Engineering the Story—How to Write a Novel in 80 Days

I’m a writer. I love words. But before I was a writer, I was an engineer, so I also love numbers. The typical word count for a novel is around 80,000. Non-novelists often baulk at the idea of writing that many words, and no question, it’s a mammoth task. To make it more manageable, I … Continue reading Engineering the Story—How to Write a Novel in 80 Days

Show Day, Music & Dance on the Lagoon

Part four of four in the Music & Dance on the Lagoon series, after Blame It On The Tango and Countdown to Show Day. After months of preparation, weeks of rehearsals and days of tearing my hair out, show day for Music & Dance on the Lagoon finally arrived. Tables and chairs were decorated, the bar was charged and security … Continue reading Show Day, Music & Dance on the Lagoon

Countdown to Show Day

Part three of four in the Music & Dance on the Lagoon series. Continued from part two, Blame It On The Tango. Music & Dance on the Lagoon was set for Saturday February 2, 2008. Most of my Lagos friends planned to be there. If it flopped, I'd have to go into hiding. Or skip the country. One … Continue reading Countdown to Show Day

Lisa Eskinazi, From High School Dropout to Author

It is my pleasure to introduce Lisa Eskinazi, author, adult phone actress and social advocate. Lisa has been writing since she could pick up a pen. Sharing her experience of bullying and mental health issues to bring comfort to others and advocate for justice is her dream come true. She lives in a cosy apartment … Continue reading Lisa Eskinazi, From High School Dropout to Author

Gail Cleare, From Ad Executive to Novelist

I’m taking a break from the Lagos story to bring you the next in my interview series. Today’s winding narrative comes from Gail Cleare, whose love of writing has taken her from advertising to literature. We are excited to announce that her book, the USA Today bestseller The Taste of Air, has been just chosen for a … Continue reading Gail Cleare, From Ad Executive to Novelist

Blame It On The Tango

(Part two of four in the Music & Dance on the Lagoon story.) In my last blog, I wrote about the myriad of problems we encountered setting up Music & Dance on the Lagoon. Many of those difficulties were beyond our control, but some were self-imposed. A more sensible person might have decided that writing, co-directing and … Continue reading Blame It On The Tango

To Be Oneself Or To Be Someone Else

When I published Nigerian Gems, I used the pseudonym Jo Demmer. People often ask how I chose my pen name. Jo is my middle name, after my great-grandmother, Josephine. Demmer is my mother’s maiden name. The novel I was working on at the time, Sunrise Court, was rife with intrigue and infidelity and I didn’t … Continue reading To Be Oneself Or To Be Someone Else

The Pros and Cons of Writing Memoir

So, you want to write a book? Whether to write fact or fiction is a crucial starting point. A large part of my writing journey has been spent finding my voice and the right genre. The first full-length book I finished was a memoir about my time in Lagos, but then I switched to fiction. … Continue reading The Pros and Cons of Writing Memoir

A Rookie’s Guide to Literary Speed Dating

Authors have a tough time breaking into the traditional publishing world. We send our work via email or online submission portals and rarely meet an agent or publisher face-to-face. Literary Speed Dating is designed to give us an opportunity to pitch in person. The catch? We only have three minutes. Last weekend, I went to … Continue reading A Rookie’s Guide to Literary Speed Dating

Nigerian Gems—In Print At Last

To pick up from where I left off in Tales from Lagos, the publication of Nigerian Gems had stalled. Graphic designer Els Van Limberghen volunteered to do the layout and design; we printed a copy on our home computer and painstakingly glued it together to create a mock up; Judy Anderson, Sara Dobbs and Martha Peterson … Continue reading Nigerian Gems—In Print At Last