Meet an author: Olunosen Louisa Ibhaze
Olunosen is a writer who loves writing stories about gender issues and women’s social and cultural experiences. She has two published novels (Truly, Deeply published in May 2005 by Publish America, Authentic Mama published in February 2016 by Paperworth Books), a collection of short stories (Purple Mangoes published in May 2017 by Bahati Books UK) and a free verse collection (Winds Of My Sahara independently published in 2017). She also has online journals on the World Pulse Project, African Writer, Naija Stories and The Voices Project.
1. When did you start writing and why?
I love the ability to create memorable characters while telling real stories.
Storytelling came naturally to me and I started writing in primary school. I had a very active imagination as a child and with many sisters it was easy to get lost in my fantasy world. I had Television Programmes like Sesame Street, Muppet Show, Voltron, Tales By Moonlight, Maganan Jarichi and books by Enid Blyton, Walt Disney stories and many others. In primary school, I remember drawing comics for my friends to read, the stories usually had moral lessons at the end which was typical as they were usually about wicked step mothers, naughty children and the rewards of doing good. When I got to secondary school, I started writing romantic novellas with foreign characters. My friends back then were my biggest fans and readers as they would pass these hand written stories around until it was completed. My dream was to be published by Pacesetters back then. Unfortunately, by the time I had a proper manuscript ready the series had gone out of print. Through my first degree I wrote more free verse poetry.
2. At what point do you know that a story/book is complete?
I could easily say a story is complete for me when I arrive at a resolution but as a writer, a story’s progression many times cannot be determined until you actually put pen to paper or type the first few lines. Stories usually take on a life of their own and take the writer on its own unique journey until you consciously arrive at a resolution.Stories take on a life of their own and take the writer on a unique journey. - @Mspurplemango Click To Tweet
3. What’s the hardest/easiest thing about writing?
Easiest – The love of Storytelling
Hardest – Long hours of typing , editing and the thought that you write as a passion and not for financial gain!
4. What books would you say shaped your writing?
I am a voracious reader and years ago , I would have said all books written by Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steel and Janet Dailey, until I read Cyprian Ekwensi’s Jagua Nana’s Daughter, Elechi Amadi’s Efuru and discovered the Pacesetters series! I experienced a literary awakening reading African stories about relatable issues, set in cities I knew.
5. Are you working on anything at the moment?
Yes, I am always working on interesting manuscripts.
6. How do you feel about bad reviews?
Every reader is entitled to their opinion. Just like I don’t necessarily love every book I read, I don’t expect every reader of my work to love it. Rather I choose to view bad reviews as constructive criticism.Every reader is entitled to their opinion. I see bad reviews as constructive criticism. - @Mspurplemango Click To Tweet
7. If you could be a character in a novel you’ve read, who would you be and why?
I would say Scarlet from Gone With The Wind, she was an epitome of femininity, strength and imperfection.
8. If your life was a book, what would the title be?
9. Tell us something about yourself that your readers probably don’t know.
I am obsessed with Cryptozoology!
10. What books by a Nigerian Author would you recommend to a friend?
Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
The Concubine by Elechi Amadi
Jagua Nana’s Daughter by Cyprian Ekwensi
Burning Grass – Cyprian Ekwensi