Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Day 214 - Q&A with Author Tomi Akinyanmi

I'd like to welcome Tomi Akinyanmi to mis(h)takes today! She's agreed to answer some questions about herself and her book A Worthy Legacy.


A lil background info before we proceed:

Tomi (aka Ibitomilade) discovered her enthusiasm for writing at an early age, and has been writing for over twenty years. Though poetry is her first love, Tomi was inspired by personal experiences to create A Worthy Legacy as her first book.

Her works include Voices in the Wind winner of the inaugural Voices Anthology Contest sponsored by The Voices Anthology Network. Some of her poems have also appeared in Free Focus, Northern Stars and Soul Fountain as well as online on poetry websites.

A Worthy Legacy won the 2009 Reviewer's Choice Award from Reader Views.

You can visit her personal blog here.


Me: First off, thank you for taking the time out to answer some questions. Can you tell us a little bit about your book A Worthy Legacy. How was the writing process?

Tomi: While I was in college, it dawned on me one beautiful day, that I was an adult. I had all these issues and circumstances I had to deal with and I had no clue how to deal with them. It was like I needed some sort of manual for dealing with life from that point on. So I began to write down everything I learned especially from my dad who I felt had seen more about life than I had. In writing A Worthy Legacy, I started with that old folder. However, I had to take time to remember the situations and the context of my past notes to be able to convey the message of the A Worthy Legacy effectively. It took a few years as I tried as much as possible to organize the quotes into categories, putting similar thoughts together. Eventually, the story began to take form. Once I had the basic ideas down, I began to tackle one category at a time. Of course I had several drafts before the story eventually felt just right. I shared the finished manuscript with family and friends before passing it on to an editor for review.

Me: For those who haven’t read anything about the book, can you describe what inspired you to write a book like A Worthy Legacy?

Tomi: My dad’s sudden death in an automobile accident in 2001 inspired the writing of A Worthy Legacy. My father had died without the chance to say goodbye so in my search for closure I decided to write his last words for him and ended up with A Worthy Legacy. Also I used to look to my dad for answers when things seemed overwhelming but when he died just after I graduated from college, I was desperately in need of guidance for the next stage of my life. In writing A Worthy Legacy, I thought to myself what would he have said if I was there and he had the chance to say something before he took his last breath? Using the words I had written down over the years the book as you see it now was born.

Me: Other than your father, who truly sounds like an amazing individual, who would you say are some of your biggest influences in life?

Tomi: The members of my family are the biggest influences in my life I’d say. Coming from a polygamous home and a culture where the extended family plays a huge part in your development, everyone had in some way contributed to who I have become today. I can say for certainty that I learned a little of something from everyone even the insufferable ones. Today, I am privileged to be learning still from even more family. I’ve got my immediate family, my extended family as well as my husband’s immediate and extended family assuredly I’m learning lots day after day. I have also been inspired by the story of people like Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Kase Lawal and Warren Buffett amongst others.

Me: I noticed you included some original artwork of yours into the book, have you ever wanted to be an artist professionally?

Tomi: Actually, I never considered being a professionally artist. Drawing is just a hobby, something I do in my leisure when I am not writing. The book was an opportunity to combine my two pastimes. But it also made me realize that I could have an exhibition of my drawings so I am looking into that.

Me: If you could write a book with any other author, alive or deceased, who would you choose and why? What would you want the book to be about?

Tomi: I’d have to say Maya Angelou because she is a very insightful woman and a wonderful poet. She also understands a lot about the needs and challenges faced by the present generation of writers. The book would have to be a book of poetry because when it comes to writing, poetry is my first love.

Me: You write poetry, beautiful poetry at that, are you thinking about publishing your poems in a collection?

Tomi: Thanks for the compliment. Sure! I would love to have a poetry collection. It’s one other project in the making.

Me: What are you currently working on?

Tomi: A number of things really but my top priority right now is a journal companion to A Worthy Legacy. It will be a starting point for people who have been inspired by the book, to write their own legacy. I also have people asking me how to apply the lessons of A Worthy Legacy in everyday life so I am working on that as well. Hopefully, I’ll have them published soon.

Me: If you had to choose one thing readers took away from A Worthy Legacy, what would that be?

Tomi: It is my hope that A Worthy Legacy will teach its readers to value life as a gift and learn to live purposefully leaving a `legacy’ of their own for coming generations.

Me: Thank you so much for allowing me to read your book and experience the beautiful story you have created. It packed such a powerful emotional punch in such few words. Well done, indeed!

Tomi: Thank you.

Thank you so much Tomi for contacting me to participate in your tour and read your book!


Christine said...

Hi Mishel and Tomi. :)

Great interview. I'm sorry, Tomi, about your dad's tragic death and find it very moving that you were inspired to write his "last words" so to speak for him through your novel. It's such a beautiful tribute to a man who obviously means so much to you.

Best wishes with your writing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Christine.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mishel

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