I am excited to interview Biola Olatunde, published author, critique partner, and friend.
About the book:
Ken (Kenawari) left his village in the Niger Delta region many years ago, carrying with him emotional scars. However, he did make a life for himself in the city and built a reputation as a slick troubleshooter in inter-village disputes, of which there were many. He was one of the best operators on the books of the private security firm he worked for.
Then it happened. There was trouble in his tribal home. Reluctantly he agreed to return. Not only has he got to settle a dispute that resulted in kidnapping, and tread gingerly through the political minefield of the region - including local robber barons, but he also has to face the most fearsome obstacles of all - his past.
Blood Contract is not just an adventure set in the dangerous swamps of the Niger Delta, it is also the story of a man who is imperfect and must finally find some reconciliation with his past. Most of all, Biola Olatunde provides the reader with a vivid social commentary of the lives and challenges of those who live in this most neglected of corners of the earth.
About the author:
With more than 30 years experience as a scriptwriter and producer, Biola has written more than 200 stories for both radio and television. She is an alumnus of the Dramatic Arts department Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria. She is a professionally trained newscaster; she went independent some 23 years ago. Biola got involved in intervention drama to help change attitudes towards behavioral change and so created a series for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on teenage reproductive health, “I NEED TO KNOW” It was so successful that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) got involved and had it adapted into radio as well as in two of the major languages. It was shown on national, state and private television and radio in the country as well as on a satellite television.
Biola has always been interested in bringing social issues to public attention using drama and has thus written for USAID on maternal health, Democracy and Governance, Womens issues, and HIV/AIDS. She was given a distinguished alumni award from the Dramatic Arts Department of her alma mater O.A.U Ife, in recognition of her contributions to the growth of the legacy of Dramatic Art.
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Now on with the interview!
Genre you write: Well you could call this one a social commentary in the adventure action genre
Published credits: 3 books of poetry 'I almost", "Chants in my Dreams" "Tomorrow's Promise"
2 novels "Stars in my eyes" and "Dream and Reality" BLOOD CONTRACT is the 3rd and most recent work. It is also the first to be published outside my country plus the added fact that it is the first of my work that is not self published.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing for about 33 years now. I had my first play on radio 33 years ago.
How do you balance writing with everything else...with life?
That could be tough to answer as I actually earn my living through writing so it is work for me. I have always used writing to get out of pain, confusion, contemplation about the state of my country and the odd time when something does not turn out well, I write. It is like I am in constant dialogue with my soul, the earth, and things that do not seem to make sense. My family have learned to care for me, look after me as my writing has also been in some cases the only source of family income.
Who or What motivates you to write? Your muse?
A lot of things motivate me to write. I am a broadcaster and used to handle a program on radio in which I talked to teenagers about the very confusing transitions from adolescence to adult hood. This has made parents, and children alike to see me as friend. So I am made confidante sometimes of stories, and situations. I counsel and I find I learn as well. I love listening and I do learn from the experiences of others. So you might say my muse are the everyday people around me
Tell us a little bit about your book.
BLOOD CONTRACT came about in the same way other stories have come about. I live in the south western part of Nigeria, however, we have the Niger Delta too and I have lived for sometime within that area too and observed quite a lot of things. There is the general misconception that the people from the Niger Delta are violent people. I was at first nervous living amongst them but gradually discovered that they were like all normal human beings in any part of the country or the world for that matter. They have hopes, want to have a future and like the average African, have a naïve trust that governance should be the provision of basic services and basic respects for human rights and environment. They are puzzled to find that they are silently regarded as second class citizens. The novel is thus about a normal man Kenawari (Ken), imperfect, a negotiator, dreamer, idealist but with a realistic understanding that evil is color or status blind. A man can be good or bad in any location.
What or who inspired your new book..a bit about the story behind the story?
The book is thus inspired by a story I was told by an Izon man , long before the issue of militancy became a national headache. His father had been captured by angry youth on a trumped up charge, beheaded and his head paraded round the village. It scarred him and made him very bitter. He was a militant of the mind. I had read the novels of the foremost spokesperson of the people of the Niger Delta, Ken Saro Wiwa and felt personally devasted when he was hanged. I could not eat for two days. I was inconsolable. Then I met a broad spectrum of people from there. Some I held in contempt. Some I had deep respect for, so I concluded that they were not that different from others. I try to make people understand the rationale for the anger of the people. It does not make much sense to them, to see lights, good roads on the estates of the oil companies and be in the dark. No hospitals of any competence and the consciousness of knowing that they are regarded as oddities.
Share five favorites with us. Can be anything...skys the limit.
I love people, poems, and do have authors I admire. Authors like Jean Paul Sartre, Plato, Rob Plath, Todd Moore, I love classical music, old time chants from my village(it used to scare me so bad that I wrote a play about it!), my culture really is beautiful and I like being just me.