Saturday, July 18, 2009

Author Interview: Tomi Akinyanmi of ‘A Worthy Legacy’

I read this book of African poems a while ago? Well, I've just been informed that "A Worthy Legacy" has won 4 awards:
  • Silver Award in the Inspirational/Spiritual Category - The Young Voices Foundation,
  • Second position in the Inspirational/Spiritual Category of the 2008 Reader Views Literary Award
  • Second position in the Young Adult Non-fiction category of the 2008 Reader Views Literary Award and
  • Top Book Awards by Black Pearls Magazine sponsored by EDC Creations.

In case you've forgotten, "A Worthy Legacy" is the story of a granddaughter who journeys to the Nigerian village of her childhood to join the rest of her family by her grandfather deathbed.

As the family says their goodbyes, the old man begins to share the secrets of his long life and happiness...


Touching on subjects from character to perseverance, the elderly man faces death with dignity and with the fulfillment of having lived a life that he did not regret.

Tomi Akinyanmi is currently on a blog tour to talk about her book and here is our brief chat on all things writing:

What was your writing process like?
Generally with my writing, I get an idea and start work from there. With "A Worthy Legacy", it was a little different. I actually had some of the components of the story in the form of notes/ journal entries before I figured out the main idea. So this time it was like working backwards.

I started by looking at my old notes and as I went through the folder, I wrote down my thoughts trying as much as possible to organize what I’d written into categories and putting similar thoughts together eventually; the main idea took form.

Once I had the basics down, I began to tackle one category at a time. Of course, I had to go back over and over again to reread and rewrite until it felt just right. Then, I shared the product initially with family then with friends. I listened to the feedbacks, took notes then went back to review and rewrite as needed.

Afterwards, I passed the manuscript to an editor to review and help me refine it.

What advice would you give young writers from Nigeria and other countries whose voices are just being heard?
My advice to them would be to find a writing mate and critique each other’s work. They should also look for and join critique groups, go for readings, attend writing workshops and submit their work to magazines as well as contests in their genre. All these we help them be a better writer and give them exposure.

Finally, I’d say they should never give up no matter the response. Learn from your mistakes and continually explore new avenues. A budding writer should always find time to surf the internet for information.

What next after "A Worthy Legacy"?
I’m working on a journal companion to “A worthy Legacy” right now as well as a book on how the lessons of “A Worthy Legacy” can be applied in the present day. I also got the idea for a children’s book over the last weekend so have quite a bit of stuff keeping me busy for the next few months.
*****
What inspirational and encouraging words from a new writer who'd released her first book late 2008!

Tomi holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban and regional planning. Since 2003, she has been a stay at home mum (she has 3 young children) dedicating her sparse free time to the development of her various talents, which include writing, drawing and singing.

Congratulations, again, Tomi! I'll be drawing strength from your advice (and achievements) as I work on my own writing. Looking forward to hear more about your upcoming projects :-)

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