The author of Men don’t die Ever Obi is a risk management expert and prolific writer whose enthusiasm for art and culture through writing has enabled him to share thought-provoking stories about Africa and the struggles of man against it. injustice of life. Beyond his working life as Managing Director of one of Nigeria’s leading consumer finance companies, Zedvance Finance Limited, he uses writing to speak out on societal concerns. Obi, in this interview talked about his journey in writing and his latest book, Some angels do not see God.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
Probably at the age of ten. Growing up, I started reading some of my mom’s old books: The Mayor of Casterbridge, The jero rooms, Things are falling apart; books by Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, this generation of writers. But I never wanted to be a writer, I never thought I could be, until my sister introduced me to the works of Adaeze Atuegwu (The Adventures of Nanna, Tears, Destiny, Chalet 9 and La Bina series). As Atuegwu was quite young at the time, his works made me understand that young people could also write. I started to write in my imagination.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It’s hard to say, there is nothing hard and fast. Now, because I’ve always had a day job, as a financial risk manager and then as a business executive at a large financial institution – extremely demanding day jobs – I’m just learning to be patient. I write at my own pace, whenever I can find the time. It took me four years to write Men don’t die and my new book took six years of my natural life. Writing teaches patience.
What is your work schedule when you write?
The work schedule will always be the work schedule. Here you have two things arguing for you. First, it’s your daily job that pays the bills. Because you get paid for it, you have to be good at it, be a good professional. On the other hand, it is writing and literature, where your heart is; something you know you can’t go through without doing it. If something has this kind of importance in your life, you need to find time for it, even if it does not contain any solid promise of financial stability. You just need to always find that balance.
Every writer is different, and sometimes we have certain rituals or whims that help us write. Where do you find your information or ideas for your books?
I write literary fiction, which means that I write primarily about life. I draw my ideas from my experiences and the experiences of others, and sometimes stories just come to you, totally from the infinity of your imagination. I write about life and because we are all students of life it’s easy to get these ideas. Turning them into a book is what makes you an artist, trying to color life experiences with beautiful words and metaphors.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
My first published work was Men don’t die; I wrote it between 2010 and 2014. It was finally published in 2019. But when I was a boy, discovering myself and discovering literature, I wrote a lot, some of them were ridiculous doodles. I still remember all the titles I gave them, plays and novels. The first complete novel manuscript I ever wrote was the one I titled Touching the leopard’s tail. I ended up losing it, like everything I wrote at the time.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing or overwhelmed with life, I read a book or watch mixed martial arts. It’s surprising that watching boxers hit each other helps me relax.
What does your family think of your writing?
My family has always known me like this, ever since I turned my mother into a human dictionary; I paid too much attention to the words, as soon as I started to scribble stories. They have always supported me and always asked me about the next project I am working on. I am lucky to have them in my corner, to have people who have, during all these years, tolerated all my peculiarities.
What has been one of the most surprising things you have learned while creating your books?
Writing is not a hobby. It’s intense and it’s a huge job in itself. It’s not like playing soccer or watching TV, it’s not one of those things you spend your free time with because you want to have fun. Writing takes dedication and patience. People misunderstand this; they think you are having fun when you write. You are actually working. The physical and mental efforts that go into writing are an investment that must be respected. I think because a lot of people don’t understand this, they don’t respect these efforts; that’s why they don’t expect writers to make money with their art.
Your first novel “Men Don’t Die” is a melancholy story about death and spiritualism; money and love. What inspired the story?
Life. My life and the lives of others. It is a story born out of the need to reiterate that life really owes us nothing. It doesn’t matter what you think you deserve. Life gives us the card it wants; we just have to keep going and keep doing our best. And it was also a way for me to raise more questions about spiritualism and our notions of the afterlife.
Can you tell us about your new book “Some Angels Do Not See God”? What is the story?
The book is about so many things. But in its most basic form I’d say it’s about incest and its ramifications in the lives of some of the main characters. I will stop there, allow people to buy their copies.
Where can we find your books?
My books can be found in major bookstores across the country. You can also get them online or on Amazon. Google does the magic. Just go to Google and get all the options available.
Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers? If so, what are they?
Read, read to learn. It’s easier when you know what kind of writer you want to be; it means you know the kind of books you should read. Then write. You cannot be a writer without writing. Write and be patient. It is patience that keeps you going when it doesn’t make sense to continue.
Do you hear a lot from your readers? What kind of things are they saying?
Yes, yes, I have news from my readers. The world is getting smaller and smaller; anyone can connect with you on social media, with questions or reviews about your work. When you write fiction, you create your own world. And when you post, you invite people into this world. This means that you should expect everything, praise and criticism; some of them constructive, others shockingly ridiculous. But that’s part of the process of becoming an artist, accepting that your work is received by different people in different ways.
As a child, what did you want to do when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a lot of things. There was a time when I wanted to be an engineer and a time when I wanted to be a doctor. Despite the fact that I started writing at a young age, I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but I was a science student. You know back in the days when those lazy guidance counselors see you’re a little bit bright, they just tag you for science. I wanted to be so many things, but most of all, in the midst of all this confusion, one thing never changed. I always knew I wanted to be a writer too.
Do you want each book to be independent or are you trying to build a body of work with links between each book?
It doesn’t really matter to me. If your story leads you down this path where you have to write multiple books to do justice to the demands on your heart, why not? It depends on how the story came about, what you’re trying to say. Whether you say it in one book or in three books, it doesn’t matter.
If you could say something to your young writer, what would it be?
Write more. Be more selfish in the pursuit of your goals. Immerse yourself in literature and maximize all the fulfillment it holds.
What does literary success look like to you?
The undeniable truth is that creatives like to get paid for their work. There is this financial angle, selling enough books, your works opening other doors and creating a solid economic place for you. But more importantly, having copies of your book in the hands of people who do literature justice by reading the books well, understanding the story, and connecting with you to discuss how the book speaks to them, brings an indescribable feeling. It’s just amazing. It is the feeling of achievement.