In this exclusive interview, Ankara author Ola Nubi tells us about the motivation for her new novel, Love Me Unconditionally, to be released on 14th February 2017.
What inspired you to write Love Me Unconditionally?
I realised through talking to friends and family, looking at threads on Facebook and watching Nollywood movies that marriage in Nigeria equals motherhood. Obviously life happens and I wanted to explore what happens when those expectations aren’t met. Where do the broken-hearted go? How does a society where a woman’s worth is based on her ability to have children treat such a woman if she happens to have fertility problems?
Having grown up seeing what such expectations have done to people I personally know I and the anguish and pain it has brought to their lives and their relationships I wanted to write a book that I hope will share what it is like to be on the other side of someone else’s expectation.
Do you think that Nigerian family pressures are still as strong today as in the past?
Yes. Obviously things have changed, are changing in terms of opportunities for women; women now have careers and are more educated but there is this unwritten code that, no matter her achievements, a woman who is not married or married without children is a woman to be pitied.
One of the characters in my book sums it up nicely here:
Funmi sighed. “It is different when you live abroad. Here they will make your life a misery if you live like that. It is acceptable when you are young but anything past 25 and your mum, your aunts and the old woman that lives next to you will not stop asking you where your husband is. They just never stop.”
The lead character in your last book, Love’s Persuasion, Ada, was strong, focused and independent. Describe the heroine in Love Me Unconditionally.
Deola is loyal, dedicated, professional, passionate and a good communicator – she needs to be as she is in Public Relations!
If Deola was to advise the readers of the book what would she say?
Be you. Stay true to yourself. Don’t try and remake yourself into a bad photocopy of an even worse copy of someone else to please anyone. Value and respect yourself and others will do the same.
Go for your dreams. Don’t let anyone or any culture talk you out of it. You only have one life. Make it count. You owe it to yourself.
Can you tell us why you chose the title ‘Love Me Unconditionally’?
True love should not be based on a woman’s ability to have children. Love can be unconditional – with no strings attached. I don’t love you because you can do this or give me that. I choose to love you unconditionally because you are you. Getting people in our culture to see a woman’s worth outside the kitchen or baby-making department is one of the reasons I titled the book the way I did.