Sunday, 12 February 2012

African Romance Author: Kiru Taye

Please tell readers about yourself
Hello everyone. I’m romance author Kiru Taye. I was born in Enugu, Nigeria but now live in London, UK. I’m the first of 5 siblings. My parents are both retired but my father was a Mechanical Engineer and my mother a Nurse.  I lived most of my childhood life in Enugu although I attended FGGC Owerri for secondary school. My first degree was in Electronic Engineering but I also studied Business Management in post-grad school.

I have 3 books published to-date:
His Treasure (Men of Valor, #1), a historical romance novella published 2 Dec 2011, is an award-winner and best-seller.
A Valentine Challenge (Challenge series, #1), a contemporary romance novella published 30 January 2012
His Strength (Men of Valor, #2), a historical romance novella published 10 February 2012

2When did you start to write?
Truthfully, I can’t claim to have been writing forever, because I haven’t. I’m new to writing   and learning every day. I started writing seriously in January 2010. Before that, I had written stories in secondary school.

3Which writer(s) do you admire or have had the greatest influence on you?
The one single book that had the greatest influence on me was Shogun by James Clavell. I read it as a teenager and I’m still in awe of the author for being able to transport me to another time and location. But most of all for making me respect Japanese culture and heritage. From that moment, I wished that I could read books about African culture that didn’t focus on Africans just being victims of violence, war and poverty, because Africans are much more than that. I wanted to read books that showcased African heritage and culture in a positive light, not as something to be ashamed of. It is part of the reason I write. I want to showcase the Africa that I know – rich in heritage, savvy, robust, cosmopolitan and technologically-aware Africans.  
  Your first novella - His Treasure – had some sexual content.  What feedback have you had from readers about this?
The feedback I’ve received on His Treasure has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve had someone question whether the sex scenes are realistic especially the oral sex scene. My comeback is that oral sex is not a ‘modern’ or ‘western’ invention. Parts of some African cultural women’s rites of passage included being taught different sexual acts by older women in the community so they could please their husbands. Most of these cultural rites of passage were abolished with the introduction of ‘Christianity’ that classified anything outside ‘missionary position’ as immoral.
Anyway, the book has won an award already – LR Cafe Best Book of 2011 and it’s currently an All Romance eBooks Best-seller. So I’m very grateful to all my readers because they are still buying it.
  You guest posted on the issue of sex and African fiction previously on this blog, is this something you would continue to explore in your books?
Absolutely. As I pointed out in my previous post on AOP, Africans have sex—a lot—so there’s no reason why African fiction shouldn’t reflect it. My books will always contain varying degrees of sexual content. I write books for adults and I make no apologies for it. J
   African historical romance was previously not out there. Why did you choose this path for your first book?
As I mentioned in my answer to question 3 above, I want to write stories that showcase African heritage and culture positively. There’s this misconception among people that love and romance is a modern thing in Africa. That is totally wrong. Love and romance has always existed in Africa, although expressed in different ways. I wanted to write stories that showed Africans falling in love while still dealing with other cultural issues that might impact relationships.
In His Treasure (Men of Valor, #1), I touch on how polygamy and arranged marriages affects relationships and families.
In His Strength (Men of Valor, #2), I touch on how widows and non-indigenes (non nwaala) are treated.
In His Princess (Men of Valor, #3), I touch on the impact of slavery and rape.
But the single thread running across all these stories despite the issues is the love and romance. All my lead characters have happy-ever-afters in store for them. J

7There are no proper pictures of you anywhere online. Is this deliberate or do you intend to engage in public functions/signings like some other writers do?
It’s wrong to say there are no pictures of me online, because there are. But I have deliberately chosen not to upload pictures of me onto my online profiles mainly because I want to keep the focus more on my writing / books and less on me as a private person. Readers will get the opportunity to meet me in person when they attend book events. J
   Tell us about your current book(s)
I have 2 new books out.

A Valentine Challenge

Book 1 of the contemporary romance Challenge series set in Enugu, Nigeria. Three friends. Three challenges. Are they willing to risk everything for love? 

Ex-soldier Michael Ede’s spent his time building his life exactly the way he wants it. Life is good. Or so he thinks. So when his friends set him a challenge to exorcise the memory of a woman from his past, he expects it to be a walk in the park. 

Socialite Kasie Bosa is spitting fire at men. Her long-term boyfriend has asked for a break via text message of all things. How dare he? She’s told him to go take a dive into the River Niger. And not so politely too. So the next man who dares to cross her path is at risk of getting shredded with her spa manicured nails. 

Bad news for Michael who has chosen her as the object of his challenge. But neither of them can deny the sizzling chemistry between them nor control their responses, it seems. It’s the season of love. Can either of them escape unscathed?
His Strength (Men of Valor)

 Book 2 of Men of Valor historical romance series set in pre-colonial Iboland.

When a warrior seeks to claim a free-spirited woman, he soon discovers a tigress unwilling to be caged.

As a young widow, Nneka yearns to be released from the obligations to her late husband’s family, and live as an independent woman. With a past colored by a brutal father, she’ll never yield to another man willingly, and will do just about anything to attain that freedom, including flouting the laws of the land.

Ikem was unable to claim Nneka once because his lineage meant he wasn’t good enough. Now fate has given him another chance, but he quickly discovers that claiming this unpredictable wildcat is easier said than done. Will he be able to convince her that succumbing to their passion is the key to her freedom?

9When is the book available and where can we get it/in what formats?
A Valentine Challenge is now available on eBook formats for $1.99 via Amazon US, Amazon UK and All Romance eBooks.
His Strength is now available on eBook formats for $1.99 via Amazon, Breathless Press and All Romance eBooks
SShare one philosophy of life or mantra that you hold to be true?
“Do what you love. Love what you do.”
This is a mantra that defines how I do things. I’m either into it or not. There are no half-measures for me.
“Live and let live.”
This is a mantra that defines how I interact with people. We may not always agree but we all have a right to live peacefully with each other without fear.
  Do you have some advice for aspiring writers?
Learn – Read as many books as possible. Find out what you love about your favourite books and apply it to your writing.
Refine, Refine, Refine – a draft manuscript is just that. A draft. It takes several revisions before it reaches a state it can be turned out to the reading audience. You have to learn the patience and skill of revision.
Get yourself a good critique partner or group – make sure it’s not a member of your family unless the person is in the literary/writing community. It needs to be someone or people whose literary/writing opinion you value otherwise you’re on a slippery road to quarrels. J

1Any works in progress?
Eh, yeah! I always have a work in progress. There are always stories rattling around in my head. I just need to find the time to write them all. Lol
The Warrior’s Healer – a paranormal historical romance. I started writing it even before I wrote His Treasure but it’s such an epic that it’s taking a long time to finalise.
Her Weekend Bodyguard – an erotic romantic suspense. Here’s another epic one I started writing before His Treasure too. But there’s so much going on with the story that I need to get it all right before publication.

It’s been a pleasure interviewing you, Kiru.

T              Thank you, Adura. I totally enjoyed answering your questions. 

  There are some errors I can't seem to get rid of in the format of this interview. Tried my best to get rid of  the weird 
   characters but it appears to be restricted and won't budge! I do apologise. Hope you all enjoyed reading my chat with
   author Kiru Taye.