We at Jaguda.com were able to catch up with the author of the novel "A Heart To Mend" Myne Whitman for an exclusive interview about her background and her book. The book has been buzzing all over nigerian websites and is a definite buy. See interview below:
Tell us about yourself i.e. Your background and education.
I grew up in the mostly academic city of Enugu and in a family where I was surrounded by books, and that's how I developed my love for reading. I studied Biological Sciences at the undergraduate level in Nigeria, then went on to study Public Health in the UK. I sometimes come across as quiet and laid-back but do like a good loud debate sometimes. In three words, I will describe myself as friendly, caring and fun-loving.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
As I read more and more, I began to think that I could write some of the stories that I had been reading, so it must have been when I was very young. However, I didn't actually attempt to write seriously until much later, during my university education.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
If I have any writing quirk, I haven't noticed it - I just go with the flow and write as the muse leads. Perhaps my readers and critics will point this out.
I know growing up you must've been exposed to a good number of books and authors. From a literature standpoint, who would you say has been your biggest influence?
I wouldn't say I have a single influence, as I have read so widely, but some authors that come to mind are Barbara Cartland, Francine Rivers, Sidney Sheldon, Flora Nwapa, Buchi Emecheta, Cyprian Ekwensi, and more recently Chimamanda Adichie and Jude Dibia. Of all them I identify most strongly with Buchi Emechetas books.
So tell us a little bit about your book "A Heart To Mend."
The book is about two people, Edward and Gladys, who meet and are almost immediately, but have difficulty in resolving their feelings for each other, especially because of Edwards past. Just when they have finally got around to declaring their love for each other, a crisis arises that tests that love to its limits.
How did you come up with the title?
It was an iterative process. I wanted something which reflected one of the main themes of the book - in this case, Edwards difficulty in committing to a relationship. But I also wanted something positive. I felt that A Heart To Mend satisfied both counts.
What inspired this book?
Like I said earlier, from when I was young, I have always wanted to write an engrossing story. I also felt that there were not were not enough romance novels set in contemporary Nigeria, and that I could do something to redress that.
Is this your first book?
Yes it is, although I have written a few short stories previously. In fact, this novel developed out of one of those stories.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Oh, I like to read, go out for walks, watch movies and go sightseeing.
What do you think makes a good story?
A good story should have believable characters that readers can identify and empathize with; a vividly painted setting that readers are immersed in; a plot with enough twists and turns to keep readers turning the page; and a resolution at the end which does not have story threads hanging all over the place.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be either a doctor, oran architect. I also felt I could make a goodfashion designer or author because of the creative talent I noticed I had. The last two were things I felt that it was more things to do as a hobby.
There has been a surge in the number of Nigerian bloggers over the past couple of years, both formal and informal. How do think that expands the young Nigerian's scope of writing?
I think it offers phenomenal scope for young Nigerians as they can both see more writing by other Nigerians that they can relate to, and it also provides them a platform to write and receive constructive criticism that improves their writing.