Amara Nicole Okolo is a Nigerian based lawyer and writer.She is the author of Black Sparkle Romance ,a novel published by Ankara Press in 2016, UK/Europe) and of Son of Man,a collection of short stories published by Parresia Publishers (2016).References to her work have appeared on The Guardian, Brittle Paper, Chimurenga the Chronic and Aljazeera. She was amongst the participants of the 2015 Farafina Workshop by Chimamanda Adichie.In 2017 her essay, “The Things We Never Say” was published by Catapult. She is today one of the top 10 Positive African Women(#10PAW) we celebrate on women’s day.
Let’s meet her.
1) Tell us more about you.
My name is Amara Nicole Okolo and I am a lawyer, artist and writer.
2) When did you decide to delve into creative writing?
When I was eight years old. I really did not think I was delving…it was more of a spontaneous act that happened. I draw and paint, and one day, I decided that my drawings were actually stories in their own way and I could write about them. So I wrote my first book at this age, it was an illustrated children’s book. But professionally, I became an author when I was twenty-one, after writing my first novella, Black Sparkle Romance.
3) What inspires you most, as a writer?
People and their experiences. The lives they live and have lived. I am fascinated that each generation has a story to tell, separate in time and age, but uniting in emotions and sentiments. It’s a beautiful thing to see, and write about.
4) Which of your works are you most proud of?
For now, I am mostly proud of the book I am currently writing. It took a lot of time, effort and emotional detoxification to begin the book, and each time I write it I feel a release of myself and those emotions. It’ll take a long time to finish, I know, but I am already very proud of it.
5) How do you overcome the challenges you face as a writer?
I don’t think I have overcome the challenges of being a writer. I still do not write as frequently and consistently as I want to, I have a separate 9-5 to take care of my bills, and life happens and keeps me busy. I think these challenges sort of buoy me in a way, and make me cherish those little moments I get to sit on my desk and write. So now, I do not take those moments for granted…I write as much as I can when I have them.
6) What are you currently working on?
I’m working on two novels, one a literary fiction and the other a romance. It’s tasking, of course, but I’m trying to meet my deadlines for them. I hope I do.
7) Any future plans.
None specific at the moment. Just to be diligent in my writing.
8)Your advice to writers
Write even when you do not feel like it. Inspiration comes at the oddest of moments. There is no perfect time to write.
9) Your African dream.
An Africa where everyone, from a child to an adult, can really be proud of. Not just one that we claim to be proud of, but one we are proud to associate with wherever we go.by