21 September 2012

Book Savvy Spotlight on Oge Austin-Chukwu

Bringing you exclusive interviews with authors featured in the Book Savvy Newsletter.
Our Guest is Oge Austin-Chukwu*
Enjoy the interview.

Q1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your book 'Pearls of Wisdom'?
I have been writing since I was a child. I love words and the concept of using them to paint a picture that people can relate to. As a medical doctor in a busy hospital setting I couldn't seem to find the time to write or indeed do other things I had an interest in doing, so eight years ago I retrained as a General Practitioner and my work/life balance is so much better.
I wrote Pearls of Wisdom because I believe there is so much we can learn from looking at other people's lives. My heroes are ordinary people who do extraordinary things because they believed in Someone and Something greater than themselves. The Bible is full of these ordinary people. Pearls of Wisdom aims to capture just a few of these women.
 
Q2. What was your motivation for writing this book?
I wanted to encourage women to believe that their lives had value and that they could make a difference, regardless of their background, education, connections or level of wealth.
 
Q3. What provided the inspiration for you to become a writer in the first place?
My parents were well known authors. When we were young, we were encouraged to read widely. I developed a love for reading and I suppose writing was a natural follow on to that for me.
 
Q4. What do you enjoy most about writing? And the most challenging?
I love creating a piece of work from nothing. Words are very powerful and the idea that I can frame my world (and others) with words is very exciting and at the same time challenging. I guess the thing I find most challenging is trying to write when there just doesn't seem to be any inspiration.
 
Q5. How do you find the time to write with all your other responsibilities?
It is difficult, because there are lots of other things in my life. However I am quite a focused person and once I set myself goals, I will usually try very hard to achieve them. When I make writing a priority, I find the time at all costs.
 
Q6. Which authors/books have had the most influence on your writing style?
I cannot pinpoint one particular author or book. I like cutting edge, straight to the point writing. I guess I am quite succinct and direct in my style - less is more.
 
Q7. Are you basically a Christian/inspirational writer or do you have other ideas that might suit different types of genres?
I used to write fiction in the past. I love a good story, but there is so much competition in that genre that I guess I gave up on it after a while. These days I feel I use my gift best by writing inspirational material. As a qualified coach it is also more true to my training.
 
Q8. What are your interests when you are not writing?
I love travelling and discovering new places and peoples. I also like all things property and would have loved to have trained as an interior decorator. As it is, I shall have to be content with watching property programmes and using their ideas in my own house!
 
Q9. What is the first thing you did to promote your book once the publisher accepted your manuscript?
I told as many people as I could about the book. I also printed promotional bookmarks which I gave out free to my contacts.
 
Q10. If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you've used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?
The most effective was when I committed the proceeds to a children's charity that looked after children with HIV/AIDS and told people where their money would be going.
 
Q11. Do you use social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to promote your books and have you had any success with it?
I don't really use social media for my book, but do use it for my coaching.
 
Q12. Do you target your books at any particular market?
Yes, my book is predominantly aimed at the female population and I market it accordingly.
 
Q13. What kinds of feed-back have you received from your readers, good and bad?
Mostly good, but one person said it lacked the punch she expected from me.
 
Q14. How do you see your writing career progressing? Are there more books in the pipeline?
I am working on building my coaching practice at the moment so although I am blogging regularly on topics relating to coaching and developing tools to help my clients, I don't have time for my other writing but will return to it in the future.
 
Q15. Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers or even fellow authors?
It is hard work and there is not always a financial reward, so do it because you love it, and not for the money.

Thank you for your time. We wish you every success in your writing career.

*Born to parents who were both accomplished writers, it seemed inevitable that Oge Austin-Chukwu would inherit the writing gene! Although, she studied medicine and is now practising as a GP, writing (and reading) has always been the one thing she enjoyed doing and could get lost in. She is involved in leading the Women's Ministry at her local church and speaks at conferences. She is the author of 'Pearls of Wisdom'.
Oge Austin-Chukwu is available for interviews and to write feature articles as well as guest blogs.


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