Monday, March 10, 2014
Out of Nigeria
1:59 pm edt
You are not going to believe
this, but today I received an invitation via email to participate in a Centenary Celebration and book promotion conference
in May in, of all places, Nigeria! Yes, folks, the country in Africa. See? I knew you wouldn't believe me, but it's true.
And it's all because I've been working the past two years with emerging authors and writers from that fascinating country,
editing, proofreading, and, at times, even rewriting their books. I've even helped publish a few of them through CreateSpace.
So imagine my surprise when, this morning, the invite arrives in my in-box! Well, if nothing else, it has prompted me to share
with you an online discussion I just recently had with one of my favorite Nigerian authors, Gideon Dashe.
What inspires you to write?
GD: It all started awhile back. I was driving to church when an FM radio station (Inspiration FM)
in Lagos, Nigeria aired a sermon by Myles Munroe as presented by Dan Foster, an African-American. He defined the difference
between “Job” and ”‘Work”. I needed to “work” but all I have been is a pharmacist
– and a brand manager was just a “job”. That same day, I was privileged to walk into my church’s bookshop
before services began. I discovered that Bishop David O. Oyedepo had over 50 titles to his credit and people gathered to buy
most of his books. That caught my attention again. If this man who is so busy could take the time to write books, then why
can’t I write one? And so, the journey to writing started two weeks later. An inspirational story stole my sleep for
72 hours as I birthed The Weeping Palm Tree in 2011.
LB: How has the recent turmoil in your country affected your writing? What are the major problems
facing your country today? Better yet, what are the major good things?GD:
Nigeria is the giant of Africa
blessed with many resources. If it coughs, the whole continent will catch cold. It is a very active nation and historians
find very difficult to keep track of her events. My inspiration is a mix of my experiences as a village boy and the socio-political
happenings of the modern day. The Mhiship people have not been written about in any modern journal and so it behooves me to
tell the world about them and also to inspire the younger generation about the benefits of education. I am a proud product
of the white missionaries that brought education along with Christianity to Africa. Right now, my state, Plateau State, is
suffering from a religious crisis that no one could have foretold. This has inspired my second book, Spine of Peace, with its plot weaving around Boko Haram insurgents.
LB: What prompted you to decide to run for office?
Dr. Daniel Kutchin, a
Nigerian nuclear physicist based in Germany, wanted to set up a political structure that would enable him to for the governorship
of my State in 2015. He came across my first book, got in touch with me, and my initiation started. Dr. Kutchin wanted to
bring in people with an educated background and with clean records that could help his campaign. I was eventually appointed
the Director General of his support group. But, still, that didn’t give me a hint that I may run for an office until
a group of concerned youths paid me a visit during the Christmas break and urged me to enter the contest. I am currently testing
my popularity. If the general populace sees me as a worthy candidate, then I will run for the office of Senator.
LB: What is the most significant message in Spine of Peace that you'd like your readers to hear
and act upon? Why?
GD: Spine of Peace is my contribution to peaceful coexistence amongst humans in the world regardless of your
religious background – because we all know that the humans started from Adam and Eve. In my own judgment, I feel that
Boko Haram is a reincarnate of Maitatsine in Nigeria. In my opinion, this is why the religious crisis in Plateau State has
lingered. People have been hurt, but they have not been appeased properly.
Tell us a little about your life in Nigeria. Are you part of a "tribe"? But you live in a modern city, yes? A bit
of cultural background would be really interesting.
Spine of Peace and a little of what Dimka, the main protagonist, went through
was partially my earlier life. I was born in the city, moved to the village, then was schooled partly in the city. Now I live
totally in the city, paying visits once in a while for my philanthropic engagements. The years that I lived in the village
from 1987 to 1995 made who I am today. I will never forget the pains of the villagers, but I still respect their contentment,
honesty, and brotherliness despite their social travails. I am now a pharmacist and a brand manager for Fidson Healthcare
Plc here in Lagos.
LB: If you could tell us in the United States the most important
thing we should know and understand about Nigeria, what would it be? And why?
GD: The United States should not be deceived by the media which portrays Nigeria as a very
backward nation. It is far from it. The story of the Yorubas tribes from the Western Nigeria is different from the Igbos tribe
from the Eastern Nigeria. I am from the Middle-Belt which is culturally and socio-economically different from the western
and eastern parts of my country. If you have been to any part of Nigeria without visiting all of the six (6) geo-political
regions, then your summation about Nigeria will not be totally correct. I will tell you that even Chimamandah Ngozi Adichie
doesn’t know much about my people. Likewise, I don’t know much about Igbos. Just last week, the country celebrated
her centenary of amalgamation of the south and the north protectorates to form the united country called Nigeria.
LB: Are your narratives based upon real life events or are they pure fiction, from your imagination?GD:
My narratives are a fusion of fiction and real-life events. Even though the real life events are not exactly as written except
for the Maitatsine and their background in Spine of Peace, they aided my
imagination towards the point I wanted to make at the end of the story.
Who are your favorite writers/authors? Why?
Khaled Hussain, Bishop David O. Oyedepo, Chimamanda Ngozi, and Chinua Achebe. Their books are un-put-down-able.
LB: What is the last book you've read?
GD: I am currently reading two books. And The Mountains
Echoed by Khaled Hussain and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi.
LB: What book(s)/novel(s) has (have) most influenced your writing and your life?GD:
GD: The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hussain and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
LB: Your first novel is being made into a movie. Relate a bit about that experience. How is it
going? Will it be released here in the United States? When?
GD: There is now a movie script for The Weeping Palm
Tree. I took out a bank loan to purchase some costumes from the US so that we wouldn’t have these sub-standard
effects we sometimes see in African movies. We have had auditions and casts were selected, but lack of sponsorship betrayed
that dream. I am a goal setter and a go-getter, so I know it will someday be shot and premiered to the world. But, again,
the sponsorship has been a big challenge. I will tell you that the adaptation and the suspense and actions in “Borlong”
– the title of the movie – spurs me on to keep faith that the world would one day celebrate a movie that is fresh
LB: General comments? What would you most like to say?
GD: America is indeed helping any willing person or group
to achieve their dreams. I am one of her partners through CreateSpace and work with June J. McInerney whose calmness, maturity,
trust (despite corruption allegations against Nigerians), and professionalism in editing and proofreading has encouraged my
passion to continue writing because someone will help to bring my work to international standard. June fascinated me by speaking
a few words of my dialect because she just not only reads and edits, but also enters the story of her writers.
LB: Anything else?
Na gode. Meaning, I thank you.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
White House Intrigue
12:12 pm est
If nothing else, Jennifer Chiaverini is prolific. Along with over twenty novels in her Elm Creek Quilts
series, all written in less than ten years, she has also produced numerous companion quilting books and has even designed
her own line of fabrics. Her readership has gone beyond the niche of quilters to capture the hearts and imaginations of many
other diverse readers around the world. And as if this isn't enough, she is now gracing the world of historical literature
with novels set during the Civil War era, writing about little-known characters who were, until this author started to highlight
them, mere footnotes on the pages of history.
Her latest, Mrs. Lincoln's Rival , is just as intriguing, if not more so, then her last offering, The Spymistress , which I reviewed here last year. Unlike its predecessors – the first in the "series"
was Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker, which I also reviewed – this third has more of a "novel" feel to it, although Chiaverini still drapes her
words and characters upon the skeleton of well-researched real-life historical events. But Mrs. Lincoln's Rival is not as cut and dry as the first two; although they were decently good reads. This novel revolves around the life and times
of Katie Chase Sprague who, as the title states, became Mrs. Lincoln's societal nemesis during her husband's presidency. With
its political and society intrigues, this narrative is, for sure, an eye-opener.
Tell you what – rather than
me rambling on about yet another good read from one of my most favorite authors, why don't you just traipse on over to www.authorexposure.com and read my review comments for yourself. It – the book – is one you don't want to miss.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
2:32 pm est
Attention all you die-hard mystery fans out there...there is a new British author on the scene.
Okay, relatively new, because The Back Road is actually her second novel. But that's okay, because I
haven't yet read the first and to me Rachel Abbott is a new, imaginative, and refreshing author. I'm adding her to the list
of my top five favorite suspense/thriller writers that includes Charlotte and Aaron Elkins, Valerie Martin – okay, she
is more of an historical novelist, but her last one was, indeed, mysterious – and our own hometown favorite, Lisa Scottoline.
However, unlike the lighter Elkins
or Scottoline storylines that are airily touched with intellectual humor, The Back Road is in some respects darker and more sinister. And its storyline
is a twisted, convoluted maze of plots and sub-plots replete with more characters than you can count on your page-turning
fingers. And, yes, folks, this is a page-turner.
Whisk you way to www.authorexposure.com to read my review. And then settle by the fire in your front
room this weekend to read The Back Road.
Friday, February 21, 2014
12:07 pm est
Dreams I've always been
fascinated by all things nautical - especially sea chanteys and mysterious tales. One of my secret dreams is to live in a
small port on a remote coastline or even on an island where I could walk my hound every morning to the beach where we would
watch the various ships and boats sail by and wonder where they were coming from, where they were going.
Another secret dream is to book passage on an Irish tramp steamer
that sails around the world, to anywhere cargo needs to be. On such a voyage, you don't know from port to port where you're
going next. It all depends on what needs to be brought where...wine from Italy to New Orleans, where bales of raw cotton are
to be shipped to Thailand, where finished clothing is destined for London or Paris. So, depending on the next destination,
it might be weeks, months, even years before you return home again. Imagine the thrill, the adventure, the mystery of not
knowing where you’re going next – not to mention all that time at sea to read and write and just be...
Okay, couple these two dreams with my recent penchant
for an occasional really good mystery, and you've got the perfect formula for reading Valerie Martin's latest historical mystery,
The Ghost of the Mary Celeste . This haunting and moving novel captured my heart and mind last week, dredging up from the depths my secret dreams of being
close to, if not on the sea.
on over to my review at www.authorexposure.com and see why.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
3:02 pm est
Okay, today's brief entry is about a book entitled Ruby. Only it's not about Ruby, the programming language, but a novel about Ruby Ball, who grows up to become the town whore of
Liberty Township, Texas and the object of the affections of one Ephram Jennings.
A word of warning: This is not
the kind of novel, although stunningly written, that you'd want to read to idle away an evening. It is not even an enjoyable,
nor pleasurable story, although it is an intriguing and gripping tale of a man (Ephram) who would do anything to be with the
woman (Ruby) he loves. If you are faint-heartened, Ruby will give you nightmares. However, if you are brave enough, it will keep you gripped in the vise, and vice, of its haunting
tale, and will feed you grissly disturbing food for thought.
If you're even mildly curious, follow the link to
www.authorexposure.com and read my review comments. Then drum up the courage to read this intriguing first novel from a very talented young author.
J. McInerney is an author, poet, and librettist.
currenty published works include a book of spiritual inspirations, two volumes of poetry, stories for children (of all ages) and a variety of
children's musicals. Her titles include:
of Oreigh Ogglefont
The Basset Chronicles.
Cats of Nine Tales
Water: A Collection of Poems
Exodus Ending: A
Collection of More Spiritual Poems
We Three Kings
Beauty and the Beast
Peter, Wolf, and Red Riding
Originally from the New York metropolitan area, June currently lives near Valley Forge Park in Pennsylvania with her constant and loving companions, FrankieBernard and Sebastian Cat. She
is currently working on her first novel.
June's books be purchased at amazon.com or through Barnes and Noble.
For more information about her musicals, which are also available on amazon.com,