(Left: Obe Keno, Right: Mr Ayodeji)
I, Obe Keno, am excited to welcome YOU to Episode 8 of the YOUNG AND BOOKED SERIES.
Here with me today, is our guest. Meet Mr Ayodeji Ajagbe, an award-winning Author who writes with the goal of transporting his readers outside their circumstances. Of giving them something bigger to dream about.
He is going to answer TWELVE (12) very insightful questions about himself, his goals and growth as an Author in Nigeria for us, so please grab some popcorn/a friend if you can, stay tuned and ENJOY!.
Keno: (smiling brightly) A warm welcome to the YOUNG AND BOOKED Series Mr Ayodeji, thank you for having this interview.
Mr Ayodeji: (smiles) Thank you Keno, for having me as a guest on this intriguing series, this is such a special thing you’re doing on the blog and if you’re reading this, THANK YOU.
Keno: Absolutely. Hey you, yes YOU reading this, thank you for joining us in promoting the Nigerian Book Industry!. Now, let’s get into the interview proper, Mr Ayodeji, I’ll start by asking the first question we have for you today….. What does success mean to you as an author?.
Mr Ayodeji: (smiles) In my crazy fantasy, Netflix making a movie based on one of my books. More realistically, I’d just like to see people out and about, carrying a copy of my book. I’ll really feel successful when I’m able to live off my writing.
Keno: (smiles & nods) Interesting. And personally, I don’t think your Netflix fantasy is so crazy!. Question 2, What do you like best about being an author?.
Mr Ayodeji: (smiles) I like the attention and spotlight that comes with being a published author. I’ve always felt this inner need to be known. Famous is not quite what I’m going for here. Famous people are both loved and hated. I want to be more than that — An author has the ability to transport readers outside of their circumstances. To give them something bigger to dream about. To give them characters to identify with, characters that seem so lifelike and real, that you often think of them as real people. To create stories that seem real, but amazing. To create worlds that no one else would dream of.
Keno: (nods) Wow, those are some descriptions!. And they’re SO true. It’s likable that your best thing about authorship is that people get to know you through your works. Question 3, What do you think is the best way to market books in Nigeria from your experience as an author?.
Mr Ayodeji: I think the best way so far is digital marketing and I’m super grateful for the various social media platforms we have now. With Facebook, Twitter and Google, I’ve been able to reach more audiences in and outside Nigeria.
Keno: (nods) Interesting. Question 4, What message were you trying to pass to your readers through your book: “REFLECTION: RULERS AND PREYS”?.
Mr Ayodeji: (smiles) I’m not “conveying a message.” I’m a storyteller. That’s how I do it, and my books are the proper format for what I do. If I wanted to convey a message, I’d write an opinion article and get it published on blogs. Having said that, of course I embed my own moral and ethical stances in my work. But that’s because they’re fundamental to my storytelling. It is now left for my readers to take whatever they want to from my book.
Keno: (smiles & nods) Okay…. that’s a wise philosophy. Question 5, As a young author in Nigeria, what has been your greatest struggle?.
Mr Ayodeji: The first struggle is piracy. My books have been pirated and sold without my consents so many times. Sometimes I see bookstores charging exorbitant prices just to make money from my books illegally. Some readers also prefer to get badly formatted copies of my book for free online rather than go through the normal process of buying from an accredited bookstore. The second struggle is that Nigerians do not appreciate art. Especially books. I’ve sold over five hundred copies of my books and 80% of my readers are not Nigerians. I have a statistic for that.
*psst- hey reader, in the comment session, please share your thoughts about Nigerians not appreciating art—especially books*
Keno: (nods) Hmmm….. The piracy in particular must be quite infuriating. That brings me to Question 6, Why do you keep going despite those struggles you face as a Nigerian author?.
Mr Ayodeji: (smiles) I know it’s just a matter of time. Everything will fall in place in due time. I know that if I can make it out of Nigeria to a country where books are appreciated, all my struggles will be forgotten and I’ll definitely do fine as an author.
Keno: (nods) Aww…. hearing that is a bit saddening. Question 7, Did you self publish your books?. If you did not, which publishing company in Nigeria do you work with?.
Mr Ayodeji: I’m an independent (self published) author, and I’ve worked with DailyPress PLC and Commune Writers Int’l.
Keno: Okay…. Question 8, When writing a book, how do you choose your characters’ names?. Do you pick out names that have tangible meanings or that relate to the story?.
Mr Ayodeji: I select the names of my characters based on their roles, the story plot & the theme or setting. To explain this concept, if I’m writing a story set in Old Oyo empire in the 1550’s, I am not going to use English names like Johnson, Williams, or Helen. To make the story more realistic, I have to choose a native name associated with the tribe I based the setting on.
Keno: (smiles & nods) That makes sense. Hopefully it’ll be helpful to someone reading this…. Question 9, Did you ever include personal experiences in your books?.
Mr Ayodeji: (smiles) Yes, I do that in all of my books. Each of my books contain one or two secrets about me.
Keno: (nods) That’s intriguing….. Question 10, I read the book blurb on goodreads and I just have to ask, What inspired you to write your latest book: “WHAT HAPPENED TO HELEN”?.
Mr Ayodeji: (smiles) While “WHAT HAPPENED TO HELEN” is a work of fiction, the inspiration is gotten from the experiences of some people I knew growing up as a child who went through the unfortunate reality of rape and being pressured into relationships they didn’t want. Those stories have stayed with me throughout my life, and knowing how important this topic was (because of my personal connection with it) inspired me to keep on writing that book even when it was emotionally difficult for me to continue.
Keno: (nods) Wow, WHTH sounds like very a special piece of art. And I don’t know about anyone else, but I’M a Nigerian who appreciates art—especially books (smiles). Question 11, What can you pinpoint as the biggest reason why you write books?.
Mr Ayodeji: The biggest reason why I write books is because I can live anywhere and be anyone when I write. I find it interesting to explore different characters and even to figure out that the character you developed is nothing like you. I write because I have all these different ideas and notions that should be but they are not. I’m no idealist I just love living in the idea of a fantasy world where everything is to your liking.
Keno: (smiles & nods) Interesting….. And now, the LAST question, What is one thing you can proudly boast of when it comes to your books?.
Mr Ayodeji: (smiles) I am proud of, and can boast of so many things about my book, but let me just mention that my book “WHAT HAPPENED TO HELEN” was named a #1 Bestseller barely two months after publication. That same week, I was nominated as NALSS best writer of the year. It’s such an honor.
Keno: (smiles) Wow…..You must be so proud!. And you deserve it!…..Thank you, Mr Ayodeji for this interview and for being our guest on the YOUNG AND BOOKED Series.
Keno: Also, this is your invitation to join our community: @taleofthebook on Instagram if you aren’t already a part!. Are you a Nigerian who appreciates art?. Then you might want to check out Mr Ayodeji’s books: “WHAT HAPPENED TO HELEN” & “REFLECTION: RULERS AND PREYS” Enough said. (Smiles).
Did you like something? Did you learn something from reading this interview?. We’d love to hear it…Leave a comment below or SHARE with others (please ensure you do one of those)!. Sending you love as you do!♥️💐
Thank you for reading YOUNG AND BOOKED Series 1: Episode 8. You are such an AMAZING human!. See you on the next Episode!.
*If this is your first time visiting this blog, please read more about the YOUNG AND BOOKED SERIES here…..
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