Thelma Nwokeji lives in Abuja where she practices as an architect. She is a member of the institute of architects. She writes at her spear time and is currently working on her first adult novel. Red Nest, her first novel was welcomed into existence in a well attended ceremony which had guests from all spheres of life in existence. In this brief interview with KUNI TYESSI, she sheds light on the birth of the book.
What was the inspiration behind Red Nest?
The inspiration came from the desire to teach young adults some morals about life. It is for them to understand that is life is not all about money, but with hard work and perseverance, they will get to the top. In essence, hard work pays.
What were your challenges when writing the book?
Of course, it was time, considering the fact that I have to play my roles as wife, mother, and civil servant. But even after I was able to surmount this challenge, getting the work published became a huge task. I didn’t know where to go and some of the famous publishers were not forth coming until I met the present publisher.
What advice do you have for today’s women writers?
I will advise them to persevere and work hard. They should do their best and they will get it right.
The Nigerian reading culture is said to be tremendously low. Comment on this and proffer solution
The past used to be better unlike today when we have the infiltration of television, computer games, internet, etc, which diverts the attention of children away from books. The way forward is for parents to insist from the on-set that the children must read and should have a programmed time for reading so that children can imbibe that culture.
What advice do you have for writers who have difficulties in publishing in their works?
I would ask them to go to successful writers who would advise them on what to do and where to go to.
In western countries, writers pay little or nothing to get their works published. However, the case is not the same in Nigeria. Why is this so and the way out?
Things have changed even in the west. Writers will have to give something small to the publishers. However, I would encourage new writers to look for sponsors who would publish their works.
Why did you write on teenage fiction and not on women related issues?
I wrote on teen fiction because of my children who would always come around me and demand for stories. They threw a challenge at me because I kept thinking of what to tell them each time they came for stories. At this point, I decided to start telling them stories which will teach them about morals and that is why red nest is a fiction that focuses on teens. Children need to know the good from the bad and must be trained morally in order to know their priorities and place them right.
What advice do you have for women who see writing as a passion but do not know how to create the time for it?
Time management is the answer. She has to programme her activities so that none is exposed to deficiency of time and attention. She must also realize that the home front comes first before any other thing.