(Left: Obe Keno, Right: Ms Toyin.)
With great delight I, Obe Keno, welcome YOU to Episode 2 of the YOUNG AND BOOKED SERIES.
Here with me today, is our lovely guest, (DRUMROLL PLEASE!) a very special Author, Ms Oluwatoyin Ajua Odunuyi. And she is going to answer some pretty interesting questions for us, so please grab some popcorn/a friend if you can, stay tuned and ENJOY!.
Keno: (smiling brightly) Welcome to the YOUNG AND BOOKED Series Ms Toyin, thank you for having this interview.
Ms Toyin: (smiles) Thank you Keno, for having me as a guest on this amazing series, I’m a big fan of what you’re doing on this blog and to everyone reading this, THANK YOU.
Keno: Yes, thank you readers. Your support on the YAB Series means so much. Alright, to kick things off Ms Toyin, I’ll begin by asking the first question we have for you today….. What do you think “success” means for an author?.
Ms Toyin: Some think it’s monetary value, and honestly, money is nice, but I think it’s based on the reception of your book. I believe the main point of writing is for someone to enjoy your book and understand the message you are trying to pass across. For me, if anyone understands my book and I change the world through my books, I feel successful. I want to connect to my readers through my words. It’s success to me.
Keno: (nods)I like the sound of that!. Success is more than money. Question 2, How many books have you published so far?.
Ms Toyin: (smiles) I have 14 published right now. I hope to have written 30 books written before I clock 29. That’s my 5-year plan. Hopefully if laziness doesn’t take over.
Keno: (nods) 14 books published!. That’s a lot. Question 3, When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?.
Ms Toyin: So, when I was younger, I used to make up all of these scenarios in my head. I started from creating little graphics on Microsoft PowerPoint and giving them little dialogues. Then afterwards, when I got into JS1, I started making little write-ups—stories of little maids getting involved with the boss of the house. Cliché? I know, but it just made me happy, exploring my imagination. I was just a very bored kid, I really had nothing to do except make up scenarios and cause trouble. Then I grew in my craft, writing stories in multiple school notebooks. It got me in trouble with my teachers, but please who cares?. That’s when I realized that I really wanted to write stories for the rest of my life.
Keno: (astonished) Am I the only one who was surprised by the maids/bosses thing(readers that got you too right!). Anyways, I love how you’re real with us, Ms Toyin. Question 4, I hear many Authors say having to do research for a book is quite difficult for them. What part of writing a book is the most difficult for you?.
Ms Toyin: (scrunches up her face) Yeah, research is annoying because I have to get information about all that I am writing about, especially if it is something that I don’t really know much or care much about. I would have to say “writing” itself is quite difficult. I care about the process but sometimes it can be so frustrating (especially with writer’s block). I also have to deal with Imposter Syndrome….Sometimes I wish there was an application that could write for me!. Despite the struggles, I do want to write full-time. I know it’s not practical especially in this wonderful Country we live in. But I want to live a life where I just stay at home writing and of course, being a “yummy mummy” when that time comes.Writing is just amazing. Putting the words in my head into a document… it’s mindblowing, for real.
Keno: (laughs) A writing application that could read your mind and then write for you, huh!. Wouldn’t that be nice?!. (fellow writers can relate). And I think it’s great that you want to write books full-time. Question 5, Do you prefer to write fiction or non-fiction?.
Ms Toyin: (shrugs) Fiction is MUCH better, please. Non-fiction is quite hard for me. People who write non-fiction books are very talented.
Keno: Okay (we salute you non-fiction writers!) Question 6, As an Author, what advice would you give to aspiring authors in general?
Ms Toyin: Great question. To aspiring authors I’d say this: DON’T GIVE UP. No matter what. It’s one thing for your parents to support you and also your friends, but there is something called “self-support”. You need to support yourself and continue to keep the dream running. Don’t let people say “How are you doing to do it?”. Don’t let other doubts freak you out. Support and believe in yourself. Also, don’t let that little voice in your head ruin you. Because the devil comes up with words of inadequacy, don’t BELIEVE what he says.
Keno: Lovely advice. Question 7, Of all the books you have written, do you have a favorite? If yes, which is your fave?.
Ms Toyin: Oh my God. I don’t have one favorite. But I do have three that I can choose from— “QUIETUS” which is on death sentence. A topic that I really struggled to write about. “ALL FOR MY BEAUTIFUL ODD BOY”, because I put so much effort into creating it and finally, “YOURS, ALWAYS” – its a romance novel. I am a romantic at heart. I love romance novels and I love writing them, despite the stress attached to it.
Keno: Haha!. There is no genre quite like Romance. Question 8, As a young Author in Nigeria, what has been your greatest struggle and your greatest joy?.
Ms Toyin: My greatest struggle would have to be getting myself out there. I am not an influencer and I don’t have many followers so it is really hard reaching my target audience and getting people to read my book. I really don’t enjoy marketing. It’s annoying and frustrating. Marketing a book is hard, extremely hard. My greatest joy would have to be finishing a book. The joy of starting and finishing something is amazing. No one knows the silent battles one fights to bring up a masterpiece. I am grateful for writing because it has helped me with some skills. I am an excellent time manager and I am also disciplined. I’ve been writing for over 10 years now and I make sure I track my progress. I’ve made it a personal rule to write 1000 words a day. At first, I thought it was hard, but now, it’s easy to me. I sit down within the hours of 10-12 and write. It is a beautiful thing to be good at something and also to love it.
Keno: Interesting…..Question 9, Despite the struggles you face, why do you keep on writing books?.
Ms Toyin: The stories! Oh my God. I get so many stories in my head. I cannot help it. I need to write them all down. I feel it’s like haunting me if I don’t. I have given myself the duty to write all of the things I hold dear. I can’t escape it.
Keno: (nods) Wow, now THAT’S passion!. Question 10, Can you explain why you think your latest book, “All For My Beautiful Odd Boy” would beneficial to anyone who reads it in a sentence or two? And what was the reason you wrote this book?.
Ms Toyin: (smiles big) Of course. “ALL FOR MY BEAUTIFUL ODD BOY” is centered on a rural family who battles an issue—their son’s health. The reason why I wrote this book was because I wanted to write a fiction book based on autism, which is my way of increasing awareness in the world. I have an autistic brother and he has improved a lot since his diagnosis….I think about the past and how my family had to deal with misconceptions of ASD. We, like the family in the book, were not very aware. And there are families out there who don’t know what is going on with their family member and are subjecting the autistic child to various weird things…..This was not per se a personal project, I just wanted to write more on autism. There is also a theme about marriage analyzed in this book that was also written to showcase the love that parents feel for their neurodivergent children, just like the love my parents have for my little brother.
Keno: (nods slowly) If I’m to be perfectly honest, I do not know much about autism although I have come across a few autistic people. Your book sounds like it will be educational for me and others like me……It was wonderful having you with us, Ms Toyin. Thank you for this interview and for being our guest on the YOUNG AND BOOKED Series.
Ms Toyin: (smiles big) It was such a pleasure to do this with you. Thanks for having me. Dear Readers, I would LOVE to connect with you on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Keno: Also, amazing readers, Ms Toyin’s book “ALL FOR MY BEAUTIFUL ODD BOY” may contain value that you or someone you know needs…. You can also check out her other books: “YOURS, ALWAYS” and “QUIETUS”. Please follow our Instagram page @taleofthebook if you aren’t already doing so!.
Please leave a comment if you enjoyed reading this or if you learnt something from the interview! And please SHARE with others. Sending you love as you do!♥️💐
Thank you for reading YOUNG AND BOOKED Series 1: Episode 2. You are AMAZING!. See you on the next Episode!.
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