For the past few days, we’ve been working on the directions to take Designed Life. One of the reasons I started the blog was to showcase brilliant individuals living a designed life, and people who create the life they want passionately without fear. The best part about this new direction or series involves getting to talk to interesting people, especially people I admire, or whom I consider great teachers; whose creative abilities change the world around them. Nkem DenChukwu falls into that category! She is a breathtaking woman, who has spent a couple of decades creating, writing, and making movies. She is the author of 5 inspirational books and has produced 14 independent movies. She is truly an inspiration!
What or who inspired your love for writing?
Believe it or not; the universe inspired my love for writing. It always does. While in school back in Nigeria, I wrote on every Exercise book I had. When I meet or see people in love or full of hate, I wonder what molds and breaks them; what makes them who and what they are. When I look up the sky, I see the sun, the stars, the moon, the birds of the air; and I am in awe of God. I admire (from a distance) the exotic skin of an alligator; beautifully carved, and I do love the colors and shapes of flowers and plants! I literally make time to smell the roses and to watch butterflies glide from one flower to the next. I am simply fascinated by the magnificence of God. Therefore, His handwork allows my mind to travel and create.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
When I am stressed, I tend to lose focus for a moment, and writer’s block takes over every now and then. Sometimes, I’d lose interest in picking up from where I left off. Or sometimes, too many ideas overwhelm me. But, I am learning to write all down, and focus on each at the right time.
Did you come across any specific challenges in writing About a Boy? What would you do differently the next time?
Not necessarily! I started writing “About A Boy” when I was producing the movie Harvey; a film inspired by Hurricane Harvey. I tried writing more than a paragraph each day after being on set for 10 hours. It was challenging trying to focus on my writing at the same time because I was mentally drained. So, I put it on hold until we were wrapped.
You seem to enjoy writing about kids and bullying? Were you bullied as a child? As a mother how do you deal with the issue of bullying?
Yes! I was bullied in high school. Believe it or not, I was bullied here in Houston, by individuals, and a group of adults (all older than I am). Felt sorry for them because I knew their weaknesses. As a mother of four, I constantly teach my children. I talk to and with them. I always tell them to pick up all my good behaviors instead. I also empower them to draw from their strengths as much as from what makes them weak and be empowered to be the best of them. Last but not the least, I remind them that bullies choose to be bullies, they are cowards & weak, and battle with their own inadequacies.
You seem to wear numerous hats. You make also make movies? What drives you?
When it comes to the art of creative writing; the beauty of life, and the complexities of it, drive me. After all, life imitates arts. I like to believe that I am creative by nature (not “Naughty by Nature.” Hahaha). I do love to cook. I love to make motion pictures. And, I love to write. These three passions of mine have one thing in common; each is an art that requires a creative mind. I am also driven by the power of positive change. So, I strive to be and do better each day, knowing my strengths and weaknesses. It’s a great way for me to grow.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The grace of God inspires me to get out of bed every day. You see, the grace of God wakes me up, and sustains me day and night. His grace fulfills me! It overflows with every breath I take. And then, the zeal to live and to love compels me too.
Do you remember the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you?
‘Eze Goes to School; a book I read as a child! It talked about the importance of education. As a younger adult, I understood that being educated is equally as important as having common sense which isn’t-so common though it can be borrowed.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
After several failed attempts to work with Literary Agents, and found publishers that were only interested in taking your money to publish your work because “you are not yet known.”
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote was an assignment by my Literature/English Professor while in college. It was titled “A Day in the Life of a Fan.” My mind went on a journey. It explored beyond my wildest imagination! Got an ‘A.’
How did you come up with the idea for About a boy?
About A Boy was inspired by every child that has been bullied and every child that committed suicide because he/she was bullied. Every true life story of a bullied child or anyone breaks me. With About A Boy, I decided to put a twist in/to the story; to take my readers on a wondrous journey. And it has so far. Parents and children are falling in love with About A Boy. Kids are speaking out about being bullied. They need to know and understand that suicide is not an option and that no one is born a bully; it’s a choice! These lessons make me my heart glad.
When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
Each storyline allows me to develop the characters. But sometimes, I am led by one character to develop another in the process.
Tell us about your writing process and the way you brainstorm story ideas.
I am excited like a child in a candy store when an idea comes to mind. I quickly jot it down because I could forget. When I get into the mode or mood to write, I focus to dissect that idea, and then, we go on a trip. Me and my idea, that is. I write paragraphs or pages at a time; as the story drives me. When I conclude, I start my re-writes. When I am satisfied to an extent, I share with an editor, and then, a publisher.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I write wherever and whenever an inspiration comes. Thankful for the power of technology. I don’t need to carry a hardcover notebook like before. However, I put all my ideas together in my safe haven; at home…wherever my heart is. Sometimes, an idea comes while I am asleep. I wake up and write it down.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
If you have the passion for writing; WRITE. Put your ideas down in writing. Do not worry about the errors or the direction of your story. That’s why there are editors. Also, protect your ideas. Copyright them. There are people waiting to steal your ideas. Your titles included! It is personal, and business. Never be discouraged by anything or anyone. Write, and don’t stop writing. Writing allows you and me to explore and live beyond our experiences and wildest imaginations.
You can find out more about Nkem DenChukwu and purchase her books by visiting www.Nkemdenchukwu.com.