Oluwaseun Oloruntegbe author of ‘Alisa the Odessa Bride‘, a compilation of poems and short stories is a trainee doctor with a knack for writing. Born in Owo, Ondo state and currently living in Ukraine, he was “bread and watered” in different cities and towns, across Nigeria.
Oloruntegbe who loves writing features, poetry, short stories spoke with Pulse Prose and Poetry about how his writings, the African poverty narrative and how he intends to change the world one story at a time.
An early love for writing
I started writing at an early age. I remember always sending letters and notes to the kid column of the Punch Newspaper when I was a child because my Dad always buys that particular paper and I get to read other kids’ stories and I simply just wanted to see my name in the paper. A few of my notes got published luckily.
I’ve always had a way with words, always creating stories and scenarios in my head and I wrote sparingly for years but I only started writing real poetry, articles and pieces about 3 years ago when I started running my own personal blog on issues that bother me.
I really don’t have a ready answer to this particular question. I’m not going to say I write because I want my voice to be heard or some similar cliché. I simply write because I have a way with words and writing serves as a form of expression to me.
Publishing a book
My only published book so far ‘Alisa the Odessa Bride is a compilation of poems and short stories’.
I’ve also written a few blog posts, some academic articles in journals and publications and a lot of scribbles in my notes and phones.
I write features for online magazines and run my own personal blog at www.seunlight.blogspot.com
Insight into the life of your main character?
The main character Alisa is your everyday young woman (or man) trying to find his or her own way in a world that puts a lot of pressure of unrealistic expectations on her. Alisa is a character with who every free thinking young person can identify
Ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I prefer eBooks. Thank God for technology. Having a smartphone means I can carry 10 books on my phone at a time, and read through all 10. My backpack used to weigh almost as much as I did as a schoolboy
Yoko Ono, Thomas Hardy, Quentin Tarantino. I also particularly love and read the works of Leo Tolstoy.
On African literature and the dangers of a single story
Like I’ve heard over and over again I’m not your typical African. I don’t buy into the stereotype of poverty and oppression and I particularly don’t appreciate when authors focus on such themes. I believe it is a combination of a lack of imagination, effort and uniqueness on the part of African authors.
I really didn’t consider this story or theme when I was writing my book but Alisa the Odessa Bride is one that doesn’t conform to any African stereotype. Odessa is a beautiful port city in the Eastern European country of Ukraine where I’ve lived for the last 8 years and a country that has greatly influenced me. Alisa the Odessa Bride is written from many personal experiences of mine and is a book that focusses on many life issues and one that will be beneficial to every reader, old or young, man or woman.
The advantages of self-publishing I would say is that it is cost-effective and involves less of a risk. Writing is a first book is always a challenge, publishing a first book as an unknown is even a bigger challenge. People like the status quo, the known names. Hence my choice for the safe option of self-publishing. The disadvantage of self-publishing is in marketing. It is difficult for popular publishers to successfully market a first book of a no name author let alone try to personally manage such a book.
Why writing is hard
The hardest thing about writing I will have to say is creating a relationship with the reader. Trying to make the characters relatable without deviating too far away from the focus of the book is always a big challenge.
And how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Do something, anything other than stare at your computer screen or the empty notepad. I employed long works with music in my ears when I had such blocks while I was working on my book. I realized that the best way to get fresh inspiration is to just let it go. Don’t write for days or sometimes even weeks. Writing a good book always takes time, and a large percentage of that time used not even writing at all, just waiting for the next line, story or twist to reveal itself.
Fantastic advice for aspiring writers?
If you cannot delay gratification then don’t bother writing. Writing requires persistence and sincerity. You have to be honest to yourself about your goals and ambitions
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
My book, both the eBook and paperback copies, is presently available only on Amazon (http://goo.gl/Ngt4II) and it will soon be published and available for sale in Nigeria.