Hope your week’s going amazingly well?
So you all remember that this blog isn’t just meant for me right? It is for everyone of us.
I saw this great category on another blog and I thought, why not?
We will be starting up a new category under the guest post/featured writers segment of the blog.
I will be featuring writers/authors and giving reviews of their books/eBooks and also help to publicize their books to you all, my lovely blog family.
And we will starting up with just the perfect person for this – the beautiful Ezar!
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you all our Author Spotlight for today…
Frances: Hello Ezar!
It’s so great to have you on here, please tell us more about yourself.
Ezar: Itâs good to be here, Frances. Thank you for having me. Simply put, I am a teacher and an author (feels good to say that).
Frances: And congratulations on the launch of your new book â The Spider’s web!
How does it feel to have a real book with your name on it on book shelves?
Ezar:Â Thank you _ it was really awesome to see my name in print and something that I had written in book form. Seeing the cover got me excited and thankfully I had a terrific time with the publishing company and pretty much the entire process. I can always say that I have actually published something and although a lot of other people can say that as well, I was probably the happiest person on the planet when my work came out. It was something that I did, something that came from my mind and something that I set out to accomplish and actually followed through with until the end.
Frances:Â I can imagine the feeling!
Please let us into the writers world… Have you always nurtured the idea of writing your own book?
Ezar: Iâd always dreamed of writing a novel but I was blocked by all the literary expectations of greatness. If I couldnât write a Booker prize winning novel, what was the point? As a teenager, there was a constant need to put my thoughts on paper. Any thoughts, really; and it is only growing stronger now that Iâm an adult. But so do the insecurities. Itâs not about writing in my school notebooks anymore and the fear of publishing can be a terrible feeling. I suppose the concern about being judged and criticized is a common worry for any beginner, but chances are one will be a victim of that whether he or she chooses to write or not, because thatâs what people do.
I started writing a book a few times. Iâd get a few pages in, decide the idea was stupid and stop writing. I was already blogging and I thought that might be enough. But I knew that there was a book buried deep of me. I just didnât have the time (or the energy) to get it out.
Frances:Â Talk about the laziness and doubts that plague us all at one time or the other. I am glad you beat it.
Why did you write The Spider’s Web? What was your motivating drive to get the book out there?
Ezar:The idea to write The Spiderâs Web came after I attended a Zonta Conference on the 19th of April, 2013. The guest speaker, who is the President, Women Arise for Change Initiative and Campaign for Democracy (CD) Joe Okei-Odumakin in her lecture, âViolence Against Women: A Call for Action for Immediate Eradicationâ lamented the rate at which women suffer violently across the globe. With pictorial evidences, she disclosed that the total number of women getting killed annually in Nigeria due to violent acts could not be less than 2,000 from available data on documented cases of violence against women. In order to put an end to the act of inhumanity against women folk which manifests through violence against them, the human rights activist counseled that the culture of silence must be broken. According to her, âit is unfortunate, but the reality is that the common language spoken by every woman, wherever she may be found is the âculture of silenceâ, yet, this must be broken, as women, we must open up and bring our issues to the front burnerâ.
She further told us that whatever may be our position or status in the society, wherever we may find ourselves, we need to raise our head up and speak up, we should never keep silent and we must not look the other way when things inimical to our sisters happen.
Her speech took root in my heart. I wanted to do something. Soon after, I started building characters for my book, and here we are.
Frances: I’m certain that there must have been some challenges along the way, what was your biggest challenge on the journey to having The Spider’s web on the book shelves?
Ezar: It can be hard to render strings of scenes from your head into words on paper. After I had written the first chapter I did a few more chapters just to see if I had other ideas and then I stopped. I think the real challenge when you want to write a book is actually to finish it.
Frances:Â Aha, the “finish what you started” phase… But you did finish it 🙂
What’s The Spider’s Web all about?
Ezar: The story takes place in the 21st century suburban Africa (Asaba, Nigeria). The horror of domestic violence, to both children and wives, is clearly depicted in the novel. It weaves an intricate mosaic of women joined by their love for each other, the men who abuse them and the children they care for.
The book explores the strict rules that govern the lives of African women, and in particular, how religious leaders can twist biblical and other holy writings to suit their objectives. But more importantly, sheds light on the subject of domestic abuse, especially when it occurs in a close-knit, patriarchal community that prefers to keep its dirty laundry hidden.
The two main recipients of the violence in the novel are Nnenna and Ejiro. Nnenna is, in the beginning, portrayed as weak and submissive. She endures abuse inflicted on her by her husband, a clergy man, in order to provide for her parents and to protect her children from his cruelty. Emeka, her husband, values Nnenna only as a sexual object and a caretaker for his home.
To make himself feel more important and prove he is boss, Emeka regularly abuses Nnenna. Because of the abuse she endures, Nnennaâs self-esteem is injured. She loses a child, catches her husband with her best friend and finally breaks the pattern of violence and domestic abuse.
The two most abused women in the novel, Nnenna and Ejiro, form a deep bond; their suffering brings them together in a strong solidarity. Through fate, they become fast friends, quilting together, offering advice to each other, and offering mutual aid over the years. When Nnenna mourns her child and her husbandâs betrayal, her friend nurses her wounds and gives her comfort.
Frances:Â I could feel a mixture of different emotions when I read the book and I know that the book might speak to people in different ways but what is the overall message that you hope to pass across to readers with The spider’s web?
Ezar: One only has to look around to realize that the notion of the happy âAfrican Childâ, proudly eulogized by the author Camara Laye in his famous book of the same name has long since gone. The African girl child in particular lives under the constant threat of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Our continent has a long standing tradition of incredibly unequal power between men and women. Violence against women begins in childhood. African families show an obvious preference for sons over daughters, African society views sons as a credit to their family, while families that have only daughters are stigmatized. Sons are often weaned later, fed better and more likely enrolled in school. These societal norms set girls to grow into women with low self-esteem and low self-worth, thus perpetuating a never ending cycle of abuse.
My book, The Spiderâs Web, raises the possibility that marriage and victimhood are inseparable in Africa. In real life, this is a widespread suspicion, sometimes justified, sometimes not. Iâm more aware than ever of the prevalence of hidden domestic abuse; Iâm cognizant of the widespread unfairness of the economic arrangements between men and women. I understand that marriages that look respectable can also hide a lot. At the same time, the concepts of masculinity and feminity â and of personhood, success and freedom âhave grown less compatible with the compromises of coupled life. To be in a couple, in short, is to be in a power relationship, there are always winners and losers.
The characters in Spiderâs Web portray all these. It is a story about life âpast regrets, lost love, hardships, success and revenge. It is a story about Nnenna and Ejiro and a few other women, all from different walks of life, but each have something missing in their personal lives.
Frances:Â And I understand that the Nigerian Christian fiction genre isn’t really that popular but how has the feedback being so far?
Ezar: It wasnât easy addressing several important issues in the book from a Christian perspective. I tried to strike a balance so that its wholesome values don’t take away from the action or make the book less accessible to a non-Christian audience. So far, the reviews have been so encouraging.
I basically wanted to incorporate the values of integrity, justice and honour in the story by using characters who live these values, and influence the main characters to help them to make decisions where they actually take steps of faith.
Most Christian fiction out there are more entertaining than thought-provoking, and I think thatâs a problem. I wanted to write fiction that was Literary first and Christian second. Â My characters are strong women with real problems, issues, imperfect lives. Â Someone told me that I may have difficulty marketing my books because my characters are not squeaky clean. Some Christians will argue that my characters are inappropriate and should not be read by Christians. Â Okay, so be it. Â Christians who cannot handle people who have lived less than perfect lives should not read my books – or maybe they should. I want non-Christians, struggling Christians, baby Christians to read my books and connect with the characters. See how they handle struggles and life and how they grew and learned to depend on God.
Frances:Â I can relate with that.
This blog is basically built on Imperfectly Perfect Lives(yeah, obviously, that’s our name), on what God can do with the Imperfect lives too.
What advice do you have for soon-to-be published writers who have ideas about writing their own book?
Ezar: That moment of panic after staring at the blinking cursor on a blank word document without a single idea to put down: I have been there. But struggling writers, you are not alone. Those dark feelings and moments of self-doubt are universal, and even brilliant authors suffer through them during the painstaking creative processes.Â Itâs normal to get knocked to the mat. Itâs okay to get knocked to the mat. Pretty much everyone whoâs ever tried anything has been knocked to the mat. More specifically, pretty much everyone whoâs ever tried something great has been knocked to the mat at least a hundred times. And the people who achieve greatness? Theyâre the ones who kept getting back up, again and again.
So if youâre thereâright now, this secondâgive yourself a moment. Catch a breath and recover. Re-access and dust off your dreams. But then come up swinging. Scrap your way back onto your feet. Youâre halfway to something great, just by answering the bell.
Frances: I’m personally inspired by your answer above.
Ok, where can we get more details about your book? And possibly purchase them?
Ezar: The Spiderâs Web is available in major bookstores across the country. More details on www.dumebie.com.
Frances: Also share your links and how you can be contacted.
Ezar: My Facebook Fanpage: Dumebi Ezar Ehigiator
P.S – Ezar sent me the book and thought that I would get back to her the following week…
But guess what?
I got back to her with what I thought about the book the next day.
I literally spent a night reading through it all(I have to read it more slowly again), but it was that good!
So hurry up and get your copy, just visit www.dumebie.com for more details on how to buy your copy of “Spider’s Web” and maybe another copy for a friend too 🙂
You can also get “Spider’s web” on Jumia, dealsdey an kaymu.
Trust me, they will be forever grateful to you for it 🙂
And that’s it on the first post on this segment for today.
I enjoyed doing this and I hope you did too.
We’ll be seeing more of this on the blog.
Till next time on Author’s Spotlight,