Ayodeji Ajagbe is a renowned story writer, avid reader, and a prolific author. He is the author of Reflection: Rulers And Preys, High School Lovers, Sad Love Story, Meant To Be, Memories and Reasons To Live. He is also the founder of DailyPress Bookstore, an affiliate of DailyPress PLC. An online bookstore that helps people read books, stories and research works for students and lecturers. His book Meant To Be has served as the foundation for many of his books.
Where are you from?
“I’m from Nigeria. I grew up in Ibadan, Oyo State.”
When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?
“When I was in primary school, teachers commended me for my creativity and writing skills (not so much the grammar – some things don’t change!).
Unfortunately, I lost every ounce of creativity when I went to high school.
I still remember sitting across from a career councillor in SS2 and being asked what I wanted to do with my life. Such a huge question to someone in SS2, a time when we should be care free, enjoying our childhood, and exploring everything. I was lucky though, as I knew what I wanted to do! I wanted to write!
With my head permanently in romance novels, I had an idealised version of what an actor actually did. I should have said I wanted to be an actor in the realms of Bigvai Jokotoye and others I’m obsessed with. But I digress.
Unluckily for me, Mr Olayiwola, the school councillor who was also my English language teacher, bluntly stated I should consider another career in Science. Doctor perhaps? I wish I could say I hadn’t listened to him and that I ‘stuck it to the man’ and became an actor. But I didn’t. I took her words on board and I let them weigh me down for years.”
What is your favorite genre to read/write?
“As an avid reader there are plenty of different types of books I have read and thoroughly enjoyed. It is hard to identify just one as my favorite. But I would say the suspense/thriller genre would appeal to me the most. The best part of reading these books is the part where I can assume thrill and experience tension while reading. It gives me something to think about and keeps me expecting what turns the plot will take. You get involved in the story and start to worry about the main characters. You never know what may happen next. This builds up a lot of apprehension. These books often have the element of mystery which might involve criminal investigation, serial killers and other suspenseful events that help build a chain of interest. These novels almost always succeed in quenching the readers thirst to unravel a mystery and get a good thrill. It also gives the reader new excitement every time they turn the page.”
What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
“The author that influenced my writing is Kayode Adeyemo. Not only because he is my favorite author but I happened to read his books in my JSS1 – JSS3. Those were the days when I stated writing just for fun, not stories or novels but some reports for monthly school magazines and some essays for various competitions. Because Kayode Adeyemo’s writing style was still fresh in my mind, I was influenced.”
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
“I have written eight books, one was a total rewrite but my favourite is Reflection: Rulers And Preys.”
Who/What inspired you to write your upcoming release “What Happened to Helen”?
“While What Happened To Helen is a work of fiction, the inspiration stemmed from the experiences of some people I knew growing up as a child who went through the unfortunate reality of rape and being pressured into relationships they didn’t want. Those stories have stayed with me throughout my life, and knowing how important this topic was because of my personal connection with it inspired me to keep on writing even when it was emotionally difficult for me to continue.”
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
“When I was little, I wanted to work as a zoologist. These days I don’t even really like having domestic pets. Funny how things change.
When I was in high school, I wanted to be a doctor. I have always kept a finger in the medical field as far as medical writing or nursing, and I still would have loved to be a physician, but I realized early into my high school studies that medical school and I were not going to get along really well and it was better to cut my losses and find a new path.
I am a writer and editor as an adult. Looking back, I wonder why it took me so long to figure that out. I always loved writing, since I was a child. I wrote books for fun. Grammar and spelling always came very easily to me, I was the kid who never studied in English class and got straight As. Plus, as the second oldest child in my family, I’m just naturally bossy and good at telling people what to do :)”
Your favorite Artist and favorite song?
“Ruth Berhe popularly known as Ruth B is my favorite artiste and she’s the greatest pop performer of all time, most innovative. And the most innovative pianist — if she isn’t the most gifted/talented, then she’s in the Top Three. She hit ‘the scene’ blazing-hot in 2013 with her trendsetting “Lost Boy” single … it can be argued that the song is still the best about fairy tales.
“Superficial Love.” Arguably the greatest song in pop history. It’s my personal favorite too… maybe I’ll ask for it to be played at my book launch B-)”
What do you think makes a great story?
“As someone who has been doing research on what makes a good story, here are some elements/things that I see make a story interesting:
1.) Characters: well developed characters with interesting personalities.
2.) Story structure: well developed arc with an exposition, inciting incident, rising action, climax, character dilemma, and resolution
3.) Creativity: a story line that is not boring or cliche
4.) Mystery: knowing the answers to everything is boring. A story that leaves questions throughout and the audience wondering is intriguing.
5.) Problem: an interesting/challenging problem that seems impossible and is getting in the way of something important to the protagonist.
6.) Ending: “give the audience an ending that is wanted but not expected.” -Glebas. This makes the story interesting, creative, and satisfying.”
What advice can you give to an unpublished author?
“Research publishing and how book selling works. Most authors are clueless about this and end up having unrealistic expectations. Learn everything you can about this, then move on to learning about the genre your books are in. Learn about what readers expect to see on covers, what they expect from storylines, etc. Go back to your books and see if they meet the criteria you’ve discovered.
Have your books been professionally edited? If not, then this should be your next step. No book should be published without being professionally edited – this does not mean you have the English teacher down the street read through the manuscripts. You need to hire a professional who understands what is expected from the genre you’re writing for.
While the editor is toiling away, you need to research how book marketing works and then make a business and marketing plan based upon what you’ve learned. Being an author, especially a self-published one, also means you’re a businessperson. You must treat your book(s) like a business or you’ll never get anywhere.
When creating your marketing plan, be as specific as possible so that you will have a step-by-step plan set in place. It’s easy to get lost in all the marketing possibilities out there, so you need a definite plan to keep you on track. You should also establish a budget – free marketing options only take you so far.
Next, research how social media works and set up accounts for you as a author (do not just use your personal accounts -that’s unprofessional and none of your readers want to know what Timmy Turner did on Sunday!).
When the first round of edits has come back to you, and you’re sure of the direction the book is taking, you can start looking for a cover designer and/or illustrator. Again, you need a professional so your book covers don’t look like they were made by a kindergartner.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Educate yourself about every step involved in the process and then when you’ve got everything done and published, then constantly and consistently market your little butt off!”
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One of 3 E-Book Copies: Reflection: Rulers And Preys by Ajagbe Ayodeji
Giveaway ends: 21 March 2021
Alternative link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b8573fc11/?
We want to thank Ajagbe Ayodeji for signing up for the Weekly Author Spotlight
Interview done by HVDB Book Life
(The Author is responsible for the Giveaway and the details of the 3 winners will be forwarded to him)