Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Author Behind the Story Series - Sinmisola Ogunyinka

Greetings from the Sunny South! Where we live in the high 80s, in high humidity, and with high hopes of having a calm hurricane season this year! To only reach the letter "C" on the name list for storms this season will be wonderful.

As I stated recently in a blog interview I did with Lena Nelson Dooley, one of the best parts of becoming a published author is getting to know so many people who share the same passion. Another aspect of that is getting to know authors from all over the world. This brings me to my next guest on my Author Behind the Story series. Please welcome fellow author, Sinmisola Ogunyinka!

Sinmisola, before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life?

I started writing at a pretty young age. I wrote my first story at the age of ten. So, before I had the first thought, I was home in elementary, playing with dolls. Lol. However, my reading teacher was quite engaging, and she sparked my first thoughts about creating stories of my own.

What educational background do you have?

I am originally from Nigeria, West Africa, and so all of my formal education was in my home country. I attended Federal Govt. Girls’ College a boarding school for girls, and went to Obafemi Awolowo University where I majored in Economics.

Are you married? Single? Have kids?

I got married to my college sweetheart, Afolarin, and we have four kids, three girls and a boy. The oldest, a girl, is currently a Freshman in Penn State University.

When the words aren’t flowing, what is your favorite comfort food and why?

Ice-cream…not so healthy haha, but, yes. It calms my within and makes me remember life can be “sweet.”

Do you have a favorite line from a movie or book? If so, what is it and explain why it is special to you?

My favorite movie is Sound of Music, lol. I think I have watched it a zillion times. And I still do crave it sometimes. I’d say my fave scene is the romance scene between the captain and Maria, especially the conversation when Maria said, “I’m sure the baroness will make things fine for you.” And he said, “There is no baroness.”

As a writer, if you had one thing you would do over again, what would it be?

I lived more than forty years in my home country where opportunities for career writers were limited to news and educational books. I wasn’t exposed to training until the millennium, and it was almost out of reach (due to the expense) so I’d say, if I had one thing I could do over again, I’d backdate my training by ten years.

It's never too late to start, is it? And when we do start and get excited about writing, it's so natural to want to turn the clock back, isn't it? Tell us about what project you are currently working on.

I’m writing my very first novel totally set in the United States. Since I’ve lived here for roughly a year, it is a challenging project but I’m working on it. It is set in Manhattan, and some other parts of New York, and I hope to visit New York City before I finish writing, to breath in the air. I should, I guess.

Tell us about your writing day. How do you go about writing?

I have four kids so writing during the day is almost impossible. So, I am happy I am a night owl. The day starts for me at 1:00 a.m.

Wow. When do you sleep? Knowing what you know now about writing, publishing, etc., what piece of advice would you give to the person thinking about writing that novel they have always wanted to pursue since they were young, or the person who believes they have a non-fiction book in them that would be helpful to others?

Write it. Write, write. Write.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

I do a lot of research on names. I am so particular about this because I come from a country with more than two hundred languages, and names have meanings. When I have decided on the setting of my story, I go in search of appropriate names for my characters, and then I practice how the name sounds by calling it several times. Some names just sound so wrong and I have to go search for other names.

If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be?

I would have loved to meet Princess Diana, but she died, poor me. The next person I’d like to meet is Donald Trump. And not because he is POTUS. He’s done a lot in the business and entertainment world, and I am keen on getting some of his personal insights.

If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus?

I’d like to meet David. I am flawed like him, I guess. But he made so much impact despite his notable flaws.

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

Well, I read the John Maxwell book, Failing Forward, more than five years ago at a time I was deep in depression. My husband gave me the book because he couldn’t think of what else would help me. The book not only helped, it shot me out of my depressive moods. Till today, it’s still working. The magic in the book is still working for me. I think of all the testimonies of the challenges people faced, written in the book, and I realize I can make it, too!

When you are looking for a book to read, what are the things that are important to you?

I love reading romance, all genres of romance give me a “kick.” But I like well-written books, and I look for strong, well-researched, and rounded characters. I like characters who are flawed. Most importantly, I want action from the start of the book, and I like the characters to surprise me.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?

Most of my years back home, married, were spent being a stay-at-home mother and pastor’s wife, and I got a lot of inspiration from the voluntary services I rendered in our church. One scripture which impacted me a lot then is Proverbs 14:1 which says a wise woman builds her home but a foolish woman tears her home with her hands. My lifestyle was quite lonely, but this scripture encouraged me to look for more. This was the period I started to build a career as a writer.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover?

I want to thank all my readers and followers. I love getting your feedback, and I love interacting and engaging with you. I find people have a lot of talent, and I learn from everyone, which makes me appreciate God’s creativity. I also laugh a lot. And my philosophy in life is: live and let live.
Thank you so much for having me on the blog.

Sinmisola, thank you for being a part of our series! And may God bless your writing ministry.

Readers, if you want to get to know Sinmisola better, you can find her in these locations: 

Until next time, may God bless you all, and may you bless God,

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