Tope Templer Olaiya
So unknown to me at the time, one of the reporters for The Guardian Life (the Sunday style pull out of the Guardian Newspapers in Nigeria) had got wind of A Heart to Mend and had written up an article on me and the book. The article was contained in the Edition 222 of Jan 31 - Feb 6 under the spotlight section as shown below.
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Nkem… Home girl in the ‘hood’
By Tope Templer Olaiya
NKEM Akinsoto has written her way into limelight with her debut novel, A Heart to Mend, however, under a pseudo name, Myne Whitman. The writer and editor currently residing in Seattle, United States, is on a journey to seeing her stories in print. She aspires to see her work on big and small TV screens everywhere.
Giving reasons why she took up the name Myne Whitman, Nkem said she grew up during the 80s in Enugu, Nigeria. In an online interview, she wrote, “my earliest memories are of studying, reading everything I could lay my hands on, and then trying to play as much as I could. I have worked as a teacher, NGO consultant, banker, skate-hire attendant, researcher and Scottish government worker.
The young author said she started to write while still in primary school. “My writings then were about the kind of adventures the tomboy I was wished I had. When I started writing seriously later, I found my pen tilting to the romance genre. You can blame it on all the category romance novels I ran through in secondary school, and still read once in a while. The only difference was that I based all my stories in Nigeria, with local characters and continues to do so. However, I decided on a pseudonym and since I was writing in English, Myne Whitman was born.”
She describes herself as friendly, caring and fun loving. After a postgraduate degree and a few years in Edinburgh, Scotland, she now lives in the United States with her husband.
Myne Whitman is, however, a creation of her blogging. “I decided to start the Myne Whitman Writes blog because of the feedback I received from readers at my favourite online forum, Nigeria Village Square and from my writing group. I had a poetry blog on NVS and had been reading other blogs, but it never occurred to me to start blogging because most of the ones I read were personal blogs. Some of the members of my meet-up had blogs where they shared previews or excerpts of their work. They advised that I could start one to get more feedback on the story I was writing then, and know when it's ready for the market.”
How did she then create the niche as a writer? She replies, “most times, I’m very private until I feel I have established a rapport with the people I meet. So, I knew I could never start a personal blog. I used to read two writing blogs, which gave me an idea of what I wanted to do and they were by Favoured girl and Flourishing Florida. I’m happy I have been able to establish my blog as a story and writing site but it has just been luck. I salute all the naija blogsville members especially those who have stood the test of time and made it the community it is today.
“But horning my writing skills, I have taken some free online courses and workshops for Creative and Fiction Writing from the University of Utah, MIT, Open University UK and Suite 101. These courses are an on-going project. I am also a member of a Writing meet up group in my area, which includes traditionally/self-published authors and gifted writers/editors. The members were a great help in the course of writing A Heart to Mend.”
Thinking of her home country, she is not only looking for an inroad with student representatives in Nigerian universities, she thinks there is no better time to launch herself than the month of February. “This is just in time because the book will make perfect Valentine's Day gifts.”
The Nigerian author, last December, wrote a captivating novel that presents the gripping tale of a young woman finding her feet in the world and how her life intersects with that of the wealthy egoist she meets. This main story line runs through the subplots of a tear-soaked family reunion and high-powered company acquisitions.