Rita is living proof of the love and grace of God. She is passionate about the things of God and often expresses herself through writing. Every day in her walk with God, she learns to let go of self and let God. She is a wife to adorable and loving “Mr. Rita”, mother to many, sister to many and a friend to an endless list of them. She is also a full time Petroleum Engineer. Rita has a heart for ladies who are not realizing their full potential in God and as women. She recently released her first book “Against the Perfect Will” and I got a chance to interview her. Read it here
YADA: Your new book is called ‘Against the Perfect Will”; can you tell our readers what the book is about?
RITA: Against The Perfect Will is a fiction about the challenges a young Christian girl faces when she is exposed to “the world” through the University. This book tells the story of Omolola Aderemi, a young girl growing up in a middle-class Nigerian home. Quite intelligent and with most of her future mapped out, tragedy strikes and she loses her father. Her dream of becoming a medical doctor is threatened. Insistent on pursuing her dreams, she gets some financial assistance to attend the University she desires, though the tragedy makes her take seriously her gift of telling stories. The book talks about her journey through the university, and how her strength of character is exposed. Without the guidance of parents and siblings, she has to face the reality of peer pressure, lust and drugs. She has to make decisions herself and face the resulting consequences alone.
YADA: What inspired the book and how long did it take you to write it?
RITA: The first draft of the book was written in 3 weeks. It was about 40,000 words. After reviewing it and decided to add more flesh to the skeleton, I took two weeks off work to edit and update the story. That happened about 5 years after the book was first written. Then October last year, I sent it out for editing after which I gave it the final editing. One thing that was consistent was I had to dedicate time completely to the book in order to meet the deadlines I put for myself.
Against The Perfect Will was first written about 10 years ago. I had just finished my undergraduate exams and was awaiting Project defence when I had a powerful boil. In order to do things quickly and cheaply, I picked up some ampiclox that I saw lying in the house and popped them into my mouth. I took about 3 dosages same day then went to bed. During the night, I thought I was going to die. I could feel my bone marrow “freezing” and getting numb. It was only after I came out of this experience did I know the cause – the overdose of expired ampiclox that I took.
As I reflected, I realized that I may not have done a “very bad thing”, but that decision to take the medicine (without even checking the expiry date) could have cost me my life. I realized that it takes only one decision to change one’s life forever, whether to a right course or to a wrong path. Having made this realization, I decided to share it in a story. That is how Against The Perfect Will was born.
YADA: How has the response being so far since you released the book?
RITA: Very encouraging. The feedback I got from Pastors and parents is that the book is very relevant today. Since the book talks about peer pressures, relationships, cultism, and drugs, the feedback was that it reminds adults of the minds and challenges of teenagers; and for teenagers and young adults, it helps them see the consequences of certain decisions they may make today.
During the first week when the book was made available, 100 copies were sold. By the time of the book launch, 300 hard copies were sold and large volume orders were placed.
For me it is not about how many books are sold. What counts is that the book get to the right people and is able to bless a life, even if it is to change it for the better. If the book can make 1 person develop a better relationship with God, or if it can prevent someone from making a mistake they could regret, then the purpose of the book has been achieved.
I have received mails and calls saying things like the book is inspiring, encouraging, a blessing, and it is “unputdownable”. Also the reviews of the book on Amazon have been very encouraging.
YADA: What is your creative process like?
YADA: I hope I understand this question right. Usually I write the stories in my head from beginning to end. Then I put it down in writing. When I am done with the first draft, I read through and see what parts of the story need more explanations or needs trimming to ensure I pass on the message that inspired the story.
YADA: As a writer, how do you deal with writers block?
RITA: I have never experienced writer’s block. Maybe because I am always busy with something else, and by the time I am ready to write, I am filled with a story that just needs to get out.
YADA: Are you still active in the engineering industry?
RITA: Very active, it is a full time career for me. Not only that, I am an active member of our professional societies and I am a mentor to upcoming engineers.
YADA: How do you balance your work, writing and family life?
RITA: It is not a small thing oh. There is the part of waking up early, so I can draw inspiration and strength from God, and take advantage of the quietness while my husband and daughter are sleeping. Secondly, I do not take more responsibility than I can handle at any given point in time. If I know I have a huge project ahead, either writing project or work related project, I cut down on any extra that is just a “nice-to-do”. Thirdly, I have help at home (infact 2 people). I do not hesitate to delegate especially for tasks that are not critical for me to do. So such things as cleaning house, washing plates, etc, I delegate, so I can have enough time to do things that are critical.
YADA: What other projects are you currently involved in?
RITA: Writing projects: I am currently working on 2 projects. The first is a non-fiction on preparing for marriage. My drive for this is I do not want my “sisters” to make a mistake with marriage by being ignorant of what marriage entails, what issues need to be dealt with, or what to be looking out for in the man worth spending the rest of one’s life. I am using my personal experience. Even as I write, I am learning of ways to improve my marriage, so I believe married ladies may also benefit.
The second is a fiction. It should have been ready by now but I am trying to see if I can combine a bit of romance with the message I am trying to convey. The main message though is that women are of great worth, and the love and grace of God is available to all of us.
Social Benefit Project: – I am part of a Social Benefit Organization (DIPPTY- Dignity and Prosperity). I am the project coordination for the “Rebirth of the African Mind” where we try to educate pupils and students by engaging in a ‘mental war’ to revamp right and straight thinking while laying emphasis on the benefits of harnessing the power of the mind to solve human problems.
Professional Body Project: I am part of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Lagos Chapter. I am the subcommittee leader for engaging with students. What we try to do is bridge the gap between student and the industry professionals, educate the students on current technologies in the industry, and try to develop their soft skills in preparation for the oil and gas industry.
YADA: Is there going to be a book tour soon?
RITA: There will most likely be a blog tour with some giveaways. But my main book tour will be done after the 2 writing projects I am working on are completed, to enable the book tour be a rewarding experience for my readers.
YADA: Where can the book be bought?
In Lagos they can be found at Patabah books (Shop B18, Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Mall, Surulere). Debonairs Bookstore (294 Herbert Macaulay Street, Sabo, Yaba), and Ebeano Supermarket (Lekki 1). For those in Victoria Island and Ikoyi, I can be contacted directly to pick up copies of the book.
There are currently very limited copies in Port Harcourt and Abuja – to be restocked in 2 weeks time.
YADA: A final word for our readers
RITA: First, I would like to say thank you for taking out time to know a bit about me from this interview. Should you read Against The Perfect Will, it is my prayer that you remain in the perfect will God has for you, you will be blessed by the book, and you will be moved to share the story, if only that you may be an instrument of God to change someone’s life for the better. God bless you. Agape Love, Rita.
Songs on your playlist now: He Loves Me (Jill Scott), You Loved Me (Karen Clark Sheard) and all songs in Juanita Bynum’s album “A Piece Of My Passion”
Last movie you saw: Puss in Boots
TV character most like you? My husband used to say that I am like Lynette Scavo (Desperate Housewives) when she liked work too much. However, I have deceived myself quite often that I am more like Angelina Jolie.
Favourite bible verse: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. [2 Peter 3:8b-9a]
Mentor: None I can really think of
Guilty Pleasure: Mars Ice Cream