Hey Sparkle Writers! It’s Thursday and you know what that means. It’s time to meet another amazing writer! Today, we have Abiola Adebola as our guest and we really enjoyed our chat with him. There are lots of useful nuggets to gain from today’s Writer Spotlight on The Sparkle Writer’s Hub. Enjoy!
Hello Abiola, kindly introduce yourself.
My name is Abiola Abdullateef Adebola (Abiola AA). I am a Dramatic Arts graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University. I am a freelance writer, a PR strategist, an actor and a director.
At what point did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I fell in love with writing as a kid. I was always alone, so writing just kind of became my way of handling my emotions. I think I pretty much made up my mind to be a writer back then.
How has the journey been so far?
Good, mostly rough but that’s why it’s been good. I have enjoyed the challenges, the setbacks, but then I have had very good friends who have encouraged me to go all the way. God really blessed me with amazing friends.
You studied dramatic arts in school, how did that help your writing skill?
It helped in a way I guess, though I majored in Directing in my final year, but I have always paid more attention to the playwrights who were my lecturers. They had a great impact on my writing career.
You mentioned that you are also a script writer. Can you tell us how that different from regular writing?
I enjoy both. I enjoy creating lines for characters, and I also enjoy the freedom that comes with writing prose, not having to create discussions between actors. At the end of the day, you are telling a story in both cases, just different techniques being used.
Congratulations on the launch of your book ‘Catharsis‘. Why did you decide to write a book that bares it all?
I was going through a lot of things when I started writing Catharsis. I had just lost a movie deal that was going to change my life, my brother’s health was deteriorating, my mum was very sad and I was very sad. I wrote the book in less than a month. I was that down at that moment and it was the only thing I could think of doing. I just had to purge it all. I had too much pain in my system, and too much ‘nature’ too. If I didn’t bare it all out, who knows what I would have done to myself.
In one of your Instagram posts you talked about how stressful the process of writing this book was. Could you tell us some of the challenges you faced and how you overcame them?
It was more of an emotional stress. I was scared that people may judge me for the things I wrote in Chapter 3, that my mum may see it and she may be disappointed in me, you know how African parents are. I was also worried about the literary critics, those who may say the book is too short to be a book, those who may not understand that I have no interest in the rules. Lastly, I didn’t think I was big enough to write an autobiography, like who am I to write about myself? So how did I overcome these fears? I decided to damn the consequences and put my story out there. Thank God I did.
What major lessons have you learnt since you published your book?
Take risks, take a lot of risks, do things your own way, the world will adjust. Donald Trump is President of the United States of America. Anything is possible.
What has the response been since you launched Catharsis?
It’s been amazing. I expected judgment and criticism, considering the kind of society we live in, but people concentrated on my story, and not my mistakes. Even my mum ended up reading the whole book. Despite the fact that I tore the pages of Chapter 3 from the copy I gave her, she still found a way to read the whole thing, and she didn’t judge me. She didn’t scold me. She understood, and she chose to encourage me. That has to be the best thing that’s happened to me all my life.
What impact will the book have on readers?
Owning your truth, and harnessing it. You don’t have to look like where you are from or what you have been through. The sun will rise again if you keep fighting.
Many writers struggle to get a good following but you have managed to overcome that. Can you tell us a few things every budding writer needs in order to build a strong presence online?
I think a lot of writers stopped writing because of the size of their audience, that’s sad. Your followers won’t come overnight. Originality will bring them to you, but consistency will keep them with you. I took a lot of online social media courses which helped me capture my target audience. I am a PR strategist like I mentioned earlier, so it’s my job to build brands.
As a writer, where do you see yourself in years to come?
I want to make Catharsis a movie, a timeless one. I want to write more books, non-fiction mostly. I want to help a lot of people write their stories. I also want to help writers gain more respect here in Nigeria. In years to come, I want to look back and see that these dreams have come true.
Where can readers get a copy of your book?
You can purchase a hard copy directly from me. You can also go on Okadabooks to get a soft copy. If you are in the US, UK, Canada, you can order from Amazon.com.