24 November 2012

Nigeria: 'It's Always a Long Road for First Time Authors'

Gertrude Uchenna Uzoh is one of Abuja's young and upcoming writers. The Computer Science graduate of Abia State University, speaks on her adventure into the literary world and her book, 'ONE Love, MANY Tears' published by Author House.

Bookshelf: What is your book about?

Gertrude Uzoh: It's set in a remote African community that eventually blossoms into a city. It is about some unfavorable African customs acculturated in the people. The heroin is a young lady, Cynthia who came out of unfavorable experiences to define what her world should be. The story focuses on the conquest of love; fortitude, self-expression and perseverance of goodwill and enhancement over the noted traditions and norms which are widely practised with strong dominance, but in reality are not so wonderful. The book, through its story line, reveals the treacheries of murder, hatred, hypocrisy and greed.

Why did you decide to write the book?

Generally everybody observes their environment. These observations could be interpreted in different ways and may want them shared by others from our views. This is my way of making others hear my observations and interpretations of them. This is my own way of contributing to making our world a better place. Instead of merely observing and keeping it to myself or just sitting and complaining about them, I choose to do something about it. So, writing on such subjects is my own little way of doing something about it.

Many authors emerge every day, but a lot of what they write do not see the light of day. What's your take on this?

Well, this could be either from the level of an author's determination or from the challenges he or she faces at getting the book published. I believe literature and arts in general have a heavenly connection, and as long as the heavens are on your side, there is nothing you cannot have released or published.

Why do you think people should read your book?

Because their lives will not remain the same (on the positive of course) after reading through its lines. Read my book today, because I believe the messages therein are meant for someone, and you could be that someone. Yes, it's a work of art, meant to inspire, motivate or entertain; but when a work of art also takes you along a unique but insightful and interesting path you have not treaded before and in a very simple yet complicated way, then it is no longer just an ordinary work of art. There is much more to it!

Piracy is an issue artistes deal with. How do you intend to combat it?

Well, piracy is a big issue especially given all the latest sophistications of modern technology and all. It is not a one person's affair; it affects the whole world of arts and artistes, and in its long cycle, it affects the economy of all persons involved. To combat it, we need divine intervention and government's support. But all the more, we need to come together and brainstorm; which I want to believe is already going on somewhere. So, it's just a matter of time.

Being a young author what are the challenges you face?

Oh, it's basically the challenge of staying focused on the goal. Then the challenges of getting the right persons for support, which include routing to the right publishing company, financing, publicity, marketing, sales and logistics supports. One needs to just go out there, put the right efforts at the right places and at the right time, and believe the desired results would come. It is actually an act of faith, truly. But honestly, the journey is not just easy, especially as a new entrant. As a first timer, you will feel that change in extra effort required to succeed. It's a simple law of nature to work hard and find results. As they say, nothing good comes easy.

Could you tell us about the characters in your book and what is unique about them?

Cynthia is the major character and heroine of the story, but then, there is also Okechukwu her brother, and Susan their mother. There are the strong characters of Dr. Paul, Dike, Father Phoebus, Mama Ngozi, Christy, Ofor, Lady D, Sir Ignatius, and also Edmond. There are about a thousand characters in the story in all major, minor and extra roles, and each single character is inevitable in completing the whole piece. No single character is a mistake; all are carefully thought out and are indispensible to the story.

What group of readers are you targeting?

The book is targeted at every adult member of the society, though smart kids can still read and grab from its many messages. It is basically an adult-oriented book, but teenagers can still read it. The structuring, content and general language of the book is both soft and hard at the same time; hence, it's unique mix of the targeted audience for its readership.

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