A Fly Girl is available on Amazon and other online retailers for a limited time only for 99p.
Tundun Adeyemo is a writer and blogger hailing from Nigeria, who recently debut her first book of poems chronicling her life from Nigeria to Britain. A beautiful book about the experiences of a young girl becoming a woman far away from the comforts of home. I caught up with the writer to discuss her work, her take on British culture and what she has learnt from living in England.
Can you tell us a little about your life? Where you are from? Where you grew up etc…
I was born in Lagos with the rest of my siblings, but I grew up in Ibadan where I have very happy memories of a childhood with my family and friends. I remember different parts of the city with affection and some concern. Affection in the sense that I remember buying Booli and Groundnuts in Bodija and also frequenting the Mr Biggs in the same area. I went to Ibadan a couple of years ago and whilst driving during the school day, I saw some kids washing in a stream, yards from Premier Hotel. They should have been in school. I also noticed a lot of kids when we went shopping in Oja –Oba without shoes too. My mother’s family has lived in the Oke-Aremo district of Ibadan since the 1940s. Her father had fought in the Great War. My father was from Okuku in Osun State.
What made you emigrate to England?
I wanted to achieve a Master’s Degree in Law. I completed this in 2003.
Was England all you expected?
It was my first experience away from home. I am not sure that I had expectations as such. England is not heaven. Like any place, it has its good, bad and ugly sides.
How do you think your poems can help other immigrants who may have gone through the same experiences as you?
I do not think that my poems can specifically help anybody in that sense to be honest. My poems can offer respite and confirm to others that what they are feeling is loneliness. Recently, a friend spent some of her university break with me. When I dropped her off, she started to cry. I knew those tears you see, I had been there before. I have written about loneliness in England. It is what a lot of people experience, but they find it hard to talk about or deal with. It is what makes a girl live in her boyfriend’s house regardless of how bad he treats her; it causes unsupported students to get depressed and develop unsocial habits. Loneliness for immigrants is an issue we need to tackle. I feel for students who don’t have family in this country; students stuck in a room the size of an average kitchen store. Back home, you never feel this lonely or alone, as we have our communities of families, and friends and so on. Having said that, there is support here through church/mosque networks, but I hear it is not quite the same like home.
Do you have another book in the pipelines?
I write a weekly column for TELL Magazine. There is a collection of my articles in the pipeline nearly ready for publication.
What inspired you to become a writer?
I don’t know that I got my inspiration from one source in particular. I have always loved reading and writing. In an ideal world, that’s what I will do full time. Read and write. I started to keep a journal of my thoughts when I was eight years old I think. I love writing. I started blogging years ago. If you enjoy writing in any format, you are a writer, or are you not?
Which of your poems is your favourite?
The poems dedicated to my little girl mean a lot to me. They remind me of my mother’s dedication to me. I hope I am what my mum was to me to my little girl and more.
Was it hard for you to integrate into British culture upon your arrival?
The British culture when I arrived was unclear. I lived with Nigerians at different times and when you remain within your Nigerian circles, you really are not integrating. Integration outside your circle is another ball game. Most Nigerians will tell you that there is so much you can reveal to those who are not Nigerians as they may not understand you. Having said that, I have friends from other cultures and countries who have become family to me. The British culture is the sub total of the diversity of cultures present in our country today. It could be Nigerian, Zimbabwean, Kenyan and so on. What I have learned are our shared culture of tolerance and respect.
Apart from writing what are your interests?
I like to think that I love reading as well and these days, I have taken a like to travelling around Europe and the United Kingdom.
Where can we find out more about you?
My blog is the best place online: www.blackandoutspoken.com
Who is your favourite author?
I have so many favourite authors, when I was growing up though I loved John Grisham, Jeffery Archer and Sidney Sheldon.
What does poetry mean to you?
Poetry means different things to different people. A poem could be written about a smile, the reasons behind a tear, the early sunrise or a de ja vu moment. I use a lot of poetic license to express my feelings and my thoughts. I find poetry a way to release emotions. There are times when your partner does not understand you and you feel misunderstoood or unable to express what is going through your mind. Poetry helps me walk through some of my most difficult emotions and experiences. Sometimes, it is easier to write poem than to talk to someone.
Where can we find your book?
My book is on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Smash words and on most major online retailers.
A link to the book can be found here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tundun-Adeyemo/e/B00JLPNQ9W
Published in the British Blacklist. Link here: http://www.thebritishblacklist.com/tbbsundayread-tammy-speaks-tundun-adeyemo-author-the-immigrant/. Interview by@Tammyvm
A Fly Girl gives insight to the highs and lows in the world of a former BA cabin crew, in an intriguing travel writing memoir. In the global landscape the memoirist meticulously documents personal adventures, social structures and political history throughout her daring and exciting expeditions. Conveying tales from the America’s, Arabia, Asia to Africa the narrative is fuelled with race, gender and sexuality as the author walks through hip hop history and experiences terrain vibrations and eruptions. The author exposes her relation to addictions, alcohol, air rage and the life of the jet set, highlighting history of British Airways at forty.
Amanda tells poignant stories that portray the complications of humanity; others are alarming, amusing and vivid and manifest the nature of humankind, the kith and kin of a global family. In addition to powerful story telling infused with lyrical prose the book is also spiritual and reveals a healing mindset as the autobiographer deals with the battle of self esteem, national identity, and aesthetics for women in an image conscious world. Is Amanda transformed by travel?
This book provides a rich insight into the author’s adventures across the globe as cabin crew for British Airways. Navigating her way across the world, the author exposes the difficulties in connecting with citizens from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds, many of who held patriarchal norms that challenged the author’s normative assumptions about gender equality. It’s an interesting and enjoyable read.
Charlotte Proudman, Barrister QC
This book is a woman’s journey to find her true identity, going through the journeys of being a black woman in non-ethnic dominated role. It’s an awakening story of learning about loving and owning one’s true identity beyond the expectation of what it means to be a woman and yes women do fart lol.
Lillian Ogbogoh, International Best Selling Author and Sensuality Discovery Specialist
Intimate and frank stories give rise to funny and touching moments in this memoir of an air hostess. We’ve all wanted to be a fly on the wall at times but Amanda is a fly on the world observing complex and evolving social realities through each stop on her travels. Although her focus is those she meets, when her often rose-tinted expectations are dismantled we catch a glimpse of Amanda that is at once unexpected – perhaps unintended and very compelling in its sincerity. A fresh and original voice.
Vanessa Walters, Author and Journalist Guardian & BBC
Travel Writing from an African Perspective.
Amanda Epe is the first seminal story teller on the narrative of being black cabin crew with British Airways. Amanda Epe writes articles, essays, poetry, fiction and self- help.
Her work has been featured in publications and anthologies in the U.K, U.S and in Saraba Literary Magazine Nigeria. A Fly Girl is her debut book, an inspirational memoir of her days working with BA; travel tales through the lens of a black African perspective.
She has a Master’s in Education, Health Promotion and International Development and her blog focuses on promoting health and literary art for women. She spoke to Tundun Adeyemo from www.blackandoutspoken.com recently.
What books are on your Kindle now?
I am reading a new book Bamboo and Fern by Ava Brown. I love memoirs and in this one we are in sunny Jamaica, it is really inspirational. Taken of the bookshelf once again, I am reading Adichie’s Americanah, Chimamanda is so powerful, I love her works. I am also re-reading The Alchemist by my favourite author Paulo Coelho
What book will you be giving away for Christmas? Mama Christmas is doing generous this year, look out for A Fly Girl at a price next to nothing.
What inspires you to write? Are you going to keep writing? Life and experiences mostly, but other writers play a part in my writing. I ought to continue as I know what is good for me.
A Fly Girl, oh yes I’d do that again but this time with larger wings.
Talk us through the characters in your book? We have an activist, a caricature, an entrepreneur, some shopaholics, alcoholics and other addictive personalities like flirts, and of course the protagonist heroine. Also tourists, many ists, including a chauvinist!
Must we always look through the lense of feminism and race? In the next plane, when taken to another planet when we elevate there, these words will be archaic. lol!
Why is your book different? It is an opportunity to read real life writing whilst going on a world tour of entertainment, adventure and history.
What two things would you like to be remembered by? Black and outspoken Tundun, but that is plagiarism so I say a seeker of truth and transformation
Would BA cringe to read what you have to say? BA have a history of offences with Nigerian passengers, they would hardly be embarrassed by my words, but they would fear to loose bookings and business if like many passengers I have spoken to say they prefer Virgin.
Where can we find more about your book?
A Fly Girl, the kindle version is now available on Amazon. A Fly Girl will be available in print from Amazon, Waterstones and all good retailers by January 2015. For deluxe and author signed copies for people in the UK, you may order from Blossom Books at email@example.com
Connect with her on social media facebook.com/msroseblossom and twitter@msroseblossom
‘Emma Blooms at Last’.
Romance is in the air during the fall wedding season in the Amish community of Cedar Creek. But while one loving couple prepares to tie the knot, Amanda and Wyman Brubaker’s large family faces a threat from outside their happy circle…and must learn to pull together.
Recently wed Amanda and Wyman Brubaker are thrilled that their children from previous marriages have blended together to form a strong family. But when the construction of Wyman’s new grain elevator is delayed, making the project more expensive than anticipated, Amanda’s determination to rally the kids into taking on work to improve the family’s finances comes into conflict with Wyman’s sense of responsibility as head of the household….
Meanwhile, as James Graber and Abby Lambright prepare for their long-awaited nuptials, folks gather from far and wide. Amanda’s nephew Jerome has long been smitten with James’s sister Emma and wants to seize this chance to woo her. But Emma’s been burned once and is twice shy of trusting the fun-loving, never-serious Jerome. As Emma and Jerome struggle to understand each other, and find the courage to make a leap of faith, the Brubakers face a bigger challenge than they first anticipated and begin to discover just what it means to fight…the Amish way.
“It’s been way too long since I hitched up a sleigh,” Jerome said as he lightly clapped the reins on Sparky’s back. “I don’t think this one’s seen the snow since Uncle Atlee passed, and that’s a shame. Are you warm enough?”
Emma burrowed deeper beneath the quilts Jerome had draped over them. Now that she was settled on the plush old seat, leaning into Jerome as the sleigh tilted slightly on the downhill lane, she felt happier than she had in a long time. The full moon was beaming down from a blue velvet sky dotted with diamond stars, making the snow-blanketed pastures glimmer all around them.
“I’m cozy. And I’m having a really gut time,” Emma replied with a contented sigh. “Night rides are the prettiest, especially now that the wind has died down.”
“Jah, it’s a perfect evening,” Jerome replied softly. “I’ve been hoping for more time alone with you, well—since the day we went shopping, Emma.”
As she thought back to that day she’d spent trying to escape Jerome’s attentions, Emma let herself relax . . . allowed the breeze from the accelerating sleigh blow away her former objections to the handsome man who was driving it. The clip-clop of Sparky’s hooves on the snow-packed road settled her heartbeat into its rhythm while the warmth they shared beneath the quilts soothed her after a day of surprising guests and revelations. “Denki for giving me another chance, Jerome,” she murmured. “You were right at the wedding. I’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities to go out and have fun.”
Interview with Naomi King
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
Criticism meets you at every turn when you’re a writer, even after you’re multi-published for years. For this interview, I’m going to discount the type of negative, irrelevant “reviews” you get on Amazon and other sales sites online. It’s been a whole new education, learning that there are people out there with nothing better to do than trash your books in public, most likely without reading them.
As far as legitimate criticism goes, my agent and editors have most often told me that my stories don’t deal with enough conflict. While I understand, mentally, that you don’t have much of a story without conflict, emotionally I really abhor conflict and confrontation. Like Abby Lambright in my Home at Cedar Creek series, I’m a peacemaker. So I have to make a real effort to build in enough conflict, especially between the hero and heroine, to keep my work salable.
I’ve also been told that I don’t follow the “rules” of the romance genre—and frankly, I don’t always consider that a bad thing! I’m not sure those same genre expectations are as strong for these Amish stories, where readers want so much more about the culture and characters’ day-to-day activities, but it’s still important to develop a mature, loving relationship between my heroes and heroines. Love is the greatest power in the world, and whether it’s God’s love or a couple’s love, I strive to create scenes and situations that show love overcoming difficulties in believable, uplifting ways. That sort of love transcends any “rules” the publishing industry can tell you to follow!
What is your favorite kind of food? Favorite thing to cook/bake?
Oh my, what’s not my favorite food?! About the only things I refuse to eat are sushi, okra, and Brussels sprouts. If we’re out for breakfast I like pancakes, because they’re always better than I make at home. In recent years
I’ve taken to ordering more broiled fish and snazzy salads because the bread and pasta just aren’t doing me any favors. I’m short and I sit all day, and when the metabolism went south with the hormones several years ago, it got a lot harder to keep the weight off.
I also bake nearly 100 dozen Christmas cookies each fall/winter to share with family and friends. When we lived in Jefferson City, I donated more than 25 dozen of those cookies for the Christmas Eve services, but now that we’ve moved, I’ve cut back on how many I bake. I’m big on making muffins and homemade soups, too.
A couple of years ago when the doc got concerned about my blood pressure, though, I went on the EAT TO LIVE diet at her recommendation. Yup, I went vegan for about eight weeks. Dropped about 20 pounds, but the biggest thing I did for myself was get off the sugar, the Sweet-N-Low, and most processed foods.
Once I got out of that “sweetness” habit, I found it much easier to stay away from those cookies I love to bake (my husband, bless him, is not into bean cuisine or platefuls of salad and veggies) and to forego the bread. My cholesterol went down a lot, my blood pressure improved, and my doctor was ecstatic. I’ve added back things like yogurt and some fish and poultry, but I still eat a lot of vegetarian stuff except when we go on vacation. Even then, I’m not the party girl I used to be and I try to eat less. But you know…chocolate is a plant-based food! And dark chocolate has all those flavonoids that are so good for you. 😉
Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi, longtime Missourian Naomi King writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her Home at Cedar Creek/One Big Happy Family series. Like her series heroine, Abby Lambright, Naomi considers it her personal mission to be a listener—to heal broken hearts and wounded souls—and to share her hearth and home. Faith and family, farming and frugality are hallmarks of her lifestyle: like Abby, she made her wedding dress and the one her mom wore, too! She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, Naomi loves to travel, try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Naomi, whose real name is Charlotte Hubbard, now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie, Ramona.
One Big Happy Family, Book 2
NAL Trade (November 4, 2014)
ISBN-13: 9780451417886 •• ISBN-10: 0451417887
The Book Depository •• http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9780451417886
IndieBound •• http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780451417886
Powell’s •• http://www.powells.com/biblio?isbn=9780451417886
I am excited to announce that we would be reading Okey Ndibe’s Foreign gods this month. Okey Ndibe is also the author of the critically acclaimed book, Arrows of Rain. Okey is a visiting professor at Brown University, an essayist and columnist. He will be joining BlackandOutspoken for a Q/A session on Twitter. More details soon.
I interviewed Author Okey Ndibe whilst he toured the UK to promote this book. The interview will be played tomorrow evening at 6pm on my radio show.
I hope you will be reading along myself and my team. Let me know, hashtag ForeigngodswithBAO.
You can purchase a copy of this book here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Foreign-Gods-Inc-Okey-Ndibe/dp/1616953136 (Sorry guys, there appears to be something wrong with my insert link).