“Konversations with Karibee” is our new series talking to dynamic authors whose passion for sharing stories inspire us all.
Kicking off the series, Karibee Books speaks to the lovely Abimbola Dare. Abimbola is a wife, mother, writer, Law graduate and Project Management professional. She is currently on a Master’s degree program in Creative writing at Birkbeck University, a course she describes as the most exciting one she has ever been on in her life! The Small Print is her debut novel and was in the Top 40 best selling Christian Romance novels on Amazon UK in May, 2012. Grab a cup of coffee and read on to discover how she got into writing and get a sneak peek of what she is working on in 2017.
Karibee: For starters, hearty congratulations are in order as you’ve recently been nominated for the Nigerian Writers Awards, 2017. With this in mind, what has been your most rewarding experience as an author?
Dare: Thank you. It is rewarding, humbling even, to be nominated for awards, and to get recognition for my writing, but that only gives me fleeting pleasure. My greatest and most rewarding experience was when I got feedback from a reader that one of my books helped save her marriage. I have received several of such comments from readers, and each time I get such emails/ comments, I get a sense of satisfaction that words cannot fully explain.
Karibee: Generally, the Christian fiction genre has a smaller author base when compared with the wider mainstream genres. Could you tell us some authors in your genre that inspire you and your writing?
Dare: Francine Rivers is the one author I would always speak about because when I heard the clear instruction from God to write Christian fiction, I was confused. I did not know that Christian fiction as a genre existed, had never read any Christian fiction in my life. The next morning (after the conversation with God), I went to church, and a friend of mine walked up to me and handed me a novel titled : And The Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers. He said, “I have had this on my shelf for ages, but yesterday, God asked me to give it to you to read.” You cannot imagine my shock and surprise. I read that book in one sitting and that single novel inspired my first novel, The Small Print….as well as my journey into Christian fiction writing. Other authors include: Karen Kingsbury, Vivian Kay ( Nigerian), Brandilyn Collins, Terri Blackstock, Dayo Benson ( Nigeria).
Karibee: While reading your novels, ‘The Small Print’ and ‘When Broken Chords Sing’, the themes of broken marriages and the journey to healing stood out to me. Was this done on purpose, and is this a particular message you feel led to share with your readers?
Dare: Yes. I believe I was called to minister to marriages. My parents were divorced when I was a child, and this affected my view on marriage, and my life in general. I have a desire to see marriages succeed and I know now, having being married for 10 years, that it takes the grace of God and a stubborn commitment from both parties to make the marriage work. The wrong choice of a partner can completely deviate and thwart a person’s destiny, and so I try to tell stories that I hope can help my readers to try to make the right choices in marriage.
Karibee: On your website, you let us know that two new novels are in the works. Could you give us a sneak peek of what to expect from them?
Dare: The first novel is tentatively titled The Last Wedding Anniversary (TLWA), which is a story of a woman who is convinced her husband is having an affair, and makes a series of choices that have lasting and unforgettable effects on her life and relationship with God. This novel is with my publishers for editorial feedback and I expect a release date to be announced once that process is over. The second novel is titled The Accidental Wife which I started after I got the first round of editorial feedback to TLWA. My editor recommended I cut a chunk of the original manuscript from TLWA, and so instead of deleting the work, I decided to spin another novel from it. My plan is to create a web fiction series from The Accidental Wife so as to use that reader feedback to replot the story before releasing ( daunting but exciting!).
Karibee: In both published novels, you used the last name “Briggs” – Stanley Briggs in ‘When Broken Chords Sing’ and Nathan Briggs in ‘The Small Print’. As someone from the southern part of Nigeria where the name originates, I spotted it instantly and wondered if you had any ties to that region of the country?
Dare: I confess that I have a nasty habit of re-using character names. When I wrote The Small Print, the name just dropped into my spirit and I used it ( the Nathan was from Prophet Nathan in the Bible who God used to expose David’s sin of adultery with Bathsheba), and the surname just came along. In When Broken Chords Sing, again, the surname popped into my spirit. So short answer is no, I have no ties at all to the southern part of Nigeria ☺.
Karibee: I assume that all writers hit the dreaded ‘writer’s block’ at some point or the other during the writing process. How do you deal with it? What keeps you going?
Dare: I am always praying for inspiration, for ideas, for guidance. As a Christian fiction author, it is important that I write what the Holy Spirit inspires and so my first point of call is to God in prayer. I also read books. The easiest way to overcome writers block ( after prayer), is to read books that you enjoy. Read for pleasure, just for the sake of reading. I also try to get away from home and go to a café to write. The banter and general noise and smell of a café always gives me a kick!
Karibee: Your short story ‘The No-nonsense Wife’ was made into a short film. If ‘The Small Print’ were to be made into a movie and you had a pick of any actor, whom would you pick to play the lead roles of Sade, Wale, Bode and Jennifer?
Dare: Interesting that you ask that. Let me see…. Using Nigerian actors:
Sade- maybe Adesua Etomi? She has that innocent, young wife look☺. Wale would have to be maybe Deyemi Okanlawon or one of the really good young, handsome male actors out there today. Bode- I don’t know, maybe RMD? Bode is an older guy, so RMD might do it nicely. And Jennifer- I have no clue! ☺
Karibee: When I read a good book, I get a bit excited and I go beyond the book to learn about the author. Could you tell us a bit about Abimbola, the non-author? Who is she and what does she do when she isn’t writing?
Dare: When I am not writing, I work in IT for a leading publishing firm in London, which involves delivering some pretty exciting and potentially life changing stuff that I enjoy.
I love to cook (in my own time and my own space). I enjoy hanging out with my beautiful daughters, and my husband. I love to eat out (Thai food is my favorite), and just chill out with my friends whenever we can take time out of our busy lives to meet. I have a passion for stage and I am trying to get out more and watch stage plays. I read a lot of books (a mix of Christian fiction and secular fiction). Above all, I love being by myself, praying or just sitting still at the foot of Jesus and hearing Him speak.
Karibee: Can you recommend any new or upcoming authors to us?
Dare: Unoma Nwankwor and Vivian Kay are two author friends of mine that write great ( Christian fiction) books. You should check them out.
Karibee: Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom you can impart to aspiring writers?
- Write. Just write. Don’t worry about if it will get published or not. Don’t be afraid of what people would say about your work. Just get up and go. Do it. Do it now. If you were called to write Christian fiction, treat it as just that: a calling- answer it.
- Read a lot of books. Books are the greatest writing teachers. Utilize them.
- Engage on a writing course if you can, get feedback (through a critique circle, or through a writing workshop)
- Find a writing mentor (remotely is good, but if you can reach out to them, and they are willing to mentor, even better). I have a lot of remote mentors. They have no clue I exist, or maybe they do, I don’t know, but I study their writing, and monitor their style…and try to see what I can learn from it.
~ Resources ~
Get copies of her heart warming novels; The Small Print and When Broken Chords Sing on Amazon here.
Don’t forget to visit www.abimboladare.com to read her catchy new webseries!