Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What I am reading - Finding Grace

For what I am reading, I usually blog about any book that I find interesting, a book that a friend recommends or a book someone sends to me. The first one was Chimeka Garricks Tomorrow died yesterday, check it out here.
Next I am blogging about  a novella  written by Onyih Odunze who sent me a free copy of her book to review.

When I started the book, I was expecting a traditional romance story but was pleasantly surprised. She is a great descriptive writer, the first chapter of the book which describes  the setting of  proper Lagos wedding immediately made that apparent. It was fabulous writing indeed.  In spite of my unconscious mental decision not to get invested in the characters’ lives, I found myself caring about them. Her novella softened my ever so cynical heart… just a tiny bit.  It was a well written romance story with an undertone of Christianity. Onyih should also be put under the super woman category, she is married with two kid, pursuing her master’s degree and has a novella and anthology of short stories published. 

Yeah, I need to do better with time management.
Instead of droning on and on, I decided to just have the writer talk about the book by herself.

Hello Onyih, thanks for stopping by.  We would like to know a little more about you, your likes, dislikes, writers that have influenced you, whether you are a morning person or not etc.

Thanks for having me, Eniola! Hmm…my likes and dislikes? I love reading for one thing. That is a passion for me. I read my first novel – a detective story – when I was about 8 years old. It was my eldest brother’s book, and I still remember curling up on his bed, caught up in a world so different from the one I lived in. I read that book in one sitting and haven’t looked back since.
I also like music, chocolate (specifically Cadbury’s Whole Nut or Fruit and Nut), and I adore ice cream (who doesn’t?). I’m a proper homebody so I love hanging out at home with my hubby and babies.
Am I a morning person? Well, my first inclination when my alarm rings is to shut it off and snooze for another fifteen minutes, so no, definitely not a morning person.
Francine Rivers is a big influence and she is one of my favorite writers. Angela Hunt is another one and I recently discovered Patrick Carr, a Christian fiction fantasy writer.  I admire them because they write about real people, flawed people. I definitely relate to that and it makes me want to create characters that people can also relate to.

What inspired you to write the novel and did you draw from your personal experiences for it.

Finding Grace was actually inspired by a story I heard many years ago about a long-term relationship gone wrong.  Initially, I wrote a couple of scenes back in 2007 and in time, it just grew from that. I think every writer leaves a piece of themselves in their work. I definitely draw from my experiences and from my observations of what other people are going through and how they react in those situations.
Apart from letting go and moving on which I learned from the main character Grace what other underlying themes were you trying to put across to readers in the novel.  I definitely noticed you had a few underlying Christian themes. 
You correctly mentioned letting go…more like, ‘Let go and let God do what He’ll do.” I think sometimes we become so focused on what we want, or how we think our lives should go and that obscures our trust in God. It affects our ability to receive anything good from God because we hold so tightly to what we’ve lost.  Forgiveness was also important in this story. The heroine – Grace – faced betrayal several times and she had to find a way to release those who had hurt her. Writing that story also taught me about trust – trusting God even when things are going haywire. He does know what He’s doing.

Not giving any spoilers away but I wasn't expecting the twist with the sister and I can usually predict twists in a story.  I didn't see that coming it at all. Why was it important for you to add that?

Hmm….you know, that wasn't really part of the original story. I think Sonia’s character sort of drew me in that direction. It definitely added some nuances to the story and I think it makes people sit up and take notice of the sister. I've had people asking me about Sonia’s story and that shows how strong of a character she is. She’s someone that’s used to being the focus of attention.

Azuka is goes through a family tragedy and in some ways  the character Grace gives him grace. How did the tragedy shape him as a character and do you think it propelled him a little faster to find his missing ribs ( as we Christians so aptly  call it.)  J

Azuka’s family tragedy helped him realize how frail life is, you know? Why not go after what or who you want right now, today? Tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone. It definitely propelled him towards his missing rib much faster, lol! As time went on, he discovered that his need for Grace went much deeper than he initially thought.  

You infused a lot of your igbo culture into the novel and I thoroughly enjoyed that.  How did that influence Azuka  when he wanted Grace. The boy does not play, he saw what he liked and in less than three months he was planning a wedding in his head.

Lol! I’m not sure being Ibo really influence the speed with which he was moving, but I thought it was important to show where he came from, because that really fed into who he was.

What do you love most about writing and what do you struggle most with about writing?

Oh gosh! Writing…I love it because it’s an incredible way to express myself. I have a pretty introverted personality and I don’t think I’m very good at having conversations. So, writing is definitely my way of communicating with people. Some said that a writer is an introvert who wants to tell a story but doesn't want to make eye contact while doing it. That describes me to a t. And, that’s why I love writing. It lets me be who I really am.
On the other hand, I struggle with consistency and procrastination. I have two small children, work full time and at same time, I’m studying for a Masters degree. Between the demands of home and family, it can be really difficult to make time to write. I’m working on that.

What is next for you?

I recently released a collection of short stories, titled ‘Who are You?’ and I’m working on a novel to be released this year.
Thanks Onyih! 

Finding Grace description 

A cutting betrayal. A chance meeting. A heartbreaking loss. Emotionally drained from an impending family tragedy, Azuka Obialor is rocked by an accidental meeting and his thoughts are never far from the woman who crossed his path for the briefest of moments. 

A heartbreaking loss shifts his focus and thoughts of his ‘mystery woman’ are all but forgotten. Another coincidental meeting is almost one too many, and Azuka is faced with the daunting prospect that his reality would fall far short of his dreams. 

Grace Osoka is devastated by a cutting betrayal. Stunned, she retreats into a shell and is hesitant to trust any man again. Will Azuka’s love be enough to bridge her walls? 

From the metropolitan streets of London and the bustle of Lagos to the dusty roads of an Eastern Nigeria village, follow Azuka and Grace on their journey to finding grace in the midst of heartache.

Click here for Finding Grace

Click here for her newly released anthology, Who are you? 


  1. Excellent interview, gifted author. Enjoyed the book and loved learning more about the author!!

  2. The book review sounds really interesting .would really love to read the book.
    What challenged me so much was that she found time to write despite her schedule. should really work harder on my novel . great interview