Welcome to #LEAuthorSpotlight with Abigail Anaba. We are delighted to converse with Abigail who is a friend of the house. She has been a guest reviewer on our blog.
Read Abigail’s review of Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo here.
She also reviewed Tunde Leye’s Afonja: The Rise. Read her review here.
We’ve reviewed Abigail’s book and short story too. Read Lady B’s review of her debut novel, Sector IV, a historical fiction love story set during the Biafran war here.
Listen to Lady B’s audio review of her short story, One Sunny Day in June here.
LE: Hello Abigail, thank you for joining us. Dear King is your first nonfiction book. What inspired you to write it?
Abigail: Thank you very much. I am happy to be here.
I have selfish reasons, at least that is how I feel in my heart. I have three boys and I see the world they have to live in. I wanted to leave them a guide. If I should die, they can still hear my voice by reading it.
LE: Hmmm so essentially, you wanted to write a manual for your children but ended up with one for boys and men.
Abigail: Exactly. It was worry over my boys that made me start investigating ways to help them be better people and navigate the troubled waters of life. I ended up with something larger.
LE: You already have two published novels [Sector IV and Switching Play], one published short story [One Sunny Day in June] and several movie scripts for Nollywood. Now, you can make the comparison, fiction or nonfiction, which was easier to write?
Abigail: I don’t think it would be fair to compare. For all my writings there is a great deal of research whether fiction or nonfiction. I couldn’t really say even if I tried to judge. Each work I write, I put in more effort than the last.
Depending on what one is writing about, it could be little or extensive. But more extensive if you really want to do something to be reckoned with. It could also be formal or informal…again depending on the subject.
For example, the last Nollywood script I wrote took me into reading up medical research and court judgements. Sometimes it’s like a chain. You start somewhere and then there are twists and turns and you keep going.
But this is the fundamental part of any good writing. And there is a way to do good research and how you do it and you end up just finding nothing of worth. It’s an art and a science, I must say. Sorry, I could go on and on about this. Blame the teacher in me.
LE: What kind of research was required to write Dear King?
Abigail: Both formal and informal research. I am not a man, so writing a book to boys/men required learning about them. How they think, how they react to issues, how to reach them, what could be a turn off, the entire psychology of boys/men. I talked to my boys a lot.
I talked to the men around me, boys and men in the schools I teach, I also read a lot of research in the psychology of men and gender differentiations. I spent time reading neuroscientific research. I engaged in debates.
It was an enlightening and sometimes mind boggling experience but it was totally worth the exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking. I share a lot of these in the book.
LE: Dear King was written in collaboration with your first son who did the illustrations. What informed the decision to include them?
Abigail: There is something about the example of a man I consider the greatest teacher who ever lived. He used illustrations as a tool for reaching the heart. I love that. And I felt, following his example, I should too.
The pictorial illustrations at the end of each letter, which my son did, served to reinforce the venture into the animal kingdom to find examples of worthy conduct, powered by instinct, for a man to follow. You read and then you see. It forces you to think.
LE: Does this greatest teacher that ever lived have a name? 🙂
Abigail: LOL! I am speaking about the historical and religious figure, Jesus. His teachings, as found in the Bible, contain numerous illustrations. In fact, he wouldn’t speak without them.
LE: What is the key theme or message in Dear King?
Abigail: Men can be a good people without pandering to the political correctness of ideologues. They can be a good people simply by being men and acting like men (in every sense of the word). They just need to understand what it means to be men.
LE: Which of the lessons in Dear King was the easiest or your favourite to write?
Abigail: I liked the letter on Relationships with the Opposite Sex. I liked it because it was by far the hardest to write. I love challenging myself and exploring new ways of thinking about old things and this letter helped with that.
LE: Some may say Dear King is similar to Chimamanda Adichie’s Dear Ijeawele, can it be compared?
Abigail: Unfortunately, I can’t make that comparison. I would have had to read the book, which I have not got round to reading… yet. I did see the Facebook post it was based off but I don’t think that’s enough for me to work with. So my answer: I don’t know.
LE: You are very active on social media. How much did it influence your writing of Dear King?
Abigail: The idea to write Dear King is a result of a Twitter thread. And yes, talking with people on social media and exchanging ideas was a great help. There is the Grill and Read Banter group where we debate issues. Love them!
LE: Finally, why should people buy Dear King and where can they buy it?
Abigail: I will answer this with quotes from people who have read the book. I must say, I have received comments about this book that have been overwhelmingly supportive. Let me share a few:
Dr @SamAmadi who graciously wrote the Foreward for this book says it’s a book he would have loved to write and in gifting it to his sons, his work as a parent would have been done. He compared it to C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.
Uncle @solaadio called it a comprehensive manual that all boys should read at least twice before they turn men and a book they should constantly refer to. He said it was a breathtaking read.
My good friend @CalvinEmeka says it is perfect for this generation of teenage boys and he would buy any copies for his nephews.
I could go on with comments from @TexTheLaw and @Batarhe who wrote reviews @Papadonkee @jesseoguns @akintonmide and many others.
The book is still available for pre-order for N1500 till April 30 on http://iccom.ng/shop You can even read a complimentary chapter there. It will be in stores starting May 5.
LE: Thank you for joining us on this edition of #LEAuthorSpotlight, Abigail and all the best with Dear King and your future projects!
Abigail: Thank you for having me.
Read a free Chapter of Dear King here.
About Dear King:
Dear King is a #LetterToSons which gives practical advice to help men and boys navigate the troubled waters of life in the 21st century.
In today’s world, men are debased and shamed for being masculine. There is a systematic spread of misandry and anti-male sentiments passed off as ‘feminism’. Also, the inherent biological traits that differentiate men from women are labelled toxic. For these reasons, a book that addresses principles that will guide men and young boys becomes a necessity.
Dear King is a heartfelt compilation of seven letters and seventeen principles from a mother determined to give her sons the best direction possible.
The book is premised on proven neurological distinctions between men and women which give rise to psychological and emotional differences. Therefore, it explains why these ‘gender’ differences should count in present day conversations. It is a letter to sons that emphasises stoicism, chivalry and empathy. Dear King is written as a manual to help parents raise first rate sons.
Categories: Author Spotlight