Another Pepper Soup writer and yes, another exclamation mark. Why? Because she is also awesome!

I met Joy when she was…I’m going to say fourteen. She came to visit my then roommate, and forever friend, Cho. They both grew up in the same small town in Delta State, and now they were same University. Obviously, they had a lot to talk about. I hulked around, because this is what I do. Then I cowered because she didn’t stop talking. It was a little scary. I mean, here’s this tiny girl who’s just going on and on and on, and I was like, “Who is this person?”

Well, that was Joy. She also had the *cough cough* annoying habit of saying things like, “You’re so mean and sarcastic. I like you. You’re going to be my friend”. She said that to me. I didn’t know how to feel about that but here we are about twenty years later, and we’re still friends. Here’s Joy!

Describe yourself in five words.

Spiritual, optimistic, cheerful, caring, enthusiastic.

Why those five words?

Because those are the qualities I have deliberately worked at cultivating and preserving, and people around me affirm them.

What do you do for fun?

Hang out with friends over food and drinks, or curl up in bed and read a fun book/magazine – it depends on my mood.

Which would you prefer – a quiet evening at home, or a night out on the town? Why?

A quiet evening at home; I’m a homebody.

What’s your favourite TV show? Why?

Desperate Housewives. I loved the narrative style.

What’s your favourite drink?

Amstel Malta.

What’s your favourite snack?

Cake.

What’s your favourite dish?

Fried plantain and chicken stew.

Do you like Pepper Soup?

I love pepper soup!

What’s your favourite type of Pepper Soup?

Chicken pepper soup.

Why did you agree to contribute to this anthology?

I loved the idea of pepper soup, “comfort with a kick”. I just knew I wanted to be part of it. I had avoided writing fiction for too long. I actually submitted a nonfiction piece at first, and when the editor informed me it had to be fiction, I knew the time had come. I did it afraid, but I did it anyway!

What inspired your story (stories)?

The way people sometimes find a very special, once in a lifetime kind of love, and have to give it up out of a desire to do the right thing, and be at peace.

Do you think happy endings are important? Why?

Happy endings are very important because they aren’t very common in real life. I believe we should at least be able to enjoy them in stories.

What’s your favourite kind of happy ending?

The romantic kind that suggests happily ever after.

What is the best part about writing happy endings?

Sharing in the sheer joy your characters feel.

What is the hardest thing about writing happy endings?

Making it work, especially when there have been daunting challenges and obstacles.

What’s your favourite genre? Why?

Romance. I love love!

What’s your favourite book? Why?

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.“I would do anything for you sir, anything that was right.” Deep love does not mean throwing caution to the wind or ignoring conscience.

Who are your favourite authors? Why?

Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, Mary Higgins Clark.
The first two because their books enrih me spiritually while satisfying my craving for romance, and the last because she is skilled at blending relationships of all kinds with her special brand of suspense.

Which books have most influenced your writing?

The Pacesetters series I read as a teen – especially Helen Ovbiagele’s Evbu My Love-and Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

To explore epistolary fiction and write an unforgettable novel in that style. I would also love to write and publish a collection of fun, light, enjoyable poetry – the kind I like to read.

Which writers inspire you?

Francine Rivers and CS Lewis.

What have you written?

Most of my writing has been nonfiction articles and reviews published on various online platforms, and I have tried my hand at poetry as well.

Where can we buy or read them?

ConnectNigeria.com, Sabinews.com, Ynaija.com

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

By visiting my blog, www.anafricandiva.wordpress.com, and following @anafricandiva on Twitter.

Twitter: @JoyEhonwa 
LinkedIn: Joy Ehonwa

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

The pleasure is mine!

Pepper Soup is Now Available at Okada Books. Get it now!


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