Acceptance is a new novel filled with trademarks of love, loss, betrayal, tragedy and fulfillment. We spoke to the author Ibitola Ojoye-Adebayo, to learn more about her exciting debut novel and her inspirations and future plans.
What is Acceptance about?
Set in London, UK – Acceptance is a family drama about love, loss and betrayal and is planned to be the first of a series. The novel shows the tragic consequences of secrets and lies and what happens when an ordinary girl is let down and pushed to extremes by the people she loves; her husband and family. The main plot is about Eva and her passionate relationship with husband, Richard, with a back story about her family history and her mother’s experiences in Nigeria during the Biafran war. As the story unfolds we discover that no one is quite what they seem and Eva gradually uncovers the truth about their deception with tragic consequences.
Acceptance touches on many issues that people deal with in life, it is gripping and intense. Just when you think you know which direction it is going, the book catapults another direction. You get a little bit of everything with Acceptance. How many books can be classed in several genres… dramatic, romance, suspense and thriller?
At the beginning of the book, we are introduced to Eva and notice her strained relationship with her mother. Is this the intended focal theme of the story?
Yes it is. It speaks a lot to most young girls, young adults and women especially in many African and Asian cultures. It tells of a non-existent relationship between mother and daughter. “The mother-daughter relationship is the most powerful bond in the world, for better or for worse. It sets the stage for all other relationships.”
The relationship between mothers and daughters is probably both the most fruitful and the most fraught a woman ever has. It’s the source of the deepest love and deepest anger – even hate – we ever experience. A mother is a symbol. She’s all-knowing, all-powerful, maybe the enemy and maybe the nurturer—but you don’t see her as another woman with similar problems and experiences.” This echoes the relationship I had with my own mother. I was affected by an emotionally absent mother-daughter relationship. I hid my feelings from others, which only lead to more feelings of shame and loneliness.
Then came a critical moment in my life, when I gave birth to my own daughter and I started to understand the deeply rooted themes that run through all mother-daughter relationships. I suddenly realized that my mother was a normal person who is capable of making mistakes, and although i won’t always agree with her view point, I can at-least lend a patient ear to what she is saying. So, no, my relationship with my mother isn’t perfect. But I’d rather have a complicated and close relationship with her than an emotionally distant and polite one. If fate is kind to her and to me, I hope to keep growing our relationship closer and closer for another decade or two.
This doesn’t happen with sons simply because with mothers and daughters we are brought face to face with reflections of ourselves, and that forces us to confront who we are, who we want to be and how we relate to others.
Where did you find inspiration for this book?
The inspiration came upon me when things were tough in my relationship with my husband. Having also just given birth to my first child, l thought the whole world had gotten into a tiny box with me and was squeezing me in. I just couldn’t breathe.
One day l was reading an article in a magazine which talked about the different forms of therapy. The one that caught my eye was writing your thoughts and feelings down and de-cluttering your brain from unnecessary things that shouldn’t be controlling your life.
I started applying this technique that very day. l just kept writing and writing every spare moment l got. By the time l reached Chapter 9 of Acceptance, I couldn’t believe I was actually writing a book. I started feeling very lighter and happier.
How did you develop your characters? Are they based of people you know?
The characters are based on me and on people around me. The mother especially was the character l loved creating the most as it was a character most close to my heart. The character of the mother is several Nigerian mothers l know put into one.
How important was it to include your Nigerian heritage in the book (i.e characters, places)?
It was very important for me to include my Nigerian heritage. I wanted the book to speak to my fellow Nigerians as well as Africans as a whole l also wanted my book to touch the hearts of other cultures globally, Acceptance speaks a lot to most young adults and women especially in many African and Asian cultures. Acceptance touches on many issues that people deal with in life. The book speaks of a mother and daughter’s non-existent relationship, it speaks of how a loving marriage can go horribly wrong, it speaks to us of how the act of war can damage ones soul, and it speaks of the reason why people migrate through no fault of their own.
You are also a mother of 3, how do you manage to juggle family life and writing?
By having a loving partner who has always supported me in everything l do. Whatever new idea I come up with – trust me there have been many – he has always been ready to help me and give me advice. Also my parents and my siblings have supported me a great deal.
Finally when l look into the eyes of my three little girls and see their dependence on me, it pushes me to try harder in whatever l lay my hands on and try to make it a success. So at least when they look back at my life after I’ve gone to the great father above they can be proud of what Mummy had accomplished in her life.
You have a Bachelors degree in Pharmacology. How did you transition from a career in science to an author?
I love books. My mother having sent me away to boarding school in Nigeria, used to send me novels all the time I guess as a form of a treat for being absent in my adolescent life. At first l was angry a lot at her and my father for sending me away so I always ignored the books. Thinking if l ignored them l was making some kind of statement, even though my mother wasn’t around to see me make those statements. I eventually got bored and started reading them. I use to spend all my spare time with a novel. I still remember my first book ‘Flowers in the Attic’ by Virginia Andrews. I became obsessed and got lost in a world that was sweet as honey. A world where an ordinary girl in a book has a past, present and future, she has connections and motivations. I can relate to her. I see the world through her eyes. Anytime I was asked what l wanted my mother to send to me from the UK instead of asking to be taken back to home to England like l always did and getting the same old response from my grandmother “you are home” l started asking for Virginia Andrew books. Perhaps it was inevitable that I would grow up to be a writer.
How are your family and friends finding your success?
My family and friends are very excited about the book and it was a shock when l announced the release of my book to the world. My dad had always wanted to write a book but never ended up putting pen to paper. He feels as if he is living his dreams through me. This makes me laugh because if l had told my father l wanted to do literature instead of Pharmacology at University he would have gone spare.
Which Authors (if any) inspire you?
I’ve been a lifelong V.C. Andrews fan. It was Virginia Andrews’s unique, gothic style novels that inspired me very early on to become a writer. I read her books year after year, not wanting to read anything else. Her stories were captivating and have always left me wanting more. May her beautiful soul rest in peace. x
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading ‘A Clash of Kings’ by George R. R. Martin. My mind is completely enthralled into this world.Don’t expect any happiness in this book. George Martin is merciless with his characters. And if you do see a bright light, don’t trust it.
What’s next for Ibitola Ojoye-Adebayo? book signings, readings, Can we expect a sequel for Acceptance?
The demand for book two of ‘Acceptance’ has hit me like a tonne of bricks. I am currently working on the sequel to Acceptance called ‘Into the Darkness’. Part 2 will basically be about Eva going through the realization her marriage and friendship as well as her family life was a sham. Whether Richard lives or dies. Her mother also ends up telling her the full story about her conception but she is still left in total darkness as her mother’s story still leaves a dent in her heart and soul and she is no better off at the end of the story than she was at the beginning.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Firstly, you should write because you love it. Secondly, learn to write rough. Stop caring about spelling and sentence fragments and plot holes and grammar. Get the story down. Listen to the dialog and try to keep up with your fingers. Get to the end of your manuscript and THEN worry about the quality.
How can our readers learn more about you and your work?
I can be found on the following social networking links:
Good read: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/21156851
Official Trailer for Acceptance.