Quick Chat With The Author… is a weekly OkadaBooks series that spotlights indigenous authors, amplifies their voices, and gives character and depth to the brains behind the amazing stories our readers have come to love on the OkadaBooks mobile app. Check back for new episodes Wednesdays at 12 noon.
For this week’s episode, we chat with Tope Omotosho. A devoted Christian passionate about influencing the world through her thought-provoking stories, Tope is also a wife and a mother, with a deep conviction that the great readers of tomorrow are already being seasoned in clean and wholesome stories today. This was an insightful conversation. Don’t forget to leave a comment and share it with your circle.
Hi Tope, kindly introduce yourself.
I’m a Jesus believer, passionate about bringing people to the knowledge of God’s true and unfailing love. I’m happily married with two amazing toddlers. I love junk food and a serene environment. I’m also passionate about impacting the world through the art of storytelling. I am called to minister God’s heart to all who will read and listen for my audience to know they are loved, blessed, and be transformed. I love my privacy, though, and I like to keep things pretty simple.
Can you take us a little about how you got into creative writing?
I’ve always been writing since as far back as I can remember. I’d watch TV and come up with my version of how the story should have been. I’d write in notebooks (some of which I still have). But it wasn’t until 2014 that I got serious. I decided to make my writings open to the public in 2015. I had a blog then, Mysteries of Love 360, where I wrote stories in episodes and shared them with all. I joined Okadabooks to first read amazing stories in 2016, then soon become an author, and the rest, as they say,…
For how long have you been writing?
Commercially, since 2014; I have Okadabooks to thank for that.
Don’t mention. 🤗
Apart from writing, what else do you do for a living?
This is majorly it for me. I’m fully in the writing line. No 9-5 in one AC office anywhere. LOL. But since I started Leverage Publishing with my husband, I now edit, format, and design everything book-related. But my writing is the A-game.
Is there any other passion you think you’d be pursuing if writing wasn’t in the mix?
Maybe graphics, cover designs, and any other thing that has to do with books. Preferably Christian books.
You’re well-known for your works in the romance niche. What is it about this genre that appeals to you and that has made you continue to explore it more and more?
I love love. LOL! I love the idea of love and everything about love. How does a person give His Son to die for people who don’t really know him, to woo them into a loving relationship? What obstacles will you overcome to get the babe… gosh, love is amazing! Don’t you think so?
Oh, I do. The world is truly nothing without love.
What’s one important lesson you picked up at the beginning of your writing career that still helps you to date?
I can’t say it’s just one. I have several:
- There’s always room for improvement, the next work has to be better
- Some readers will fall by the wayside
- Don’t compare your writing with others, and
- SEX DOESN’T SELL A CHRISTIAN FICTION NOVEL.
Three words that best describe you are…?
Determined. Artistic. Shy. 😁
Check out all books by Tope Omotosho HERE.
As a writer of romance books, do you also consider yourself a big romance book reader?
Three (3) of your all-time favourite romance novels are?
- Redeeming Love by Francine rivers
- Chocolate moments by Lori wick
- Pretense by Lori wick
A prominent theme across your books is the presence of God and how your characters interact with His supremacy. I believe there’s a reason you go this route with your storytelling – marinating relationships, love, and God. Care to let us in on what that reason is?
My goal is to write God’s heart.
Writing God’s heart
Writing God’s heart is that:
1) We bring sinners home
2) We help saints draw closer to God
3) We remind all of God’s love.
It’s my aim that people feel loved by God, are blessed, and, possibly, transformed in any area of their Christian walk that needs this. Loved. Blessed. Transformed.
You describe yourself as “a devoted Christian passionate about bringing people to the knowledge of God’s true and unfailing love.” How do you think this side of you has changed your readers’ perspective on romance and relationships?
I have received feedback from readers who are happy to read a relatable book without getting them spiritually dirty. I have feedback on books that speak to exactly where they were in a current relationship mixed with the opposite sex, I have had people write to me that they rededicated their lives to Jesus while reading a book. So the impact is being made and I’m grateful to God because I could never bring about this change on my own. On changing the reader’s perspective, I think it’s clear now that there’s general romance and Christian or religious romance. Several heat levels for where you are in your romantic relationship. You know the scriptures say we shouldn’t awaken certain desires before it’s the right time. Now, I have an audience who knows what to expect when they read a Tope Omotosho book, all to God’s glory!
Speaking from your experience, what would you say has changed in the reading culture of the average Nigerian now compared to, say, five years ago?
I think a new generation is coming up interested in reading Christian fiction and more content is being created to cater to this need. Before, as a child, you read Enid Blyton and progressed to M&B or Harlequin. But now young readers can safely transform to clean and wholesome Christian fiction stories. I also see more people escaping into books as an alternate form of entertainment.
This speaks to a promising future. I look forward to seeing it as well.
If you were given a choice to only write from either an antagonist or protagonist POV in a book, which would you choose and why?
I can write from both really. I’d likely pick an antagonist and watch him/her get redeemed, fall at the foot of the cross and say, now I’d be your protagonist. Zainab in the redemption series started like that, in Dance With Me she was all protagonist on the pages.
Titling of works can be quite tricky and your books are ones with really unique titles. For some, it’s the seed that brings forth the work while it’s the other way around for others. Can you briefly walk me through what a typical titling process looks like for you?
Well, maybe my case is different. While I’m praying a title drops in my spirit. The storyboard then begins to form. Other times as the story is being written I get to understand what the title should be. But I’m always with a title before the book is done. I already conceived the idea for a sequel and title while writing Dance With Me.
Check out all books by Tope Omotosho HERE.
Who are some of the biggest influences in your writing? Care to give them a shout-out?
I’d start with God. He has been awesome. Big shout out to You, Lord! Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, Becky Wade, Lori Wick—they laid a foundation of what I wanted to do with Nigerian stories where possible. Abimbola Dare and Sally Kenneth Dadzie gave me a shoutout at a time I was very unknown. I’m grateful to them. My husband, he has been supporting me even before he became my husband and has released me to do this in peace. That’s a big influence. Also, if I don’t mention him and he reads this article, I will do frog jump. Just kidding. LOL! But he’s amazing. Please help me thank him anywhere you see him.
Thank you for being amazing, Mr. Omotosho.
What’s a simple fact a lot of people don’t know about you?
Even though I’m shy, I let loose over pizza, ice cream, chocolate, and other ‘ijekujes’ (junk food). So don’t form papas and say fine dining with favorite authors… bring the cookie hamper with cake and other confectionery and I’d spill my guts to you. At least, I hope I will.
How many books do you publish yearly, on average?
I published 3 books last year. I’m trying to make that the benchmark
How do you manage to make out time to churn out these number of quality books?
Well, I’m full time, so not too many distractions. However, I aim to do more for the glory of God. If there’s a message God wants out there, it’s my aim to write out His heart and pray it through into the hands, eyeballs, and minds of God’s target audience.
It’s vivid to see women, in recent times, changing the face of literature all over the world. In light of African literature, what would you describe as the biggest impact female writers have had on this amazing craft?
I honestly don’t see the difference between male and female impact in literature. But I know, generally, women are coming up. The woman’s place is no longer in the kitchen and other room. Our voices are being heard and this new norm has come to stay.
What are your thoughts on self-publishing? How do you think OkadaBooks has impacted this space in Nigeria?
First, I love self-publishing! It has both pros and cons, but it’s a learning curve for every author who decides to embark on this path. By the grace of God, I have over 15 titles in both fiction and nonfiction categories. I published my first book on OkadaBooks, Rings and Roses, got God’s message out there easily without the stress and box-ins of traditional publishing. Secondly, it’s a lot, lot easier to e-publish than print. Thanks to you guys, you have given voices to countless others who genuinely want to bless the world with their talents.
What are your plans for your writing career, say, 5 years from now?
Keep writing God’s heart. Win souls to Jesus, increase book formats into audio and, possibly, video or series. Write for teenagers and young adults. There isn’t a lot of content there and that demography is being left out.
I know for a fact that you have, at least, a book in the works coming soon. Give us a sneak peek into what to expect from you. Pleeeaaase. *insert puppy eyes here*
LOL! Expect a follow-up to the Redemption Series. Expect an entirely new series book one to drop before mid-year. Those on my mailing list are already aware. So to get more gist I’d just have to send you to join my mailing list plus you get a uniquely free story not published anywhere else.
Yes! Yes! Yes!
How soon can we expect its release?
Soooooooooooooon. *wink* Mailing list remember?
A piece of advice to growing writers who look up to you is…?
Keep dreaming. Keep writing. Stay with God and he’d take you places you never dreamed of!
Check out all books by Tope Omotosho HERE.
Read previous episodes HERE.
Thank you for reading to this point. Check back for a new episode next Wednesday at 12 noon.