Vitabu | Book of the Month

Man cannot live on Adichie alone, not if you are like me and you find yourself always hankering for delightful and beautifully written love stories - Ainehi Edoro (Bella Naija Book Review: Ainehi Edoro’s Review of “Nothing Comes Close” by Tolulope Popoola, February 28th, 2013)

Brittle Paper's Ainehi Edoro did an ace review of Tolulope Popoola's new book in Bella Naija. Like Edoro, I also found Nothing Comes Close a "delightful and beautifully written" love story this past weekend. For protagonists Lola and Wole, nothing really comes close to what they feel for each other.

Popoola's sizzling romance, published by her own label, Accomplish Press, is set among a well-heeled circle of  twenty-thirty somethings at personal and professional crossroads. The novel kicks off in Lagos with an intriguing scene before coursing its way through the lives of five very different Nigerian women--the talented and tragic Maureen, Temmy, Titi, Funmi and Lola--all based in London.

It's this rich Anglo-Nigerian tapestry of friendships, relationships, career, work and family that make Lola and Wole's sometimes heart breaking love story so nuanced and complex. Popoola has a gift for understating.

Vitabu had the pleasure of chatting with her briefly by e-mail.

Vitabu: How long did it take you to write Nothing Comes Close?

Tolulope Popoola: It took me about a year to finish working on Nothing Comes Close, after the initial online series ended.

Vitabu: For someone who's reading you for the first time what can you tell them about the connection between that initial online series and the book?

Tolulope Popoola: The online series featured nine characters, each with their own storyline and individual dramas. When the series ended, I wanted to focus on Lola and Wole separately, and get to the end of their story. So the novel came about because I thought Wole and Lola's story was interesting enough to stand on its own, and I wanted to see what happened at the end.

Vitabu: We listened to the interview you did with Adeola Fayehun for Sahara TV's Inspire Segment. You talk about writing, your novel, and adventures in publishing since you became a full-time writer. I wondered if you could talk to us about the different paths one can take to getting published.

Tolulope Popoola: Previously, most writers had only one option to getting published: write a good book, query agents to sell your work to a publisher, or approach publishers directly in the hope that they would like it and decide to invest in publishing the manuscript. Nowadays, the publishing industry is changing, and many writers can now decide to reach their readers directly by taking on the publishing process themselves. Thus, self-publishing is becoming a viable option for writers. It requires a proactive mindset and involves learning a lot of new skills but it can be rewarding.

Vitabu: Tell us about some of the new skills you've learned.

Tolulope Popoola: The main skill I've learned really is patience. It takes time to write and rewrite a story, to flesh out plots, to spot inconsistencies and issues with the text, and so on. The process of going from first draft to finished manuscript is quite a long one, and cannot be rushed. Apart from that, I'm learning to be critical with my own work.

Vitabu: We hope to see Funmi and Ebuka again in "Love Comes To Stay" which will be out by the fall. Any chance we'll see the enigmatic Lola and Wole?

Tolulope Popoola: At the moment, I don't have plans to write another story with Lola and Wole as the protagonists, but they might feature a bit in Funmi's story and Temmy's story.


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