The slogan last week on LR was #whywasteit? A most inspiring article about recycling waste into stunning works of Art. This week, we shall stretch the limits of this slogan a bit to encompass talents/skills. If you have multiple talents/skills, why waste any of them? Why repress some when you could express them all? Are you wondering where this is leading? If you are, then it means you sure are concentrating on this page, at this time. Motivated people give all of themselves in their lifetime. They tend to hold nothing back. They fully utilise all of their talents and skills, wasting none. This week, we encounter an individual who is on the mission to unleash the full dose of the multiple talents that lie within, on the world around.
Here is the synopsis of the latest book on the block, hot off the press within the next few hours – Melodies of Love. While you each read it, we at the LR Team, request you to make a guess, as to what kind of person you each think the author could be.
[After her teenage romance with now popular music star, Aristar, ended in a disastrous heartbreak twelve years ago, Adaora finds herself thrust back into his life when her financial firm is employed to organise Aristar’s finances. She has a fortress built around her heart and finds it hard to trust. Can she forget the bitter past and allow love to find her once again, or is the past enough to shatter her dreams of happily ever after forever?
Ikenna, one of Nigeria’s highest paid musicians, is finally at the top of his game. He has fame, more money that he could ever dream of, and the life he has always wanted. He seems to have it all, but something is missing. In spite of all the women who throw themselves at him, the one person he can’t seem to forget is Adaora. He has manipulated events to bring her back into his life, but will he be able to convince her to give them another chance, or will the bitterness of the past destroy their chance at happiness.]
Now see how close you each came, to guessing the kind of person this author in question could be.
My name is Amaka Azie. I was born one of five children, in Lagos, and then bred in Lagos, Anambra and Edo States of Nigeria. I attended Grace Children Primary School in Lagos State, Federal Government Girls’ College Onitsha in Anambra State and University of Benin in Edo State where I obtained a bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery.
I moved to England after I got married nine years ago. I have two lovely daughters who are aged seven and five years. I work part time as a family doctor (GP). I used to work full-time but decided to go part-time about a year ago because of the growing stress involved with looking after two young children and devoting my time to work. I wanted to be there for my children both physically and emotionally and not be tired all the time. As it turns out, was one of the best decisions I made last year.
During my days off, I started to ruminate a lot more. I started thinking about what my aspirations and dreams were. I wondered whether I was actually fulfilling those dreams. I realised that I wasn’t. For a long time, I have always been interested in books. I loved reading and from as young as eleven years old, I used to love visiting the library in our house to read. It was a form of escapism for me. I would get so engrossed in one book or the other till quite late in the evening, sometimes even forgetting to eat and this got me in trouble a few times.
My passion for writing began when I joined the Press club in secondary school. I was responsible for putting together interesting news articles and this further enhanced my interest in reading. This was when I secretly longed to become an author. I told my father about my desire to be an author and even though he didn’t discourage me, he did not encourage me to pursue it. Back then, I was very good in the sciences as well as literature and my father advised me I would be better off going into medicine; he would end by telling me how there was more job security as a medical doctor than as an author. My older sister who I looked up to was going into the medical field and I noticed how proud my father was of her so I decided to follow suit.
My opinion about career choices in Nigeria back then was that most people wanted to go into professional courses like Law, Medicine, Engineering or Accounting, because of job security and few people willingly went into Arts and Literature. I think that is all changing now because more and more people are finding that success comes with strategic hard work irrespective of what you study in university. Furthermore, many a worthy role models abound in the field of Arts, Literature and Drama.
Although I still nursed that longing to be an author, I found myself immersed in the rigours of medical school and that desire was slowly drowned in my subconscious. I sometimes wonder, what my life would have been like if I had rebelled and gone after my dreams earlier. Would I have more books out? I don’t know. I don’t regret anything. I’m only glad that I have finally gone after my dreams.
Many years passed without me putting any of my ideas on paper even though stories floated in my head. This changed early this year when I met Tolulope Popoola a known Nigerian author who runs an author-coaching programme and is a publisher at Accomplish Press. I met her on Facebook through my sister. We chatted back and forth and that was when I revealed my longing to be an author. Through her encouragement, I decided to put my ideas on paper and voila—My first book is born.
Also available on iBook (Apple book store) and Smashwords
I was inspired to write this book because I love reading African stories told by Africans. Many fiction and media coverage about Nigeria or Africa is shadowed by negativity. It is either about corruption, poverty, war, rape, starvation and illiteracy. I have always abhorred that. The Nigeria I grew up in and what most Nigerians have experienced is totally different from what majority of the press would like people to believe. I wanted to share a vibrant and pleasurable African story. A story about how a beautiful, classy, educated girl finds love with a Musician. Yes, I know there are issues still to be addressed in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, but there are issues in every country and the truth is that we don’t hear or read about only the negative sides of these countries. So, I wanted to share the lovely side of Nigeria where love, education, wealth, family life and music exist.
I have learnt a few things from this journey of writing my first book. One of which is to go for your dreams. It is never too late. I am in my thirties. I always wanted to be an author since I was a teenager. I didn’t follow my dreams because I was more interested in fulfilling the dreams of others. However, when I found the opportunity, I decided to jump in with both feet. I had some discouragement along the way but I did not let it deter me. The most important thing to me was sharing my story and I’m glad I have.
Another thing I have learnt is that networking is very important. I was nervous to introduce myself to Tolulope Popoola, because I felt insecure. Here I was drafting an email to a well-known author, telling her about my dreams of becoming one. I was worried she would laugh at my face or reject me. Basically, I had this deep-seated fear of rejection. But I took a chance and it panned out just fine. I think sometimes we should trust in humanity and just go for it. The worst thing that could have happened was that she turned me down. Even if she had (I’m glad she didn’t), it would not be the end of my dreams. What I’m emphasising, is that networking with people who share your dreams might just give you the breakthrough you need. Therefore, actively seek out those who have a similar mind-set as you do, and roll with them.
It has not been an easy road. I have to juggle Motherhood, being a wife and also a Medical Doctor. I sometimes wondered while I sat in front of my laptop writing, if I had taken too much on myself, but each time I finished a chapter, I felt a genuine thrill rush through me. I could not explain it. This always reassured me that I had made the right decision pursuing my dreams.
This is a first of many to come I hope. I am currently working on another book, which should be out soon. It is a story of escape from domestic abuse and finding love. It is also set in Lagos Nigeria. It has many twists and turns and I can’t wait to share the story with everyone.
Some of my favourite African authors include Helen Ovbiagele, Elechi Amadi, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Lara Daniels and Kiru Taye. My favourite novel written by an African author would be The Concubine by Elechi Amadi. I believe that was the first book I read that made me want to be an author. The story was so endearing to me that I read it more than five times. I still have a dusty copy of that book in my study.
I love watching crime television shows in my spare time. I also like to travel with my family. I love the excitement my children show every time we travel to a new place. One thing I love doing that I do not get to do enough of, is painting. I am a mediocre artist. But I find that painting relaxes me as much as reading does. Most of my interests are quite ‘arty’ and I sometimes wonder how I ended up in medicine. Somehow, it is no surprise that I am a family doctor because there is an ‘art’ to family medicine. It is not always pure science. Sometimes there is an art in the placebo effect or trying to convince someone his or her cough and cold is not cancer.
It is clear now to you all our dear readers, that Dr. Amaka Azie is “a case of multiple talents rolled into one”. One of the unique features of her story is the way she has systematically continued to express all her talents and skills over time, expressing previously repressed ones and wasting none. Not many of us in our lifetime find the courage to do what this lady is doing – finding and expressing our selves, despite all the prevailing challenges.
We at Team LR are thrilled to have had the opportunity to read Melodies of Love before its formal release in the next few hours and we can tell you, “it is a refreshing tale of romance, that paints a beautiful picture of life and a hopeful portrait of love in an environment many persons across the world, erroneously assume such recipes and spices of life to be deficient – the Melodies of love filters through from Nigeria in particular and Africa in general in this unique book”.
It is on this note we end by encouraging us all, to quit fulfilling the dreams of others and explore some of the multiple talents that may be subdued, over the years, deep within us. Until we do this, we never know, what positivity, we are capable of expressing. There is no harm in beginning the expression from LR comments section this week – go on, just do it!