Pulse Ng where I was a blogger, then I started writing for OYA magazine till now.

What do you love most about writing?

Writing makes me feel like a god, genius and immortal. I am a silent type, I talk oh, but not serious talk, so my writing speaks for me.

In what ways has your writing grown since you stated writing?

For me, my writing  has really improved as a result of the frequent writing engagements I have had over time. They have pushed me to study deeply and I practice all I read to the letter.

Where do you get inspiration from when you want to write a story?

I derive inspiration from everything around me, both tangible and intangible. I observe tinniest details.

There are people who believe that writing can never be financially rewarding. What are your thoughts about this?

(Smiles), concerning finance, writing rewards. You need to create a niche for yourself to the point that you alone will be preferred and patronized. As a writer, if you work hard, you will be richly rewarded.

What lessons have you learnt since you started managing Oya magazine?

Hard Work, oh I have really learnt hard work. Also I learnt commitment and dedication, loyalty and consistency. OYA magazine has really built me and is still building me.

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What is your ultimate dream as a writer?

My ultimate dream as a writer is to be an influential one whose works are reputable and internationally acknowledged.

Do you think you will ever retire from writing?

(laughs). Writing is my life, retiring is like dying.

It’s one thing to write and another to help others edit books, how did you upgrade your skill?

I simply schooled myself in it. I got books on editing, I studied and I practiced and then I started helping friends for free, with time I was getting paid.              

Aside from writing, what are your other hobbies?

Aside writing, I read. I love reading a lot, like a real lot. I read anything and everything. I actually have a boring life to some people, but believe me, this is the life I choose.

Any advice for other writers out there?

Writing isserious business and it is a venture of the intelligent and disciplined. Also, don’t get caught up in trying to impress, just love what you do and do it with excellence.

 

#WriterSpotlight – “I hope that through my work, the world will understand love, practice kindness and experience peace.” Ibe Blessing

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With every writer, there is fresh insight, undiluted truth and wisdom for ages. Blessing’s interview is not any different. This is #WriterSpotlight. Enjoy! 

Hello Blessing, please introduce yourself.

I am Ibe Blessing Chiamaka, a medical student of Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti state. I hail from Imo State.

How long have you been writing for and what have you learnt in these years?

I have always been writing since secondary school days although it was neither consistent nor fantastic. However, I actively picked up writing sometime last year and it peaked during the African Writers’ February steps. Before now, my major excuses for not writing were lack of time and things to write about. So far, I have come to an understanding that I have all the time I need only if I can spend less time on frivolities. Again and more importantly, I have learnt to see everything around me as a potential subject for my write-ups. Indeed, what to write about is everywhere around.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

While growing up, my mom bought us books pertaining to assorted areas of life. As the days rolled by, I discovered that my thoughts and ideologies formed on the basis of things I read about. Those words spurred in me desires, passions and hopes. The power in those words left me with no option than to propel myself towards who and what I  wanted to be.

Where do you get inspiration from?

I really can’t say my inspiration comes from anything specifically because most times any object, person or situation can quicken my emotions and intellect enough to make me write.

You seem to love sharing your work on Instagram, what inspired it?

My love for sharing my work on Instagram started during the February steps organised by African Writers. Prior to that time, I was not active on Instagram since I didn’t take lots of pictures but posting my work on Instagram exposed me to a novel idea of combining pictures with write ups. I loved the creativity and the audience it attracted.

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

I am greatly skilled in the act of procrastination and I am abysmally willing to give it up in order to be a better writer.

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Apart from writing, what are your other hobbies?

I enjoy crafts, cooking and reading.

Have you ever been rejected as a writer, if yes please tell us about it.

I  have not experienced much of rejections especially because I’ve not been submitting my write-up for publications but one experience that I can remember happened during my secondary school days. I was selected to participate in an essay competition. Truthfully, I gave my time and energy to writing it. I met several superiors to proofread it, I made corrections over and over again and I was certain to at least come out successful after all I had come out tops in more challenging ones that I least prepared for. But then, not only did I not come out tops, I got a ridiculous score that made me have an utmost dislike for those figures for a while. I could not fathom what mistake(s) I made that warranted such a sad score. I decided never to participate in other competitions and immediately concluded that I wasn’t just good enough for the whole ‘writing thing’. Fortunately, I did not wear the sad demeanour for as long  as I thought I would. The reason is simple. I was stuffed with encouragement from everyone and everything. Every word seemed to replace a unit of sadness with the extra words floating on the new happiness I had acquired.

What is your ultimate dream as a writer?

I hope that through my work, the world will understand love, practice kindness and experience peace.

How has your writing evolved over the years, did you do anything specific to make improvements? If yes, please share with us.

I think my writing has increased in dimensions, originality and creativity because I wrote more often, learnt from works of other writers and availed myself opportunities of joining groups where I could learn more about writing.

Do you Google yourself? Please tell us why?

Yes, I do that sometimes chiefly out of curiosity about what information the world has  about me.

If you could be anything in the world, what would that be?

I honestly would still love to be me.

If you know any writer who you feel should be featured on our #WriterSpotlight segment or you are that writer, please send an email to thesparklewritershub@gmail.com.