One thing we do not often see people writing about is sex and love which is why we LOVE Nnenna Marcia, who tackles all this and more. She not only writes shorts stories and is the author of Africa Hot West African stories of sex and love. She also has written very sexy stories for Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women. Follow her on @NnennaMarcia.
This HOLAA profile one is for the book nerds and afro-lit lovers out there.
What made you decide to become a writer?
Nnenna Marcia: I am not sure. It certainly wasn’t about the glamour, I can tell you that much. There is no glamour. There is however a deep-seated satisfaction when people like your stories. Nothing beats that.
What was the first ever thing you ever wrote?
NM: Oh, it was so long ago. I must have been five or so years ago and it was supposed to be a play. I was big into plays back then. They were essentially just bits of dialogue with no stage direction, I had never seen a proper play.
What inspires your writing? Why do you choose topics such as sex and love?
NM: Life, I suppose. I find inspiration in the unadorned, the simple bits of life; the way someone’s big toenail looks in their sling backs, the cut of a guy’s slacks, the smell of an air-conditioned lift, dreams and fantasies. Sex is everywhere, in everything. And love, whether people know it or not, is what we’re all looking for. Someone to understand us.
You write under a pseudonym, why is this the case?
NM: Well, you know how it is. Our societies are hard on women who are honest about sex and sexuality and I did not want to have to deal with the palaver – in addition to freeing up myself to write what I wanted without fear of recrimination or judgment. Fear paralyses creativity. I just want to be free.
When you write about sex under a pseudonym it’s not scary to write about. It’s liberating.
Are the sex stories inspired by true events?
NM: Ha! You’ll have to buy me dinner first, if you want me to tell. I have expensive tastes too, so pony up.
How do you sexually identify and does it play any role in the writing you do?
NM: I was raised straight, if that makes sense but I may have always been attracted to girls, not sure if it’s sexual. Women, our minds are fascinating. Our stories, our perseverance and strength amazing. Some may call me bisexual or bicurious but am I really? Gender labels give me a headache because I am unsure of the right language to use and my uncertainty could come across as straddling the fence. Plus bisexuals get a bad rap from everyone and who needs that on top of everything else?
I am not sure if it does play a part in what I write. Being a writer does that. You can put yourself in anyone’s shoes and imagine what their life would be like.
-What was it like publishing a book? And how can people get it?
NM: I’d know my publishers from my days writing for The Erotic Review so it wasn’t that scary to be honest. I’d done so many short stories in a three or four year period and they just chose the best ones, plus a few new ones I’d done at the time, including a brand spanking new novella “In My Father’s House”. The entire collection is called ‘Africa Hot: West African Stories of Sex and Love‘ and is available on Amazon as well as the ER Books site.
I guess I would say to any new writer, you will have to pay your dues. That might mean you work for a small amount at first – in my case it was getting paid a flat rate per story – build an audience. Write your heart out, build your art. But after a while, you must stop working for a pittance and know your worth. Approach publishers. They are everywhere, on twitter, word of mouth etc. Follow up on every avenue. And read your contracts!
What advice would you give to women who are scared to write?
NM: Just write. Don’t wait for the right time, the right ‘feeling’. Stop making excuses. If you’re a writer and there are no materials, you’d write in blood on the walls, in sand, wherever. Just do it now. You’re free.
Oh and make sure you read a lot too.
Thank you to Nnenna for this amazing interview, for more like them and other features check out HOLAA Loves.
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