My aspiration is to be one of the builders of a world of equality, a world where diversity is respected and value for people's lives is paramount. A world where religion and culture are not used as weapons of dispute and destruction, where leaders serve and not steal, where everyone does not pretend to love each other but does so straight from the heart.
Myne Whitman is her pseudonym, she is proudly Nigerian with a new hot must read book " Heart to Mend" currently in the market. She stays and work in the States but with yearning for change and unconditional love in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. And given the fact Myne Whitman just granted blogger FFF and bookaholic intensive interviews, I expected her to say no to mine but she did not, that shows how committed and hardworking a writer Myne Whitman is.
Can you briefly tell us more about your new book " Heart to Mend" and how accessible it is to buyers?
The book is about two people, Edward and Gladys, who meet and are attracted to each other almost immediately, but have difficulty in resolving their feelings, especially because of Edward’s past and other twists. The concept for "A Heart To Mend" is from the theme of unconditional love which has always interested me. I also felt that there were not were not enough romance novels set in contemporary Nigeria, and that I could do something to redress that. It is currently available online on Amazon US, UK and Canada as well as Barnes and Nobel, Borders and Kalahari.net. Autographed copies can be obtained from my website.
Is there a concrete gender dimension to " Heart to mend"?
There is indeed a gender dimension to the book. It is a romantic love story that explores the relationship between the male and female gender especially when the man is of the high income class as opposed to the lady. How does this affect their interactions and how others view them and their perceived future. In one of the subplots, Gladys aunt was treated as chattel by her late husband who dictated what she could do and who she could relatewith. We also see how she coped with this and how things may have changed from that generation to what obtains in the present.
There are many women/girls that inspire to publish their work as writers, any advice to how to achieve this dream?
One of the most important is being able to outline your goals. What is your plan towards achieving this dream or vision? Once you know this, then a lot of discipline and perseverance is necessary to achieve them.
What distinguishes a good writer?
A good writer I think is relative, it depends on who is reading. I have read bestsellers that did nothing for me, and obscure stories I could never forget. It may also have to do with audience, so the writer has to know who they're writing for and strive to remain in touch with them. This enables their stories to remain something that readers can relate to.
Part of security issues faced by women all over the world is sexual and gender-based violence, do you think short stories or novels on these issues can help address this scourge?
I think they do. Art is supposed to imitate life and also to mirror it and we know what happens when we can see ourselves in a glass. It provides a moment of reflection and I think that is what these short stories and novels do. In some cases, the people involved can actually do something to change or affect change in the issues addressed.
What other avenue can be explored to address sexual and gender-based violence against women?
Activism is one strong avenue and the more people that begin to speak out and start conversations about this sort of violence, the better. The effects will be laid bare for all involved, both the perpetrators and the victims and maybe they'll begin to make the right choices.
What change do you wish to see in Africa in 2010?
I want to see more development and I want I want it to be a faster one too. I wish for a change for the better in governance but I doubt this is a prerequisite for the first one so I'll just keep my fingers crossed.
The recent death, disasters and killings I have being in a sober mood since Haiti earthquake and the following up news in Haiti has done nothing to lift my spirit, moreso, the Iran plane that crash landed injuring 46 people and the Ethiopian Airline crash that killed 90 people have done more damage to my spirit than good. Too much bad news in one month. And the crisis in Jos, Nigeria again! OMG, I am tired of sad news!!!... .............................................................................................................
On to lovely lucky:
Lucky was there on Christmas day. She made me miss my cats so much but her friendliness attitude made my christmas dinner with her family very superb. Lucky was a gracious, friendly and lovely cat. I played with her without her making me feel I was a stranger intruding into her life unlike her sister Fluffy who was ready to sratch the hell out of my hand for daring to touch her! But just 3 days ago, Lucky passed away from an illness suspected to be due largely to plant poisoning. This is painful! Lucky you are missed!!! Goodnite dear girl!!!
CATS ON TUESDAYis a group of cat lovers who share pictures and/or stories about their cats once a week, hosted by Gattina.
"Interview Thursday" is back with Temitayo [ Bookaholic] in focus. Temitayo was the writer that got me interviewed on her True Love Column in October 2009. She beats me to my own plan to interview the dynamic young lady! But hope is not lost as we still find a way around sharing Temitayo's opinion and knowledge on current issues affecting Nigeria. Temitayo Olofinlua studied Literature at ObafemiAwolowoUniversity and currently works as a freelance writer and editor. Her writing has been featured in various publications, online and in print [ check this short story on child abuse by Temitayo]. She runs the Bookaholic Blog with a fantastic friend- Isabella Akinseye. She also loves teaching but hey she is full of surprises…
What is your prediction for the future of Nigeria in 2010?
Haha, predictions aint my forte, not a prophet o! And to predict for a whole Nigeria? That’s too much work even for the biggest prophets…don’t even know what will happen the next second. I wish I had that power to see into the future, maybe would be different, maybe would have let some magic direct my Mama’s legs to some other country, maybe even Ghana, but hey I’m here. Okay back to Nigeria, would just say that the country is in our hands, leaders and followers…the same way it was in the hands of the people of the past, it’s in our hands; whatever would be said of the country tomorrow is in our actions today. Is that a prediction?
From journalistic point of view, is it not too premature to be calling for the resignation of President Umar Yar'adua?
Journalistic, hmmm…I think if he did things right before he left all these wouldn’t have happened that is people calling for his resignation. Maybe there’d have been some national fasting declared by different sects for the wellbeing of the president. But this silence, this sudden speech that he made to his country through BBC…and the many things that ‘only’ his inner-inner kitchen cabinet has access to makes things scary thus the agitation. So what you were saying about the call being premature, I am not sure it is…say the President’s not doing things right is taking the whole nation for a ride…which is even more immature.
Is there ever going to be a change in the leadership as far as Nigeria is concerned? Huge question…change?
What do you mean by change? These breed of politicians that these parties dish out? This politricks of selfishness we have everywhere? Not sure. Personally lost faith in Nigerian leadership/politics. There are a few who have made one smile but hey leaders are humans, they fail (Nigerian leaders seem to fail woefully) and that’s just being human! Sorry if I sound very pessimistic but it’s my way of not getting heart broken when any leader fails. A way of taking my life in my hands.
Nigerian is on US watch list because of the suicide bombing attempt of a Nigerian man, Umar Mutallab, do you think this is a right step?
America loves America. America will never take chances when it comes to protecting its own. America knows what’s right for them…what can I say about it being right or wrong? What does it portend for Nigerians than being labeled ‘terrorist’? Does it stop the onslaught in the Niger-Delta? Does it stop our politicians from terrorizing us daily by starching money meant for all away? Does it stop the policemen from pointing their guns at innocent people (I hate seeing that!)? Does it stop all these? I don’t know too much about rightness or wrongness of the decision. For the Americans that’s the best decision for them…and we are quick to say it’s wrong but look around—are we not terrorists? Don’t we terrorize ourselves daily?
What should US have done differently?
Differently…ha, can’t tell…I don’t look into the past o! Don’t mind me but I think they should be much sincere to themselves!
You freelance for True Love magazine and the magazine has demonstrated its commitment to women stories from all aspect, do you think the name of the magazine is relevant to its work?
This name comes up here again. I wasn’t writing for True Love when that name was adopted. I never thought it was a big deal until I wanted to interview someone and she said that she doesn’t buy the mag because of the name; that how can she be caught by her grandchildren reading a mag called True Love? Then I started thinking and asking…TL is a franchise so they kept the name. But hey the name has worked, why would you change a working portion?
What else would you prefer to do if you are not a writer?
Big question…I guess I would teach. Would still do that. Travel, is that a job? Or anything that would make me express myself…that would make me look within and be a blessing. Yeah I think that’s it…does that make sense?
In all the interviews or stories you have covered as a writer/journalist, which stayed striking to you till date and why?
Not done too much. But I’d say two—What’s in a Name? A piece about the significance of names to women…it sought to ask the question—yes, ask—why should women change their names after marriage? What does a name mean to a woman? And the second piece has to be the piece on MKAsante (available on google)…very inspiring young man. Haha, not done those interviews that cause trouble. Maybe you should ask me that question in two years or more, may have some dramatic answers for you, who knows?
What outstanding resolution do you have for 2010 and why?
Don’t do resolutions by the year o! Every day is a new one…a new opportunity to dream; a brand new day with many reasons to smile. Seriously, I hope to do more stuff—more writing; more reading; more work on my writing. And hey, more diligence to my work…I make it; I break it but hey there’s hope for me. That I know!
Just taking a break from a Media training workshop for all the 8 of us on the African Leadership Centre fellowship programme/ Peace and Security for African Women. Handling camera like a pro and taking different shots of our experience in London came with a lot of task and challenges. Being in the London cold of today is not in anyway funny but can we complain? Today was probably better than yesterday...
I should be taking a rest in fact be on my way home already but I have got a thing or 2 on my mind. I have being thinking of some steps I need to take personally on some personal as well as professional issues this year. I was not sure at first if I have got a resolution for this year but I think the resolutions are surfacing by themselves. I won't be given any background information or detail to why I am taking these resolutions that I will mention below but they are self-explanatory as far as I am concerned:
Welcome to Standtall 7 points resolutions on handling issues and getting along with some kind of people from now on:
I don't have to be nice to everyone but I need to be fair to all.
I don't have to let insensitivity of some people ruin my mood, I need to just learn to apply "humour techniques" that I have learnt so far from Afrobabe and Vera [the birthday girl].
It does not matter how truthful and considerate of others you might be, you will still get cross by others, your intentions misinterpreted sometimes but the guiding principle should always be about your conscience.
You will sometimes offend others whether you are in the right or wrong. Be brilliant about when to say "sorry" and when to ask for one and if it is not offered to you, move on.
Be strategic and economic with criticism, advice even help rendered to others, there may be need for others to learn from their own mistakes...
It is not compulsory to get along with everyone, but it is necessary to learn how to work with even those you might never get along with.
Always remember that the principles above are not meant to be static! Even the saints are not perfect and life is always going to be a work in progress.
My heart goes to the entire Haiti citizens and the victims of the recent earthquake that struck the country...
I don't know how I am fast becoming an occasional blogger. It is not me and it will not happen. The first resolution for this year is to try all I can to go back to "Interview Thursday" series. I have got a lot of fatanstic people to interview and I am the only one that is stopping this from happening. Reschedule girl.
I will try not to rush things though as I need to still rest and get rid of this prolong cold I am battling with once and for all. I also need to gather my thinking and reprocess some stuff out of which Umar Mutallab is one of. I argued last month just 2 weeks before the unfortunate incident of Umar Mutallab that Nigerians might be many things but as an African, we will never partake in suicide bombing. Umar Mutallab proved me wrong!
Now it's not about what we can do or can't, it's now about how can we change situations, how can we tiredlessly strive in 2010 to redeem the image of Nigeria, to change things back at home and to have a glorified African continent. I am still thinking and in my thinking, I still meet a stumbling block of impossibility but no, I will not let that thought destroy the effort needed to be made in transforming our lands...
Despite the cold or flu, I still had a wonderful xmas dinner in the house of one of the fellows on the peace and security programme after which I took a trip to Peterborough to see a friend and her family. I was there for a week and had a great time. Meeting and having time with their 3 Months old baby was nice. The fun most not end as I am back to my desk to start my busy but productive 2010...
Above here are pictures of the xmas dinner and that of my friend handsome baby. And congratulations to our own FFF on the arrival of her cutie baby.
Happy new year to you all, I believe we shall conquer all negativities in our lives and our continent.