Jun 13 2011
The title above is the tagline on the front cover of my second novel, A Love Rekindled. The book tells the story of Efe and Kevwe, college sweethearts who have their love destroyed by one of the people close to them. When they meet again several years later, they find the embers of their love are still alive and have to piece together the circumstances of their breakup before they can move ahead.
A LOVE REKINDLED is mainstream romance. As a Nigerian woman, I chose to write this novel to provide insight into two characters in a loving relationship as well as the ethnic violence I witnessed in Nigeria. I believe romantic fiction with African characters and settings is an unexplored niche both in Nigeria and internationally and I plan to write a series of such books. My first novel, A Heart to Mend, also set in Nigeria, was very well received and garnered a substantial following on blogger, Facebook and Twitter. It was also subsequently published, to good reviews, in Nigeria.
In A Love Rekindled, I explored the possibility of re-uniting with a first love. There are a lot of anecdotes from people, positive and otherwise. Most people seem to think it is not a good idea to try to rekindle love, especially that first love one finds when still young and idealistic. But what if it were possible? What if after what one believes to be a life changing, heart breaking episode, fate gives this second chance to love again? From a Nigerian perspective, I give my hero and heroine the chance many only dream of.
Ten years ago, Efe Sagay dreams of winning the United States Visa Lottery and escaping a country torn apart by instability, until she meets Kevwe Mukoro, a fellow university student. Kevwe is happy to remain in Nigeria; only he wants Efe by his side. Over time, Efe finds true love with Kevwe, and promises to marry him after graduation. Their dreams clash when Efe wins an American Visa and fresh violence erupts between their warring ethnic groups. People close to them use this conflict to their own ends and their love becomes one of the casualties. Efe travels to America, nursing a broken heart.
Now, Efe is back in Nigeria to take up a high profile job in Abuja. Closer home, pressures to get married mount, and her nights are plagued by nightmares of Kevwe’s betrayal. When another Mukoro comes to her office, she knows it’s a matter of time before Kevwe returns to her life. They finally meet again, yet renewed desire is no match for bitter memories of heartbreak. Kevwe claims he’s never stopped loving her, but while she does not want to lose him, the traumatic events of the past have to be resolved before she can give in to rekindled love.
Interview of the Heroine of A Love Rekindled by Tessa’s Blurb
Picture a cozy office, a desk covered in papers and books and two comfy armchairs, each occupied by a young woman, one blond, one dark-haired.
Tessa: Welcome to my world, Efe. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity.
They smile at each other, and Tessa pours tea.
Tessa: Now, since my readers don’t know you yet, why don’t we start with you telling me who you are. Let’s make it a challenge – you can only use three sentences!
Efe (laughs): My name is Efe Sagay, and I am a Nigerian. I am an audit accountant, (yeah I know, some people assume that’s a boring job. If only they knew.), and I currently work for the Hilton Hotel in Abuja, Nigeria. I used to be terribly quiet, but now I’ve learnt to spread my wings, and be more social.
Tessa: Before that job, you spent quite some time in America, right? What did you do while you were there?
Efe: Most of all, I studied. I spent my first five years in the states getting one degree after another. But along the line, what with getting a job in a hotel, and growing older, I traveled around, and tried to discover and enjoy new places and people.
Tessa passes over a plate heaped with different kinds of cookies. Efe picks one, takes a bite.
Tessa: I know it’s hard to leave your home and go live by yourself, in a foreign environment, far away from your family. Who, amongst all the people you left behind when you left Nigeria, did you miss the most?
Efe (finishes her cookie and frowns into her tea): Bear with me if I’m honest here. Pain at losing Kevwe was a constant companion. Sometimes, I pushed it behind me, but even a peculiar tone in a voice would remind me, or the glint of gold in a stranger’s eyes. Other than that, I missed my family, but I spoke with them often so that was easier.
Tessa offers the cookies again but Efe shakes her head.
Tessa: You came back, though. When you got back to Nigeria, what was the first thing you did? The very first?
Efe (lips curled into a rueful half-smile): I hugged and stared at my young brother and sister, all grown up! (She shakes her head as if not quite believing it.) And then I ate my mother’s food!
Tessa (grins): Nothing beats home-cooked food, does it?
Efe laughs and nods her agreement.
Tessa: So why did you come back? Did it have something to do with your job or was it a personal decision?
Efe: I’ve always known I would go back after I was more settled, I just didn’t know when. The job offer, as a staff of the international chain of the Hilton Hotel, made it easier to return at this particular time, a bit earlier than I’d previously thought. Knowing I would be paid enough to be totally independent was a big source of security when I made the decision. And the offer came with moving to a city that held no ghosts for me, and where I could be closer to my family.
Tessa: Was there something you were afraid of, coming back? Something you thought might happen?
Efe: I guess at the back of my mind, I was scared in a way of running into Kevwe and having the whole nightmare start all over again. But I convinced myself it would never happen.
Tessa: Did you have a wish, for your new life in your old home?
Efe: Nothing too complicated, I just want happiness.
Tessa: Then I wish you all the best for your future, Efe. I hope you get everything you hope for, and everything you might not know you need.
Myne Whitman is my pen name. I was born and raised in Enugu, Nigeria, where I spent most of my time, studying, reading and daydreaming or climbing trees and playing with the boys. I have a Master’s degree in Public Health Research but have chosen my childhood dream of spinning stories. After a few years in Edinburgh, Scotland, I now live with my husband in Seattle, USA. I write and blog full-time, and also volunteer as an ESL tutor for a local charity. I critique with the Seattle Eastside Writers Meet-up and I’m also a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association.
The Pacific Northwest of America is a great place to live in the summer but during the drizzling winter rains, I find myself dreaming of long, hot, Nigerian days and the red palm oil of Banga Soup. A self-confessed adrenaline junkie, I love theme park rides and my wildest ride yet would be the Simpsons at Universal studios, Hollywood. Or maybe it was that reverse bungee jump I did in Scotland, hmm…lol.