Emeka Onochie is the second place winner of the recently concluded Dusty Manuscript Contest which was birthed and organized by OkadaBooks and sponsored by Guarantee Trust Bank. His entry is titled, “The Orchid Protocol.”
Emeka lives in Port Harcourt with his wife, Elizabeth, and son, Ian. He has worked with Wave FM and Family Love FM in Port Harcourt. He currently works with Classic FM 91.1 and he runs Kulture Magazine, A lifestyle magazine.
So our team caught up with Emeka Onochie, and below is the conversation:
OKBS: Hi Emeka, It is nice to have you on board.
Emeka: Nice to be. Thanks
OKBS: How did you feel coming second place in the Dusty Manuscript Contest?
Emeka: I really can’t explain the feeling. Stunned, I guess.
OKBS: Please tell us a little about yourself.
Emeka: I’m a bit extroverted; I love reading; I’m a film freak and, of course, you can’t keep me away from a video game-pad. I’m a visual guy, I mean, I’m really attracted to well-designed stuff.
OKBS: What does your family think of your writing? Do they support and encourage you?
Emeka: Well, yes my family supports me. My elder brother, who’s a fellow writer, has been supportive as well as my wife.
OKBS: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Emeka: I can’t really say. I guess it’s something that just happened. I used to make comic books when I was younger, so I just decided to start writing stories instead, when my art phase took a pause (Laugh).
OKBS: (Smiles) So what is the title of your first book?
Emeka: The Orchid Protocol
OKBS: Wow! Your first book did go a long way. What prompted you to write it and how long did it take?
Emeka: I’ve always been a big fan of action novels and espionage-themed stories. I have never read a Nigerian set novel in that genre, so I decided to write one, as they say, for the culture.
OKBS: Please tell us about your winning book.
Emeka: The Orchid Protocol is an Action/Thriller about The Directorate of Counter-terrorism’s attempt to stop and apprehend terrorists responsible for a series of attacks on home soil.
OKBS: The experiences in ‘The Orchid Protocol,’ are they based on someone you know or events in your own life?
Emeka: Not particularly. Part of the reasons I wrote the book the way I did was to show Nigerian citizens and security forces what we could become.
OKBS: Awesome! What Other books have you written?
Emeka: Two short stories: They All Fall Down and Like Rushing Waters.
OKBS: Outside of writing, what’s your day job and how do you manage it alongside writing?
Emeka: I’m an OAP with Classic FM 91.1 Port Harcourt. It’s hectic, to say the least. I have to tell you the truth, I really depend on my faith in Jesus to help me through the day. It’s not easy trying to figure out how to run my show, write a few pages and still raise a son. It gets crazy, but my faith goes a long way to help.
OKBS: I’ve heard a lot of people complain of the negative effect of social media. I’ve also heard them praise it as an effective marketing tool. Have you been able to use it to your advantage?
Emeka: To some extent, yes. Although I have to admit, I haven’t been consistent because of the said negative effect which makes me take some brief social media vacations. Sometimes there is just so much noise and I need to pause and filter the sound so I can think clearly.
OKBS: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Emeka: No specific schedule for me. I just make sure I write 10 pages a day. I don’t always hit the mark but I do more often than not. So the race to finish my 10 pages will determine whether I work during the day or at night.
OKBS: That’s a lot of Discipline, which makes it unfortunate that some people see writers as un-serious people and because of that, they are reluctant to assist. Do you have anyone that supports your writing career outside of family members?
Emeka: No. Not at this time.
OKBS: Do you see writing as a career?
Emeka: Yes, sort of. I mean not a full career.
OKBS: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in The Orchid Protocol?
Emeka: I don’t think so.
OKBS: They say Africans don’t read. As such, our local publishers have their interests more in school books. After all, children are compelled to buy them. Now, you write Action/Thriller, not school books. Have you had an encounter with our local publishers? If yes, what was your experience like?
Emeka: My experience with local publishers has actually been encouraging. They always felt I had a fresh take and that the books could be an exciting read for their audience.
OKBS: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Emeka: Writing is harder than I thought (Laughs). Also, it takes a lot of self-discipline to write a novel
OKBS: (Smiles). EBook sales and hard copy sales, which do you think is better? And why?
Emeka: I can’t really say one is better than the other, only that they both have their advantages. Someone like me prefers to read a book in the hard copy format will others can’t seem to keep their eyes away from their Kindle devices. I guess the Ebook sales would have the upper hand in this digital age.
OKBS: Do you have any suggestions to help other young writers become better?
Emeka: Don’t stop writing. Think outside the box and break the norm. Read the kind of genre you want to write.
OKBS: Any words to other upcoming writers?
Emeka: Keep writing. Don’t wait for the publishing deal; just keep writing and don’t stop.
OKBS: What about your readers? Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Emeka: Yes, sometimes. They like what they read. One time a reader didn’t like the way I ended the book (Like Rushing Waters), so she suggested a different end.
OKBS: Any words from you to them?
Emeka: Yes. I want them to never lose the appetite to read and keep creating amazing imaginations.
OKBS: Thank you so much for your time, Emeka.
Emeka: You’re very welcome.
You can connect with Emeka on:
(Twitter Handle) @OfficialOnochie