Interview with Biola Olatunde
Biola Olatunde is a writer, blogger, poet, and an independent producer from Nigeria.
With more than 30 years experience as a scriptwriter and producer, Biola has written more than 200 stories for both radio and television, as well as poetry anthologies, an adventure novel, Blood Contract, a contemporary African fantasy novel series Numen Yeye (Numen Yeye and Rose of Numen), and an e-chapbook collection of haunting short stories, Sunset Tales.
She is an alumnus of the Dramatic Arts department, Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria.
What got you into writing, and what do you enjoy most about it?
My love for literature, my school principal, translated Shakespeares’s Twelfth Night into my Language, and we acted it in school. I spoke my language poorly, but I fell in love with words, escaping into words. As I lived far from home in a boarding school and was a shy kid, I could create my private world.
Which writer influenced you the most and why?
Geoffrey Chaucer. (1343 – 25 October 1400). An English poet and author. Widely seen as the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages. (Best known for The Canterbury Tales.) Some consider Chaucer as the “Father of English literature.”
What turns a good story into a great one?
When it is written with feeling. When the words can come alive because the writer is expressing what he feels deep inside. All my characters are kind of my personal friends.
How do you balance your schedules and artistic goals with everyday life?
Not very well, I am afraid. When I was raising my kids, I would wait impatiently for nightfall and then write. I have been known to write all night and work all day, mainly if I am writing a series and have deadlines to meet.
What do you aim to evoke in the readers of your books?
A feel for my culture, my humanity, and that life can be beautiful if we care to look more closely.
Interesting. My latest work is truly the Numen Yeye trilogy. I was inspired to write it by watching my grandmother. She was the village priestess. There was absolutely nothing spooky about her. My mum had the habit of turning her nose up each time Yeye, as we called her, was on duty for the town.
However, she would happily tell us tales of the village if we asked her. When we had the evil spell of the dry season, the king would appeal to her, and she would hold a rain festival with her devotees and, sure enough, the dry spell would be broken, and rain followed. It gave me food for thought, so I asked questions, read up on the Pantheon of Yoruba gods.
I learned that we had been given a false mentality, and I broke free from the concept that the Yoruba person had vengeful, blood-sucking gods. Sure they are spiritual scammers, but like every race, the Creator has provided for every tribe or race.
Can you give us a story outline of your book?
As earlier stated, Numen Yeye is a trilogy that explores the spiritual journey of half spirit, half-human being called Imole Ife. From her pre-incarnation into Earth Matter to her living in two worlds, consciously and her love affair, marriage, and fulfillment. It is part fantasy, fact, and fiction.
What was the most challenging part of writing this particular book?
The most challenging part was understanding the human being’s lives simultaneously in a gross and ethereal world, no matter his pretense to religion and coming to terms with it in my world of superstitious Christians.
Can you tell us about how you had your book edited, published, and its cover-art created?
What made you ultimately decide between self-publishing and conventional publishing? And will you use the same procedure for your next publication?
I wanted a well-written book. I wanted it done professionally, and I trusted Gerry Huntman. He did a fantastic job with my first book. I retained my voice because he understood it. He always listened. He discussed my cover art with me, and I had a chance to be part of the entire process.