Today I am back with the second instalment of the Mercy Book Tour with an author interview. A few weeks ago I sent some questions to Eniola to learn all about her writing process, etc, so let’s have a look!
What made you begin writing at the young age of nine? What sort of writing did you do back then?
That’s a great question! I had a natural inclination towards telling stories through writing. I remember reading the Sweet Valley series and the Baby-Sitters Club and being so intrigued by the stories. I would write my own version of the novels. My younger sister would read it and give me feedback. I was also influenced by Nigeria’s version of Hollywood—Nollywood. I wrote my first full-length original novel when I was 12. It was called Dark Shadows, and it was an overly dramatic story of twins who hated each other.
Was it a hard decision to stop writing while you attended university?
No. Writing was always a hobby for me. I think I was very much influenced by Nigerian culture. You were expected to have a serious career in Medicine, engineering or Law. I never stopped writing
Can you explain that moment when you got the idea for your book? Was it a growing idea or was it a lightbulb moment?
It was a growing idea. I lived in a house with two other medical students and one pharmacy student. It was a fun experience for me, and those girls are still my closest friends today still. One or two are featured in the novel. 😀 We always talked about how cool and interesting our collective experiences were. We talked about the best professors, the worst ones, the latest gossip and our triumphs and frustrations. We always said someone must record these stories. So, the idea started as a spark that grew and grew. Medical school itself is a central character in the novel. The series is
as much about medical school as it is about the characters and their struggles.
Explain your writing process, from idea to publishing. How do you stay motivated?
I take one step at a time. I loosely plan the idea in my head and have a general idea of how the story will be told. I keep the idea flexible because I sometimes get ideas of plot twists and turns spontaneously as I am writing. Then, once I have done my personal editing and gone through two or three drafts, I send the novel for developmental and content editing. The next step is proofreading. While the novel is being polished by the editors, I usually work with the book designers to bring my book cover concept to life. Once the proofread manuscript and book cover is ready, it goes to the
experience from the first novel.
What advice do you have for any budding authors out there?
I will tell them the same thing I tell my medical student mentees. “Just keep
swimming.” Sometimes it’s going to feel like you are swimming against the tide, but you need perseverance. You just keep swimming, and you will eventually get to your destination. Another piece of advice is to know your audience, find them, and connect with them.
My journey as a writer began with an idea—an idea that blossomed into a vision for the Still series. I became fully committed to Christ around 2008 when I began medical school. Shortly after, the idea for the Still series was birthed. My time in medical school was one of the more formative seasons of my life. I made lifelong friendships and, most of all, my journey with Christ really began. Although there were challenging times, I would without a doubt relive the experience in a heartbeat! I published Still (book 1 in the series) right before residency, and now—five years later—the next book in the series has been published.
In the time in between, I was the prodigal daughter and walked away from my Father. Everything on the surface looked good, but my heart was far away from Him. His love never left me, though, and He welcomed me home when I came back to Him. I went through painful processes, but they changed me and made me a better person. The girl who wrote Still is not the woman who wrote Mercy. I am passionate about sowing godly seeds into the hearts of young women. I know how it is to be brokenhearted and believe the lies of the devil because his version of events is all you’re told. I know how it is to truly believe that you are not loved by God because of the events of life.
My hope is that, through my writing, you’ll come to know that God truly loves you and cares about you affectionately. He is close to your broken heart and binds up every wound.
I guess the author bio should be about milestones and, like the quintessential dramatic Nigerian aunty, I have missed the mark. I am a Nigerian-born, American-educated physician who lives in Maryland—but I believe I am more than well-constructed bullet points. I am a child of God through the ups and downs of life, and that will remain constant.