2nd December, 2010
What is the message in The Unusual and Unexpected ?
The message I want to pass across to readers, especially parents, is the danger ofÂ over-indulging children. No matter the circumstance of their birth, I believeÂ children should not be over pampered. They should have proper upbringing and beÂ disciplined.
Considering the circumstances of Akinâ€™s birth (the major character), donâ€™t you thinkÂ you were too hard on his parents (the Kolawoles)?
I wasnâ€™t. I just want to hit the nail on the head. No matter the circumstances,Â children shouldnâ€™t be over pampered or else they will become a nuisance to theÂ society and the parents will be at the receiving end. If you read the book, you willÂ find out that there is no way the Kolawoles wonâ€™t end that way. They had the chanceÂ to correct the mistakes they made in the past when Akin was deported to Nigeria butÂ none of them made amends.
How did you get the inspiration to write?
Actually, my dad makes time out on Saturday to give us comprehension lessons.Â Somehow, any time he gave us assignments, I performed better than my sisters evenÂ though they were older and in higher classes. So he believed I can write andÂ encouraged me to do so.
Why did you write on theÂ subject? Is it because youâ€™re the only boy in your familyÂ and must have experienced that?
No. It wasnâ€™t. I just believe that through my writing, I can express my views andÂ concerns about life generally. When I decided to write, that was what came to myÂ mind.
You wrote the book when you were about 11 years old, how did you do it?
First, I believe am gifted. Writing comes to me naturally. It is like part of myÂ life. It would always be my second career. I read the dictionary a lot, to increaseÂ my vocabulary and I read a lot. My dadâ€™s chamber is filled with books, IÂ wonderÂ where he gets them from. I remember I used to beg my daddy to buy folk tales for meÂ when I was younger. I still do. l readÂ all kinds of books and I like the ones thatÂ will keep me on the edge of my seat. I am curious and always want to know about myÂ environment; this increases my understanding of things around me. I also writeÂ poetry.
So you already knew it would be published ?
Not really, but I wasn’t surprised when he decided to publish it
Is this your first attempt?
No, I have written three books, but this is the only one that was published. TheÂ other ones will soon be published. One of them is a novel.
Was it difficult publishing this book, because a lot of young writers find itÂ difficult to take this major step?
Yeah, it was tough but interesting. My dad was my publisher which made it moreÂ challenging. To ensure I meet the deadline he set for me, he monitored my activitiesÂ and raised eyebrows when I get distracted. Any time he got back from work and saw meÂ playing he would scold and advise me to be focused and not be distracted.
How long did it take you to publish it?
It took us three years, though there was a time my dad was busy and had to drop it.
Did you get along with him well as your publisher?
It was tough but I was happy at the end of the day. There were lot of challenges butÂ working with my daddy made it tougher. I had no excuse because he always monitoredÂ my activities. It was sometimes frustrating. Sometimes he would reject a wholeÂ chapterÂ or complain that it was too short or too long. These can be frustrating butÂ the moment I saw book I was too happy to remember those moments .
Did it affect your school work?
I ensured it did not affect my performance in school by creating time for both myÂ school work and writing.
What was the general response?
Encouraging. I got a lot of support from my family, friend and teachers. My daddyÂ and his friends always encourage me.Â The experience hasÂ redefined my perspectiveÂ in life. It makes me feel optimistic and confident. I feelÂ matured; inÂ control ofÂ my emotion, my mind-set and how to interact with people. It allows me to understandÂ life better. I get more inquisitive and am ready to know more about what isÂ happening around me.
Does this make you a super star among your friends?
(laughs) Sort of,Â but I don’t allow it get into my head.
You said you love reading, how many hours do you read in a day?
Actually when I was in junior class I read more for exams, but when I got to seniorÂ class, I started reading extensively. I wake up around 4.a.m. to read and sometimesÂ 2.a.mÂ during exams. I often study maths during the day because I realise maths isÂ something you must know even as an arts student. My sisters even nicknamed meÂ professor. That is what they call in school too.
How can students be encouraged to read?
They should know that reading is important. To get to where you are going, you haveÂ to know where you are going and you can only know that through reading. So studentsÂ should see it as necessity. There should be competitions like debate to motivateÂ students to read
Do you have any role model in the literary world?
In Nigeria, the likes of Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka are some of the writers IÂ look up to. Though my dad is a lawyer, he is also my role model. He has also writtenÂ some books that have been published. But abroad, I don’t have a particular writer inÂ mind, I just read books that catch my interest.
What is your advice to aspiring young authors
They should be focused, determined and should not be distracted because writingÂ involves a lot of meditation and focus to flow. They should learn to readÂ extensively and be observant about the happenings around them.