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Interview with Tracey Chizoba Fletcher

Tracey Chizoba Fletcher

Feminine Shades

She born to a British father and a Nigerian mother, is an Author, Award-winning writer, Columnist, Voice-over artist, an Editor based in Lagos, Nigeria.


Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?

A. I'm not so adventurous as my characters. I am very cautious and tend to be very sure of something after thorough research before venturing into it.


Q.2 When should we expect your next book? What will it be about?

A. Actually, I have two books that will be released to the public very soon. The Wrong Turn is of the fantasy genre and is set to be published by Pen It! Publications in the US.

The Chase is of the crime genre. It was shortlisted in the Phoenix Quill Writing Contest held recently and is set to be published by Phoenix Award Books Publications.


Q.3 What made you write Feminine Shades?

A. Feminine Shades is a book central to the female gender. I realized that a lot of women don't have a platform and a means to be heard. Also, we don't have a central voice to draw attention to ourselves, so we can come together in the sense of camaraderie and speak with one voice. Writing is one medium to reach billions of people and let them know that they aren't alone. Others all over the world are facing challenges and obstacles likewise, and if the protagonists in my book could overcome them, they will certainly overcome them, too. All they have to do is raise their head up high.


Q.4 How did you come up with the name of this book?

A. It came out of the blue. I was brainstorming when it occurred to me that the stories depicted the different shades of a woman, as a young girl, spinster, wife, mother, and career-woman, and thus, the name was birthed; Feminine Shades.


Q.5 If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?

A. That would be to have picked up my pen, and started writing, as soon as I realized that was the path I needed to take.


Q.6 How long does it take you to write this book?

A. Feminine Shades took about a year. It is a collection of seven short stories, and I wrote these stories at different times. In fact, two of the stories were entered into different writing competitions but didn't scale through. When I noticed the pattern in the stories, I came up with the idea to write a compilation of short stories with the theme - femininity.


Q.7 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

A. That will be donning the skin of masculinity, trying to navigate through their thought pattern and actions, and ensuring that the view of a man is duly represented and imbued in my writing.


Q.8 Are your book inspired by a particular person/memory/event?

A. My book is inspired by what I see daily. I observe how an average woman tries to find peace, happiness, and fulfillment while pursuing what she deems her life goals and a sense of purpose. My book as a whole is inspired by the grind, hustle, and struggle of a woman, be it as a daughter, sister, aunt, or mother.

Q.9 Tell us something about your short story Chudi’s Hustle?

A. It is a known fact that poverty is on a high in this part of the world, and most families, live on less than a dollar, every day. Most people wake up each morning to an empty stomach, and then the struggle begins to find food to eat, whichever way they can. This is exemplified in Chudi's Hustle, as we read through his experience, trying to find food after several days without, and his joy at the end of the day, when he is sinking his teeth into his roasted corn, after a hard day that has turned out to be successful for him.

Q.10 How do you select the name of your characters?

A. I love to use indigenous names. One of my writing goals is to draw attention to the Nigerian culture and the beauty we have with us here. I'm glad to see it's working because you evidently noticed it from my book.


Q.11 Your book covers a wide range of social issues, according to you, what is the main reason that women have to endure all that?

A. Well, take, for example, herein Africa, we have a patriarchal society. The woman is seen as a lesser individual, with little or no respect. We have seen our grandmothers and mothers treated the same way, and we find ourselves toeing the same path. Those who try to break away from such patterns are frowned upon and called names. A woman faces a lot as a wife, mother, and career-woman, and it's difficult to achieve success, except with the help and support of her husband, most importantly, her family and in-laws, as well.


Feminine Shades is meant to draw light to the experiences of an average woman highlighted through the plight of the seven protagonists, and help the male gender, to see and understand what the women in their lives go through. I believe that there has to be a drastic change in our society, and it's handling and treatment of women.


Q.12 Do you believe in writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?

A. Yes, I do. There are times I just can't write, no matter how hard I try. I simply set my book aside and read one or two books. Actually, reading is one of my hobbies, plus it energizes me. After reading, I feel compelled to write, as my creative juice receives a boost.


Q.13 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?

A. Yes, I read all of my reviews. I appreciate the good ones, and critically analyze the bad ones, so I can pick the truth from it, and apply it to see a greater improvement in my works.


Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?

A. Actually, I don't. The only thing that comes to mind is that I prefer to write first with a pen. I feel my ideas flow better this way. When I am done writing my entire manuscript, I begin the painstaking process of typing on my laptop.


Q.15 Outside of your family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author?

A. That will be my friend, Mr. Ifidon Asikoko. He has supported me from day one. He is one of my greatest critics. He has read all of my writings and been a pillar of support in my writing journey.


Q.16 How will you describe your life before and after getting published?

A. Before being published, there was some modicum of emptiness, but after being published, there is a sense of purpose and direction. I feel I have been gifted a voice through my writings, to speak up for those who can't, and pass their messages across to the general public.


Q.17 What three things readers should expect from your books?

A. Wow! With my books, I have protagonists who defy the odds to achieve their goals. I see it as a medium or means to let my readers know that they can be whatever they want to be, just like my characters. So anyone who picks up a copy of my book should expect to see a keep-at-it attitude from my characters, a huge sense of discipline, and definitely, a fun read. What's the point of reading through a book if it doesn't give you pleasure!


Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

A. I will love to meet George R.R. Martin, the author of the Song of Ice and Fire series, popularly known as the Game of Thrones. His works are a masterpiece. He is in a class of his own in his mastery of words, characterization of characters, and the building up his fictional world. There is a lot to learn from him. My writing certainly got better after reading his books.


Q.19 What is your favorite book and why?

A. My favorite book is the Bible. It is the greatest book to be published, filled with wisdom nuggets, true life stories that teach us basic truths and guidelines to help us become better persons.


Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?

A. Since 2017, when I began writing, I have written six works of fiction. Feminine Shades was published in September, 2020. The Chase and The Wrong Turn will soon be published, as well. I won the Afritondo Alternative Ending Competition in 2019 had The Chase shortlisted for the Phoenix Quill Writing Contest and was recently awarded Bestselling Author by the Influential Writers and Authors Community. I run a monthly column called Motivational Talk with Rainbow Magazine. I am equally an editor.


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