and with those words, Myne Whitman writes another page turner, ' a love rekindled', which explores several themes: first love, conflict, betrayal, forgiveness and more.
Myne Whitman is a Nigerian romance author who uses her books to explore love relationships from the Nigerian perspective. Her books have gotten critical acclaim both in Nigeria and the diaspora. She calls herself, simply a romance writer but she is more. She currently runs naijastories.com which seeks to encourage young writers to read and most importantly write. We got the chance to talk to Myne about her newest book and more. This is a brief synopsis of the interview, please click the link to listen to a complete podcast.
What is first love?
First love is the first time you get feelings that gets you attached to someone. Usually you are quite young at that time, generally late teens to early twenty.
In ‘a love rekindled’, we see more explorations of adult themes compared to ‘a heart to mend’. I am talking about sex scenes - how was it writing those sex scenes?
It was like any other writing. I had three other sex scenes in the book but when I was editing, I realized that will be too much. When I was writing this sex scene, I was like, sex is part of life. A lot of people have been in relationships and a lot of these relationships have had physical aspects to it, so why pretend? When I was doing this writing, I was trying to be real. The kind of people that I was writing about had no hang ups about sex so it (sex) had to happen.
Did you ever feel that the Nigerian circle reading this sex scene will think that Myne Whitman has definitely gone to the Oyibo side? Are you not scared that there will be a back lash from the Nigerian reading audience?
Most people reading romance stories know that these books are about relationships. It will be unrealistic to remove sex. In ‘a heart to mend’, the story did not demand sex but this one did. This is a young lady who had lived in America for a while before returning home. Obviously, people will notice that it is there and that this book is different from a heart to mend. When I wrote ‘a heart to mend’, I did not want to be known as the conservative romance writer, I am a romance writer full stop.
How long after writing ‘a heart to mend’ did it take you to write a love rekindled?
Before 'a heart to mend’ was published, I had already started thinking about this story. After ‘a heart to mend’ was launched, I knew that I was going to publish another book, then I started putting it together and flushing it out.
In ‘a heart to mend’, you tell the story in a straight forward way, it almost seems step by step but in this one, you use a lot of back story - did you know that this was the style you were going to use to tell the story?
Not originally. I had several options when writing the book but I wanted to make it as dramatic as possible. Originally, I wrote the book , in a way in which the whole past was written in the first part of the book while the second part was the present but when editing, we felt that it was unbalanced. So I had to find an alternate way to tell this story.
Discussing themes now, in this book you talk about first love. How realistic is that? If people had the opportunity to meet their first love will they take it?
A lot of people say, an ex is an ex for a reason and for some that is true. But in some cases, you are parted from your exs because of circumstances. I have read articles in which Nigerians are meeting their first love on face book and twitter and because they are now married, they don’t know what to do about it. Now, if these people weren’t married, and were single they will try to find ways to rekindle their love.
In this book you explored the themes of intercultural relationship, which was another theme that you explored in ‘a heart to mend’. What is it about this topic that gets you?
In Nigeria, intercultural relationships is still an issue. But, remember that these are my first two books, in time, I will explore other themes. Also, remember that my book is situated in the Nigerian experience.
When you mentioned the Nigerian experience, my mind went to other creative ventures that others are going into. I am going to talk about Nollywood. Many are using Nollywood to tell the Nigerian story? Any plans to use Nollywood to share your stories?
I won’t rule it out. A love rekindled has been getting some interest. If there is an opportunity to share it through Nollywood - that will be great.
Another theme that you talk about in this book is one of forgiveness. How much does forgiveness play a role in relationships?
Personally, I believe you forgive 70 times 7 times but sometimes it is difficult. Some create a difference between forgiving and forgetting. Some say they will forgive but not forget. But I always say that forgiving is a two way street. It is not enough to just forgive but the person that you are forgiving needs to know what happened and get the opportunity to make allowances. You both have to own that forgiveness.
I know that outside of writing romance novels, you also have a site in which you encourage young writers to submit their articles to be analyzed?
This site is naijastories.com. The idea for it came after I started my blog and my blog became quite popular. A lot of young Nigerian writers who found out about me, started sending me their stories to edit, and had so many questions about publishing. Now, if I were in Nigeria, it would have been easier to choose a locality to meet up and address these issues but since I am based in the United States, it was easier to set up an online forum through which they could share their stories, get some feedback and get the answers to their questions from myself and others.
I know that you are Nigerian, and a lot of the things that you do seem focused on the Nigerian in Nigeria and the diaspora, have you found that non Nigerians come up to you and ask - what about us?
I have only had two experiences. Someone told me that she was chatting with some Kenyans who looked at the site and thought that it is limited to the Nigerian experience. We have a member that is French and she used to write for Naija stories as a Nigerian. You could not tell the difference. But the site is open to all, anyone can join, anyone can write stories or poetry but we want the identity to be very Nigerian, so there is no confusion.
What romance author inspires you?
Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel. Most of these authors started writing a long time ago and now they are writing more family themed books. These are stories about family, marriages, children and often grandchildren. But, they have been writing for thirty or more years and that is very inspiring.
Click Link For Complete Podcast:
Last Updated ( Sunday, 17 April 2011 20:28 )