A beautiful Monday it is…and we are glad to finally have Chinedu Achebe here on African Stories. Author of Blunted on Reality now available for Free, He talks about the difference between true love and real love, what being black is all about and his love for writing in his interview with African Stories. In his book, Blunted on Reality, Chinedu uses a style of writing that ‘engages’ his audience and gives insightful political positions surrounding the 2009 Obama’s election. Never one to ignore ‘the love ingredient’ in his book, Chinedu spices up his book with a little love triangle… Get a free copy. Read his interview.
Q. Who is Chinedu Achebe really?
A. Lol. That is a very good question. I am just a very chill, laid back guy that is trying to just enjoy my life.
Q. At what point did you pick up your pen? A clear call or a hobby?
A. I started writing seriously about 5 years ago. I tried to start a blog, but after writing a couple of posts I decided to go in another direction. It wasn’t until after the 2008 presidential election victory of Barack Obama that I decided to write a book.
Q. What is your writing formula? A freestyler or traditionalist?
A. My writing formula consists of a little bit of both. I usually have the main ideas that I want to discuss in the book. But after that I do a lot of free styling from chapter to chapter.
Q. Would you say writing is 98% perspiration and 2% inspiration? What really should be an African writer’s ideal writing mix?
A. I would disagree with that notion. In my case the inspiration is about 40% and perspiration is 60%. In my opinion, you have to have a reason to want to write a book.
Q. In your book “Blunted on Reality”, you made mention of the difference between being an African and a black American, is there really a difference? An ideology perhaps?
A. I feel there is a difference but you have to throw in a person like myself who was born by two Nigerian parents, but was born and raised in the United States into the mix as well. People like myself are in the middle because we can relate to Africans along with black Americans. The differences are usually just cultural, but it is funny that both African and black Americans share some traits as well.
Q. Obama at the time of writing “Blunted on Reality” was a common denominator; do you think that is still the case?
A. I don’t think he would be the common denominator as was the case in 2008 and 2009. But Obama would still help shape my story.
Q. If you were to write “Blunted on Reality” today, what will change?
A. That is a hard question to answer because timing is everything. When I started writing Blunted on Reality in 2011, I was 29 years old. Now I am 32 years old. In those three years I have experienced different things in my personal, family, and professional life that have shaped me.
Q. Your style of writing exudes a distinct trait stemming from black Americananism – “meaning to write as if one were living in the hood”. To what extent do you think environment affects a writer’s style of writing?
A. I feel that environment plays a huge role on your perspective of things. It helps shape are thoughts and views.
Q. Nigeria’s Nollywood singlehandedly redefined movie making and marketing in the region, making it one of the biggest movie industries. What in your opinion should be done about publishing in African countries to attain same success story?
A. Younger African authors need to find their voice and tell the story of their generation. Nollywood does a great job of making movies that appeal to various ages. The movies that I watch aren’t the same as the ones my parents would watch. But we also have to be aware to not confine African authors just to the continent. There are Africans in Europe, Canada, and the United States telling their stories as well.
Q. If there was any reason to reshuffle roots, where would you rather have yours? Any particular reason?
A. I wouldn’t change anything. I have a lot of pride in being a Nigerian of Igbo descent. But I can’t dismiss the influence that being born in the U.S. exposed me to black culture beyond the music and tv, which people outside of this country associate it to. I have been able to learn and understand the history of black people in this country and also see their struggles as my struggles.
Q. Your first read was? Your favorite authors are?
A. I don’t remember the first book that I read. But the book that influenced me was Chinua Achebe’s No Longer At Ease. My favorite authors are Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Adichie, and Michael Eric Dyson.
Q. What are you working on now? Tell us all about it.
A. I am currently working on the sequel to my first book, Blunted on Reality. I hope to have it finished by the end of this year or early 2015. I am really excited about it.
Q. Upcoming African authors you are aware of are?
A. Tope Folarin
Q. Social media and self-publishing – ebooks, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon….the works – has played a great role in the rise of number of writers on the continent; almost as if having a writer’s bio validates existence. Is this a good trend? A ‘dawn-phase’ before publishing in Africa witnesses a rebirth or the classic case of the good old bandwagon ride?
A. I feel that social media plays a huge role in writing now. You have to be on Twitter and Facebook at the minimum. Self-publishing is great because it allows people to write their own stories without waiting for the traditional publishers to anoint your book with their “holy water”. I have met so many authors who are writing amazing stories. It is a great thing for the continent, because Africans can now reach other all of the globe.
Q. Love, Responsibility and Purpose feature in your book. What is your personal take on these? A believer in true love?
A. I think those are three things that most of are searching for in our lives. The hard part is that they all come to us at different phases of our lives. I don’t believe in true love, I do believe in real love. I feel that loving someone is very hard and is something that you have to really work on.
Q. Hobbies, Awards, Humanitarian works?
A. I love watching basketball and American football. I enjoy hanging out with friends and just discussing all types of topics from politics to tv shows.
About Chinedu Achebe.
Chinedu Achebe was born in Richmond VA and currently lives in Houston, Texas. He works as an accountant in the oil and gas industry. He is the oldest of three siblings and graduated from the University of Houston with his bachelor’s in Economics. Blunted on Reality is his first book which was published in 2012. He is @ChineduAchebe on twitter and his book is also available on Amazon
And that wraps it up guys! Hope you had an exciting read.
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