Hello Chigozie Anuli Mbadugha. It is nice to meet you!
Please, tell us a bit about you, where you are from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?
I am an eye surgeon, but I love writing fiction. I am a Nigerian. I love singing and I occasionally write songs. I find music very uplifting.
How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?
I wrote my first story when I was six years old. I think I have always enjoyed fiction. I enjoy escaping from stress by creating my own world in which I can control events in the lives of my characters which I cannot do in real life. My debut publication – Beyond the Trial, is a collection of short stories that celebrate the strength of character of the African woman. Even though the stories in Beyond the Trial are not my personal experiences, my interactions with women inspired me to be a voice for the voiceless. I needed to put gender-based issues in Africa on the front burner.
What genre do you enjoy reading? What’s your favorite book and why?
I like reading mystery books. My favourite books are books written by Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardner. I like them because they are mentally engaging and captivating.
Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in?
I would like to write mystery or detective books because I enjoy reading them, but I am not sure if I can keep my readers guessing till the last page to find out who the villain is.
What has been your most proud moment as an author?
My most proud moment was when I held the first copy of my book in print. Suddenly all the sleepless nights, editing and re-editing felt worth it! I was also very elated when Beyond the Trial was awarded the Samuel Ajayi Crowther Prize for best Christian fiction in the Nigerian Christian Literature Awards 2017!
What three tips would you give any aspiring writer?
I would advise them to
- Research extensively about their subject matter and the other aspects of ‘author-preneurship’ such as marketing,
- They should ensure that their books are properly edited before publication
- Keep writing and not give up.
What are you working on now? What will you release next?
I love writing short stories so I am working on a number of short stories simultaneously. I plan to write a sequel to my debut fiction short story collection Beyond the Trial. I hope I can complete writing that before the end of this year. The sequel to Beyond the Trial is what I plan to release next.
So… where can we get your books?
My book Beyond the Trial is available on:
Amazon (Paperback): https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Trial-Chigozie-Anuli-Mbadugha/dp/1504935055
Amazon (kindle edition) https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Trial-Chigozie-Anuli-Mbadugha-ebook/dp/B0793PJHFQ
Konga.com (Online Bookstore Nigeria):
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
I think a big ego does not help authors because it will make it hard for them to accept criticism in good faith. They might also be too proud to market their books effectively. Marketing, and the rejection that can come with it, require some level of humility.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I read my book reviews, and I try to learn from the bad ones. I want to write better books, so every negative feedback is a nudge to make me a better writer. Good reviews are encouraging to me. They validate my ability in a way. Like most authors I have interacted with, they are days I wonder if anybody is going to want to buy and read my work.
What’s your writing schedule like?
I have a full-time day job so I tend to write when I can. When I wrote Beyond the Trial, I did most of my writing at night. I, however, carry a notebook and paper around and jot down ideas that cross my mind for development later.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
Most of my characters are totally from my imagination although there are traits I may see in real people that may trigger my imagination of a character.
Which one of your characters is your favorite and why?
I loved the three female protagonists in Beyond the Trial: Funke, Nkechi, and Ada very much because they define resilience, doggedness, and determination that characterize strong African women. It is very difficult for me to choose my favourite amongst them because they all fought different individual battles with positive attitudes.
Beyond the Trial is a collection of three short stories. The first story, Erased
Reproach, is the story of young love and ruthless heartbreak. Funke, a teenager at the beginning of the story, gives in to peer pressure and ends up with an unwanted pregnancy which leads her into forced exile from her childhood home. In Rude Awakening, Nkechi’s eutopic word is brought to a rude halt when her husband of eleven years dies suddenly in a car accident. She must face a chequered future alone with three sons. A family’s past is hunting its members in Shadows from the Past and it is Ada’s responsibility to lead her entire family out of darkness and into the light. A long-postponed visit home opens a can of worms about the past and provides the opportunity to deal with it and put it well behind them all. Beyond the Trial is a collection of three short stories about three women who choose to see life beyond their trials and dared to reach for it.
Social media links:
Beyond The Trial Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/63FoYzZCHZg?t=9
Twitter Handle: @cambabooks
Facebook Page: https://web.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009179463242