#WomenWhoWrite: Tolulope Popoola
Read more on our #WomenWhoWrite series.
Hello Tolulope. Please tell us more about you.
My name is Tolulope Popoola, I was born in the 80s, I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria in a family where reading and academic pursuits were positively encouraged. As a child, I was a real bookworm; the introvert who preferred staying at home reading to going out and partying. I left Nigeria for the UK in 2000 for my university education. I studied Accounting and Business Economics for my first degree, and after a year in the workplace, I went on to gain a Masters in Finance and Investment. I started working in accounting jobs, while studying for my professional accounting exams. In between all those trips to the library to study at university, I met my husband and we got married in 2005. I switched careers in 2008 to become a full-time writer.
How does it feel seeing your book ready?
It feels awesome! It’s the final step in a long journey – from idea to realisation and I’m excited to have something to show people when they ask me, “So what have you written?”
What is Nothing Comes Close all about?
Nothing Comes Close is the story of two characters, Lola and Wole and how their relationship developed in spite of the challenges they had to face. It’s a spin-off from the previous project I was working on titled “In My Dreams It Was Simpler” the online series. It’s a story of love, friendship, betrayal, secrets, honesty, regrets and hopefully, a happy ending. Lola is a confident career girl. She is feisty and fun, she’s intelligent but vulnerable. She has her flaws, but she knows what she wants and she stands for what she believes in. She often sees things in black and white, and she is not afraid to speak her mind or take risks. Wole is quite mysterious and unpredictable, but he’s also very loyal and he’s got a sense of duty and justice. Together, they make for a very interesting couple.
Why did you write this book?
The online series ended on a cliffhanger leaving readers wondering what happened next. Lola and Wole were getting closer and their relationship was deepening, but we didn’t get to see if they overcame a new set of challenges that was thrown at them. I wanted to get Lola to a point where she was satisfied with the choices she had made for her future, and I wanted the reader to understand Wole’s character better. With the novel, I got to make that happen. I also wanted to write about people and themes that I observed around me, and my environment.
What was your biggest challenge in writing and publishing this book?
Writing the novel was a learning experience, as I’m sure writing any book will be. I’m still a new writer so I’m learning how to do it better. The main challenge was the process of going through several drafts and rewrites, but it was necessary to make the prose better. As for the publishing aspect, I wanted to publish Nothing Comes Close myself because I felt that there were not enough mainstream publishers willing to take a chance on new writers like me. I had some experience with publishing through a self-publishing company, but I didn’t like many aspects of that process – I felt it was too restrictive and limiting. So I did a lot of research and decided to become an independent publisher myself. That way, I could have more control over the process of bringing my stories to the public. The process is hard work, but I’m sure in the long run, it will be more rewarding.
And your most exciting moment?
I’ve had lots of exciting moments – I try to celebrate the achievement of every small milestone! But the most exciting one so far was when my first proof copy arrived in the post. I quickly tore open the package and hugged the book in joy. It was lovely seeing it in real life, finally.
Apart from your writing skills what other skills and knowledge have been of help in achieving this?
Patience, perseverance and determination. I think those qualities are necessary for anyone who wants to achieve something significant. There are always excuses, obstacles and reasons to give up when faced with challenges, but somehow you have to keep trying. Completing a book is not easy, setting up and running a company is not easy, but I had to do it because it’s my dream.
What is a typical writing day like for you?
I work from home so that means I can be as flexible as I need to be. I can choose my own working hours, fit tasks around my family and other commitments. My day usually consists of juggling work around an active toddler, so that’s when I do the simple administrative tasks like sending emails. I do my writing and editing during the early hours of the morning when my household is asleep, and everywhere it quiet.
So many women dream of writing a book someday, is having a story idea enough to do that?
Having a great story idea is a start. Writing a book requires a lot of commitment, so if it’s not something you’re really passionate about, you will give up before you get to the end. Once you have your great idea, develop it. Read many books in that genre you’re interested in so they can give you ideas of what to do and what to avoid. Then start working on an outline, so you have an idea of what happens in the story. Write character profiles of the main cast. Let your characters interact with one another, write different scenes just to test them. Do your research if you need to get some facts and figures right. Start writing and don’t stop until you finish the first draft. There will be time to do the editing later, but if you can focus on getting the main story written down, you’re almost there.
What is the overall message you hope readers get from reading your book?
I hope they identify with the characters and the dilemmas they have to face, and the choices they make.
Where can we get more details about your book?
You can find out more about the book on my blog: www.onwritingandlife.com or www.accomplishpress.com/books and it is available as an ebook or paperback via Amazon and many online retailers.