As you know by now, my books are mainly set in Nigeria or most recently Kenya and some US cities. When a reader tells me that when they read my book they felt like they were there..in Nigeria or Kenya I smile.
Apart from the obvious compliment, it means I have done my job. You see apart from the Nigerian cities & Atlanta, I haven’t been to some of the other cities I write about. And I write for an international audience. It is a tricky to balance being authentic to my work and giving the reader an enjoyable experience.
Here are 3 things I do to take my international audience from here to there;
- Characters & Plot: I aim to weave tales where the plot and character interaction is universal. So although there may be certain concepts that are different to my readers, I don’t get too detailed about the details of the customs. That’s what book discussions are for 🙂
- Scenery & Setting: I try to describe the location, village or city the story is set in only once. I don’t want my reader stuck in trying to figure it out but I try not to short change my readers either. Earlier on in my writing, I struggled with over description but that’s what good editors are for.
- Theme: Whether my characters are from the East, West, North or South they share something in common. They struggle with their faith and are need to be restored. The common theme in all my books are faith, hope & love…those are universal themes.
Of course at the end of the day, I’m that writer that fuses faith, romance & African spice 🙂 , so I give my readers what they expect when they pick up one of my books…entertainment,romance, faith filled fiction, and the ability to learn something different about the culture…that I do through dress, food, music & language.
Those are my little tricks… if you are a reader, is it important for you to feel the true essence of the book without getting lost? If you are a writer, how do you take your readers to places you have never been?