An Interview with Amaka Azie, Author of Melodies of Love
Our guest on this Monday’s episode of SyncityNG Literary Lords and Ladies is the beautiful Amaka Azie! Her book Melodies of Love was a finalist for the Book of the year at the first ever Ufere Award.
#Synner a round of applause as we welcome Amaka Azie to the show!!
Let’s begin. Please tell us, how long have you been writing to have amassed so much accolades?
I have been writing since I was a teenager. But only begun publishing since 2016.
My debut novel Melodies of Love was a finalist for the Book of the year at the first ever Ufere Award. I’m exceedingly proud of that. To be in the same category as authors I admire like @KiruTaye and @empibaryeh … Humbled is the word.
A lot of people see romance writers as unserious. They take them as unserious as those who write Mills and Boon. What’s your take?
Every genre is equally important. There can’t always be horror, intrigue, etc. Romance writers also showcase a vital aspect of human life and that is human relationships.
I feel romance authors should be taken very seriously. They provide people with escapism. And to write a book that makes someone believe in love and possibilities is awesome. There is so much hatred in this world. If more people read romance books, that may change!
So far, how has your works solved this issue?
I’m glad to showcase that apart from all the negativity Africa is clouded with, there is love, romance and family. My mantra is Africa is not only about war and political instability, we fall in love too.
The reception has been amazing. I have had people complain about the lack of diversity in romance novels…as though Africans don’t have romance.
Now, I don’t consider myself a solution. But my works have definitely highlighted that love and romance exist in Africa too. I have had non Africans give me this feedback and it always makes me smile when they say it because as a teenager, I searched for romance novels with African main characters and found few, I became very intrigued with Helen Ovbiagele whom I consider a pioneer in romance novels.
I came across her books from the pacesetters series popular in the nineties and I was like a kid in a candy store. I bought them all. Since then, I came across more authors like @KiruTaye and @NanaPrah and others. I wanted to be a part of that.
Let’s talk sex. How much is “too much” in a book?
Sex is a natural part of relationships and love. I think a well written sex scene should never be avoided and should be descriptive and engaging in a romance book.
If I was writing a novel thriller where someone was a murderer, readers wouldn’t expect me to skim over a murder scene. So why should a romance skim over sex?
Leaving out a well writing sexual ending to a couple’s sexual tension in a romance novel is like having a meal without desert. I want to read everything, experience everything with the couple. Just like how I expect to experience a murder scene in a thriller.
Haaaaa! So plenty sex?
Of course. Especially if it is well written and occurs naturally.
I’m curious. Did your husband ever read your sex scenes (especially Thorns and Roses) and go hmmmmm?
His friend read it first. And his friend kept winking and making hilarious remarks which made him curious. When he read it, I could see his face turn bright red. He is a shy man, my husband…
Do you mentor young romance writers?
I still consider myself a young author. I only started publishing in 2016. But of course I have provided advice to young authors who reach out to me. I hope to mentor authors someday. I even hope to have a publishing company for African romance novels one day.
OK…Now to a very important question. How lucrative has writing been for you?
Let’s just say, I’m not yet about to quit my day job. I have made money on Okadabooks and Kindle but not enough to call myself am author whose income is solely on book sales. I always knew that writing is a compulsion. Money is secondary to that compulsion.
Any person who thinks being an author is a get rich quick journey is deluded. Very few have instant success. Infact Chimamanda Adichie who is one of my idols, has repeatedly told about her initial struggles before she broke out.
In essence, if you don’t want to be a frustrated writer, keep your day job? I am finished o!
Hahahaha…well, don’t rush to quit is all I’m saying. (tongue out)
Our show is almost over but we do not want to let Amaka Azie go.
We sure do want to know where she gets inspiration from.
My inspiration is from daily life experiences, and stories I hear. I’m a good listener and strangers often find it easy to relay things to me. I watch their emotions and ideas keep flooding in.
I simply pay attention to the world around me, and ideas flood in. I got an idea just by watching the emotions displayed by a beautiful lady who slipped on the sidewalk while strutting down with confidence. I think its a good way to meet a love interest.
@scribblinggirl wants to know if you write other genres.
I write romance mainly for now. Although my latest novel The Senator’s Daughter has a bit of suspense and intrigue too.
Wow. Explosive session I must say.
How do we get your books? @MainlandBookCaf read one last month.
My ebooks are available on all ebook retailers; Okadabooks, Amazon and Kobo. My paper copies are available on Amazon. Order and it gets posted. I’m still looking for a trustworthy African distributor for paper copies.
One last thing before we leave. Say something to your editor. Something you wouldn’t say to his/her face.
I wish you didn’t cut out the chapter I loved. In hindsight, I agree that the chapter was unnecessary but I loved it…
Ah….A whole chapter. I missed! *weeps*
Wow! Wow! Wow! We have come to the end of the show!
Thank you for honoring our invitation Amaka Azie
I had so much fun.
Thanks so much for having me. It was fun 😊.
This interview originally happened on SyncityNG’s Twitter page.
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