I had the privilege of interviewing Amaka Azie, an exciting new author who writes contemporary romance fiction set in Africa, just like me! We met on Facebook. Yes, social media is amazing …
Please tell us something about yourself.
A: I was born in Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa. A middle child, with four siblings. I’m also a twin (I have a twin brother). I currently reside in England with my husband and daughters, where I practice as a part-time family doctor.
How did you get into writing?
A: It has always been a dream of mine since I was a teenager. I enjoyed reading a lot and would sometimes forget to eat because I was engrossed in a book, much to my mother’s irritation. My interests in writing intensified when I joined the press club in secondary school. I was responsible for putting up interesting news articles to read on assembly. This pushed me to also write short stories I passed around in class. I remember my classmates queuing up to read my stories.
I continued to ruminate about writing for a long time until I met a publisher last year, who encouraged me to follow my dreams. I have not looked back since then.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
A: I usually start off with an idea, write it down and then gradually work out how the plot progresses. I sometimes use flashbacks to give the characters depth. So that people can understand the characters more. A few times, the plot has taken a mind of its own and led me to a path very different from what I had originally planned. I guess sometimes, a story can take over the writer.
What inspires you to write?
A: Real life situations. I am a romance writer, but I like to integrate real life situations and struggles into my stories. I think everyday experiences of regular people are potential ideas for many stories.
I am a good listener, and I have found that people, even strangers, open up to me about their lives. Sometimes just seeing the emotions from people telling me their stories, puts an idea in my head.
Music is another inspiration. The song “I put a spell on you” by Nina Simone has filled my head with various ideas.
Who is your all-time favorite character (from your books) and why?
A: Chuma Obi, from Thorns and Roses. He is a complicated man, who has insight to his character flaws. He knows he is obsessive, manipulative and controlling. He sometimes tries to fight his natural obstinate behavior but fails most times.
He is also a kind, caring and loyal person, who will go all out to fight for people he cares about. I love that about his character. He never wants to see anyone he loves struggling.
Do you prefer coffee or tea?
What’s better than chocolate?
A: Cocktails… I’m a sucker for cocktails…
If you believed in this sort of thing and could channel an artist from the beyond, who would it be and why?
A: It would be Fela Kuti, a late Nigerian musician. He did not care what people thought about him. He spoke the truth about injustice through his music and was arrested by the Government multiple times.
I would channel his fearlessness and courage to speak the truth no matter what.
What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in five years?
A: Hopefully with a Nigerian Writers Award… hahaha. And more bestsellers under my belt of course!
Any advice for those aspiring novelists out there?
A: Keep writing. Don’t give up. No one will read your stories if you don’t write. Also, don’t start out thinking about money. Start out with a burning desire to share your story.
Thanks for your time, Amaka! I’ll be reading Thorns and Roses, that’s for sure!
How can your readers contact you?
You can interact with Amaka Azie on: