Hello everyone👋🏽👋🏽 I’m so excited to share with you the things I learnt from talking to the newest author in town!!! Drumroll🥁🥁🥁 LARA KAREEM!!! You guys, I learnt quite a lot from this conversation and also Lara cracked me up. Continue reading annnnnd enjoy!
Oreoluwa Eunice: Hello. I’m Oreoluwa Eunice from StoryStoryOh. It’s a delight to have you here. Can you please introduce yourself.
Lara Kareem: Hey Ore, I’m Lara. I’m thrilled to be here and doing this.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Same here. So, Lara, what are your book interests as a reader and as a writer?
Lara Kareem: My book interest varies, I would read anything as long as I find it entertaining but I find myself leaning towards romance books more than anything, due to this I tend to write love stories.
Oreoluwa Eunice: I also love to read romantic stories. As a reader, what trope annoys you the most?
Lara Kareem: I don’t know how to explain this but I hate when there’s that designated woman or girl that’s meant to be the enemy of a female main character, whose purpose is to just be a bitch, sabotage and antagonise the mc. I hate it more than I hate love triangles. We need more positive portrayal of female friendships.
Oreoluwa Eunice: There are a lot of books like this. Too much, in fact. I agree with you on that. So, are you currently reading any book?
Almost everyone I know seem to hate love triangles too, haha.
Lara Kareem: I find love triangles to be unnecessary because I am a huge fan of reverse harem haha. I am meant to be reading With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, but I stopped to read a couple of other books, but I’ll go back to it now.
Oreoluwa Eunice: I am yet to read With The Fire on High but I started Poet X a while ago and I enjoyed the writing style. My next question is cliche but I would like to know the answer. What inspired you to write your new book, ‘Not Just Another Interlude’?
Lara Kareem: Well, you’re a poet right? Finish the book it’s amazing.
I am a romance reader and I read a lot of romance books, especially ones written by whites because they have everything I look for in romance unlike the Nigerian ones I picked up to read which were always preachy in nature and came about as always judgy. The girls were always in distress and then a man would come to the rescue and the icing on the cake having terrible portrayal of female friendships or relations. They were always pushing one agenda or the other, to be honest reading the books felt like one giant propaganda.
Although since I discovered books published by Love Africa Press, it’s different now, I can read and enjoy the romance stories of Africans by Africans, which purpose is just to get us to swoon and be in our feels.
I wrote Not Just Another Interlude because it’s the kind of book I want to read.
Oreoluwa Eunice: This reminds me of Toni Morrison’s quote which says, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it,” so I am glad you took the step. Do you see a future for the romance genre in Nigeria, and Africa as a whole? I feel like it is seen as fickle or frivolous while it is actually one of the realities of most people’s lives.
Lara Kareem: Honestly, it’s quite sad how many people are quick to dismiss romance novels. So many times I’ve been looked down on by Nigerians for enjoying and being a loud advocate of romance novels. Meanwhile there are thousands of us that enjoy romance but suffer from herd mentality.
But I believe many people are finally embracing being them self and enjoying what they like without a care, so yes there’s still hope but within the literary space itself especially concerning the publishers, I don’t know when because the people behind Ankara Press have done a very terrible job.
Oreoluwa Eunice: I totally agree with you. The only reason people book shame readers of romance is because of herd mentality. I also read something somewhere that problems people have are too much for a reader to be book shaming another reader. It is totally appalling. There are a lot of lessons to learn from these books. This is for another day though, haha
I wouldn’t lie, I did not even now that there was anything like Ankara Press until I was researching Nigerian romance books. Publishers here need to do better.
What are the lessons you learnt in the course of you writing and publishing Not Just Another Interlude?
Lara Kareem: Lessons? Writing Not Just Another Interlude was fun all through, I lightly touched on various of the things many Nigerians are quick to condemn women on, by putting a positive spin to it, because we women should be allowed to make mistakes, grow from it and live our lives freely, rather than being punished eternally.
When it comes to publishing, I sent my manuscript to two publishers. One was American and before I found out about Love Africa Press. I passed the first stage of querying with the American publisher but ultimately my book was too Nigerian for them, because our reality is so hard for them to relate to. Luckily I had already sent my manuscript to Love Africa Press while I was waiting for their response. In fact I got their rejection about a month after I had signed the deal with Love Africa Press. It didn’t hurt because I had forgotten I sent my manuscript to them lol
Oreoluwa Eunice: 😂 I’m so glad it turned out well. What is your writing schedule like?
Lara Kareem: I don’t have one, I’m currently not writing 😊
Oreoluwa Eunice: Apart from Not Just Another Interlude, you wrote A Guide To Self Publishing which I enjoyed reading. How was that experience for you, putting all you knew about publishing together…
Lara Kareem: It took me about 3 months to gather all the information in one place. I write according to my mood, there are months where I just have to do something and my mind won’t let me rest until I have finished, that’s what happened with A Guide to Self Publishing.
It was easy, I felt like it was a necessary service for people who wanted to self publish here in Nigeria, due to the amount of slightly clueless independent authors I have come across working at bookstores.
Many of them think after writing the story that’s it. To get a cover and print it, not realising there are several processes that have to be taken before they publish their books.
I majorly wrote A Guide to Self Publishing for my consulting sessions. Many authors are always trying to pick my brain for free when it comes to publishing their books and I knew I had to gather it all in one place.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Brilliant idea. There is nothing wrong in monetizing your services. I’m going to be asking a couple of fun questions. Are you ready?
Lara Kareem: Please go ahead.
Oreoluwa Eunice: What book do you regret reading?
Lara Kareem: It’s very easy. Omo by Alexander Emmanuel. Till date, it’s one book that gets me annoyed when I think about it.
Oreoluwa Eunice: 😂😂
Next question, what book do you think is underappreciated?
Lara Kareem: There are a lot of books that I feel are under appreciated but I’ll stick to David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi David Okungbowa. I know I’m always shouting about this book.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Haha. Chocolate or Ice-Cream?
Lara Kareem: Vanilla Ice-cream. I’m not really a fan of chocolate.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Mention three of your absolute favorite books.
Lara Kareem: 1. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
2. David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi David Okungbowa
3. The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
Oreoluwa Eunice: I LOVEEEEEEEE It Ends With Us. Such an heart wrenching book. So, if you were to give one out with ever having a copy again, re-read one but still own a copy or keep one forever; which one will it be?
Lara Kareem: The one I’ll keep forever is David Mogo, Godhunter. Re-read is The Book of Night Women and Give out without owning a copy again is It Ends With Us. But honestly that’s never going to be possible ☺️
Oreoluwa Eunice: 😂😂 would you rather have endless supplies of historical romance or endless supplies of romantic suspense?
Lara Kareem: Easy romantic suspense, who wants to be stuck in the problematic past.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Your responses are killing me😂😂😭 Last one, Beach or Mountain?
Lara Kareem: Beach
Oreoluwa Eunice: Before we wrap this up, what do you wish you knew before you took step into publishing your book?
Lara Kareem: Is it possible to say, I knew what I was doing? I did my research and I have worked in publishing as well so I didn’t go in blind and unprepared. Maybe months from now my answer would be different, but right now I can’t answer this question because so far I haven’t encounter anything new or unexpected 😊
Oreoluwa Eunice: Great. So, what advice will you give to other persons hoping to get published?
Lara Kareem: It’s important for authors to understand and know what they’re going into when it comes to publishing, they should research on the publishers who are best for the genre they’re writing, and they should try to get a literary agent if possible because these agents will give them access to publishers that aren’t even within their reach.
When it comes to self-publishing, they should follow the due process, research and be very aware of the fact publishing isn’t cheap.
Oreoluwa Eunice: I honestly have learnt a great deal from our conversation, Lara. Thank you for your time. I wish you the very best in all your endeavors in the literary scene.
Lara Kareem: Thanks, Ore 🥰
Visit Lara Kareem’s website for more info at www.larakareem.com
Not Just Another Interlude
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release date: May 25, 2020
Sewa’s decision to steer her love life in the direction she wants instantly backfires, prompting her to halt her quest for love and focus on other more important things like getting a job. Fate has its own plan and puts her in the path of the man of her dreams, Jide.
Jide isn’t afraid to go after what he wants. Crossing Sewa’s path more than once, he doesn’t leave it up to chance because there is something special about her.
When their budding relationship suffers a huge blow, Jide will have to prove that love is worth fighting for, to Sewa.
A Guide To Self-Publishing
For months you’ve worked diligently, dedicated time, stayed up late, overcame writer’s block and finally, you typed the last word and finished writing your book.
Now that you’ve finished writing your book, you’re anxious to know what comes next? You look up publishing firms accepting the genre of your manuscript and query them, hoping they’ll publish your book and you’re on your merry way to the life of authordom.
But, there’s no response from these publishing firms or many apologise but aren’t sure you’re the right fit for the firm and now you’re stumped. Don’t fret too much because there is another way, which is where this book comes in.
Do you really want to publish your book? Self-Publishing is the path to take and this book is filled with all the necessary information needed to get your book ready before hitting the publish button.
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